3rd Act Magazine – Spring 2022

Page 1


Tom Skerritt

At 88, Imagination and Curiosity are His Touchstones for a Happy Life

For Love of Earth


In the Neighborhood of Love MISTER ROGERS, WE NEED YOU


Grieving the Loss of a Pet


Writing for Health & Happiness

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MESSAGE from the publisher

A Living World of Love “What you focus on expands. So, focus on what you want, not what you do not want.” —Esther Jno-Charles, author Our family loves the physical sciences. My husband reads books on quantum physics and astrophysics for fun. My grandson was gifted his first physics books from grandpa—said husband—at age 7. Now 14, he and his grandpa talk of quarks and the cosmos. Their conversations can make my eyes cross, sometimes, as my brain tends more toward the creative than scientific side. Keeping with tradition, my 7-yea r-old g ra nddaughter recently received her first set of children’s physics books from grandpa, individually titled, Energy, Forces, Waves, and Matter, by Andi Diehn. She and grandpa tackle Matter first, and she learns that matter is something you can weigh and takes up space. She learns that almost everything is made of matter, even things you can’t see, like air! The challenge is thinking of things that are not matter, that which cannot be weighed

and does not take up space. Her first guess is light (correct!), then a rainbow (yes!), then love. “Love is not matter, but it matters,” she says with an impish smile. In this issue we explore what matters. What it means to love each other, our earth, and ourselves. In her story, “Cultivating Compassion” (page 32), Ann Hedreen shares photojournalist Hannah Morales’ work on lullabies, which “are the first love songs we hear,” and a “root source” of compassion. David Korton, in his essay, “For Love of Earth” (page 36), urgently reminds us of the dangers we face due to the climate emergency, and the part we, as elders, must play in combating it. With love, inevitably, comes loss, and the grief and pain that accompanies it. In “Losing Oshi” (page 26), I share my devastation over the death of our cherished dog, a profound grief most pet parents can relate to. In “The Silence is Deafening” (page 30), Seattle writer Suzanne Beyer pays tribute to a dear friend after the sudden death—just days before Christmas—of her friend’s only son. As the days lengthen and spring returns, let’s turn toward the light, rainbows, and love. Because, sometimes, the only things that truly matter aren’t matter at all.

As the days lengthen and spring returns, let’s turn toward the light, rainbows, and love.

A hug from Tom Skerritt lights up my day!

OU R VI SI ON Now, more than ever, older adults are viewing their retirement as a “Third Act” in their lives: A time for reinvention, connection, and engagement. 3rd Act Magazine is a bold, fresh, lifestyle magazine for older adults in the Puget Sound region. Our stories and articles challenge the worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and age together with confidence. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Tina Potterf

ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna

ADVERTISING Dale Bohm DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall COVER PHOTO Ernie Sapiro 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to P.O. Box 412, Brinnon, WA 98320 3rd Act Magazine is published quarterly by Oshi Publishing, LLC. The opinions, advice, or statements expressed by contributing writers do not reflect those of the editors, the publishers, or 3rd Act Magazine. Copyright ©2022 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC, P.O. Box 412 Brinnon, WA 98320 · 360-796-4837 Email: info@3rdActMag.com For subscriptions, advertising rates, and additional information, visit us at www.3rdActMag.com.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


Find connection and joy IN EVERYDAY LIVING

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Aging with Confidence

Locations in Seattle, Mercer Island, Renton, and the Eastside spring 2022 | 3rd Act magazine



At 88, Imagination and Curiosity are His Touchstones for a Happy Life

For Love of Earth


In the Neighborhood of Love




Mister Rogers and a neighborhood of love. MICHAEL C. PATTERSON

12 THE VIEW FROM HERE Why I decided to turn 75. CHARLES E. KRAUS



The benefits of taking off our masks. LINDA HENRY

Tom Skerritt

Grieving the Loss of a Pet



Writing for Health & Happiness

TAKING OFF OUR MASKS What are we hiding behind?

COVER: Actor Tom Skerritt is a familiar

face to many of us. This 88-year-old Seattleite offers a few tips on living life fully at any age. Photo by Ernie Sapiro


When it’s hard to “love thy neighbor.” STEPHEN SINCLAIR


Practice acceptance when change or adversity strike. DR. ERIC B. LARSON

50 THE LIGHTER SIDE Read my lip-prints. ANNIE CULVER


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


Love of Dance: Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Artistic Director Peter Boal. MISHA BERSON

The heartbreaking loss of a beloved companion. VICTORIA STARR MARSHALL


Lullabies, the first love songs we hear, are a root source of compassion. ANN HEDREEN


Let's use our wisdom, experience, and the skills of a lifetime to help Earth now. DAVID KORTEN

46 TOM SKERRITT STAYS CURIOUS At 88, he draws on a “library of imaginative experiences” for life onscreen and off. JULIE FANSELOW



10 32







Clock-time changes with retirement. DR. LOU STOREY Insurance products that play on our fear of the future. DON MCDONALD


Tribute to a friend who suddenly lost her son. SUZANNE G. BEYER


Reconnecting after 40 years brings unexpected insight and joy. SALLY J. FOX, PHD


What might we regret not saying, not having said, to a loved one? HOLLIS GIAMMETTEO


REMEMBERED Thoughts of

the Yankees, years past, still rile this long-suffering Red Sox fan. ROBERT HIRSCHFIELD

Aging with Confidence

Exploring the Okanogan Trails and Sherman Pass Byways. ANN RANDALL


A poetic clarification of running at age 84. DAVID BLUMENFELD



We age how we think we will. CHERYL WHITELAW

How to master the art of a table for one. JULIE THOMPSON

Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone, by Diana Gabaldon. REVIEWED BY VICTORIA STARR MARSHALL


Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.


The power of pen and paper to boost your health, healing, and happiness.



Food as both expression and proof of love are ancient pairs. REBECCA CRICHTON

spring 2022

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Correction In the Winter 2021/2022 issue, page 60, you mention a new cookbook EATMEATLESS by Dr. Jane Goodall, famous for her work with mountain gorillas. Dr. Goodall studied chimpanzees, and Dr. Dian Fossey studied mountain gorillas. —Mary Keiter

Editor: This is correct, Dr. Goodall studied chimpanzees, not mountain gorillas. Thank you for pointing out our error. Meaningful Conversations I always enjoy the musings of Hollis Giammatteo. “What We Owe Each Other” (Fall 2021) is a good starting point for deeper discussion with others. Thanks, Hollis. —Kate Forster

Fearless Ager Yes, no need to fear getting older. We have the original vinyl records that our teens will now pay for through the nose! A parable I love between a student and teacher… Student: What is wisdom? Teacher: Good decisions Student: How do I learn how to make good decisions? Teacher: Bad decisions! We have all felt the pain and the joy of growing older, the good decisions and the bad. It is the whole enchilada of what life is. Thanks for reminding us of this, Jeanette (Leardi, “An Age of Vulnerability,” Fall 2021)! After all, how many of us would want to be 16 again? —Anthony Pantaleno

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3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

talk to us!

by mail: 3rd Act Magazine, P.O. Box 412, Brinnon, WA 98320 by email: info@3rdActMag.com Please include your name, city, state, and phone number when possible. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.



ARE YOU LOOKING FOR LOVE AND COMPANIONSHIP IN LATER LIFE? People don’t often think of love when they think about senior living communities. I challenge you to do so. After working in the senior living field for 30+ years, I’ve witnessed love every day! The love that comes with the friendships that people build with their neighbors. The love that grows when a widow and widower meet, fall in love, and get married. The love that’s shown when neighbors take care of neighbors after someone has experienced a loss. Senor living is where love flourishes. For most of us, love and friendship are vital to health, wellness, and overall happiness. At Quail Park of Lynnwood, a sense of community provides these good feelings. Exploring new hobbies together, embracing fitness programs, sharing insights about a Aging with Confidence

Love Flourishes in Community Living BY SUE ROWELL

new movie, or simply enjoying a great meal in the dining room with friends.

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Quail Park of Lynnwood 425-329-6591


To forge new friendships in senior living: • Attend welcome events and get to know your resources – Learn about the programs, activities, and events that are provided daily. • Look for common ground – Do you love to garden? Join the gardening club. Enjoy reading? Join the book club. • Get busy – Keep strong and healthy, and commiserate over aching muscles, in an exercise class or at the in-house gym. For an easier, but just as effective exercise, try water aerobics. • Dinner talk – Not sure how to strike up a conversation at the dinner table? Try, “I’m interested in (reading, music, sports, pets, etc.). Who else enjoys this?” • Chat with staff – The senior living community team understands the adjustments that happen when moving to your new home. They also know the current residents and can introduce you to someone with the same likes and interests. If you’re living alone, isolation (especially during COVID) can seriously impact your connections and friendships. Needing to care for a home on your own can impact your health, in detrimental ways, and be very expensive. Just a short walk to the mailbox on a rainy day, or a trip up or down the stairs, can be daunting for people who are worried about a fall. The friendships, happiness, support, and love that people experience in senior living can, and do, outweigh the fears of making a move. I’ve heard it countless times in my career. People move to senior living and pose the question, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” Experience the love. spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine



Taking Off Our Masks BY LINDA HENRY

Linda Henry writes regularly on topics related to aging, health care, and communication, and is the coauthor of several books, including Transformational Eldercare from the Inside Out: Strengths-Based Strategies for Caring. She conducts workshops nationally on aging and creating caring work environments. Her volunteer emphasis is age-friendly communities.


Some time ago when I interviewed RH, he shared his belief that everyone wears a mask. His premise not only was based on observing others around him, but on his realization that he, too, had worn a mask throughout much of his adult life. He believed people are reluctant to take off their masks because they do not want to deal with the nakedness of their humanity and vulnerability. He also maintained that we cannot help loving someone when we know their story. And yet, how can we know someone’s story if all we see is their mask? My conversation with RH caused me to wonder about the masks people around me might be hiding behind. Perhaps more importantly, it made me wonder whether I, too, wear a mask depending on what image I want to portray. According to mental health professionals, we all wear masks to some extent, concluding that over the course of the day, we may use multiple masks as a social disguise to help us get through a variety of situations. They may convey selfassuredness, confidence, authority, perfection, or efficiency. They also may hide fear, anxiety, depression, and anger. One woman I knew grew up believing she was responsible for solving many of the problems facing her family and friends. Her mask hid her fear of incompetency. Although her intent was to be helpful, not everyone appreciated her effort, thus interfering with her ability to form healthy relationships. The problem with masks is when they become

3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

the norm, hiding our true selves and impacting our ability to give and receive love. There are many types of love. Indeed, the Greeks identified seven types of love, ranging from passionate to self-love. Our challenge is to identify the masks we wear and to eliminate those that interfere with our relationships and our ability to love. Can you identify how wearing a mask might impact the following examples of giving and receiving love? Think about the love we have for a friend. There is companionship, dependability, trust, and goodwill. And when we share past hurtful experiences, we know that such stories are safe. Close friends can even serve as each other’s therapists, suggests British psychiatrist and philosopher Neel Burton, MD. Universal love infers a deep commitment to the welfare of strangers, nature, country, or perhaps a specific cause. Familial love, whether between a parent and child, grandparent and child, or other family members can be strong and long lasting, no matter what circumstances, positive or negative, may arise. Finally, consider the love we have for self, either healthy or unhealthy. An inflated sense of one’s status promotes injustice, conflict, and enmity. Healthy self-love, akin to self-esteem, reflects not only on our relationship to ourselves, but to others and society. Our ongoing assignment then is to be more transparent and less judgmental by becoming more aware of the masks we wear and how they can affect our relationship with others. A worthy goal, don’t you think? www.3rdActMag.com

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www.mirrorlakevillage.comspring 2022 | 3rd Act magazine


�n the �eighborhood of �ove BY MICHAEL C. PATTERSON


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


“I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you, I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.” Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all live in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and love each other as valued neighbors? Being with family this past holiday season reminded me of my role as a family elder. Odd as the concept seems, I am the elder male of my immediate family. What an honor. And, what a responsibility! It struck me that, in these turbulent and unsettling times, it is critically important for me to radiate a sense of calm security and unlimited love for my family. We elders, after all, are the foundations upon which our families are built. We—hopefully—provide the bedrock that gives our children and grandchildren the stability and security to explore, experiment, and invent vibrant lives for themselves. I need to be Mister Rogers for my family. I have always wanted to have a family just like you. I’ve always wanted a neighborhood with friends like you. I had the chance to meet Fred Rogers while working for PBS. He was in Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress in support of ongoing funding for public television, particularly for the wonderful children’s programs. I was assigned to greet Mister Rogers at the airport and make sure he got to his hotel and then to the halls of Congress. I was thrilled to spend that time with the personification of love and kindness and will never forget the experience. During that week, I got to watch Mister Rogers in action and observe the kind of magical spell he’d cast on everyone in his presence. In his simple and unassuming way, he radiated an Aging with Confidence

aura of love that permeated the air around him. Magically, in his presence everyone became their better selves. I suspect that Mister Rogers was a kind of wizard. I watched him enchant a room full of PBS staffers and their toddlers who attended a special performance at the PBS headquarters. The adults, I included, sat like adoring worshipers waiting for the gentle master to begin his show. Not so the kids. They were running around and shrieking like, well, like a roomful of toddlers. It was kindergarten chaos. I felt terrible that this golden opportunity would be undermined by a failure of crowd control. I wanted to shout, “Come on parent! Get control of your kids!” Not to worry. When Rogers was ready to begin, he stood, said a few quiet words and the kids all fell silent. It was as though he had cast a magic spell over our children. No fidgeting. No tantrums. No negotiations. No escape attempts. Just rapt attention to Mister Rogers. I have never seen a performer work a crowd as masterfully as he did that day at PBS. The kids were entranced by his gentle tones and his loving and compassionate aura. They knew immediately that he was talking directly to them with a depth of respect and compassion that was unique and valuable. On another occasion I got to see Mister Rogers perform his magic on a crowd of elementary school teachers. Rogers was the keynote speaker and addressed 15,000 educators in a vast auditorium. My seat in the upper tiers felt impossibly distant from the stage. Mister Rogers was a tiny, inch-tall figure behind a miniature podium.

As Rogers began to speak the murmur of 15,000 voices faded to complete silence. Every eye was focused on him. And, not long into his presentation, an amazing thing happened. I began to cry. My eyes welled with tears of . . . what? His words of love did something to release my emotional controls. I was overwhelmed with a mix of warm and fuzzy feelings that normally felt embarrassing. And I was not alone. Every member of that vast crowd was sniffling and daubing their eyes or taking deep breaths to control their sobbing. (I’m getting choked up right now, just recalling the moment.) What was Mister Rogers doing to us? I don’t remember the particulars of Mister Rogers’ speech. I’m sure he spoke about the importance of raising children with love and respect, and told the teachers what a valuable and important job they performed. He radiated genuine love, acceptance, and deep appreciation for all of us. Were these expressions of love and respect so rare in our experience that they caused us to weep? Wrapped in Rogers’ embrace we cried not tears of sadness, but of release and compassion and respect for all the wonderful people who inhabited our neighborhood. We were giving and receiving unashamed love. Mister Rogers created a neighborhood of love in which we all felt valued and cherished. As I think about my mission statements for my positive longevity, I know it will include the resolve to become more like Fred Rogers. What better way to bring meaning and purpose to my mature years? What better job for an elder than to bathe his family and friends in warm feelings of love, respect, and gratitude. Michael C. Patterson ran AARP’s Staying Sharp brain health program and is now CEO of MINDRAMP Coaching, which helps people design a healthy and happy longevity, followed by a dignified death. He hosts the MINDRAMP podcast. Learn more at www.mindramp.org.

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine



Why I Decided to Turn Seventy-Five BY CHARLES E. KRAUS

One day you look in the mirror and you are confronted by the results of your life. Old school, old body, old points of view. Here I am at 75, filled with perspective, stories, regrets, reminisces based on memories, and based on memories of memories twice removed. At the ready with, “Oh yeah, you think that’s something,” and other rebuts designed to earn begrudging respect, or at least prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I didn't merely age in place. That I’ve had a life. The process, my process, picked up speed during an endless series of transitions. Age, as you may know, is an accumulation of onthe-job adjustments. I am, at this very moment, a subtotal of my long and checkered past. The first time I wrote a, “Why I Decided to Become...” essay, I was turning 30. I had a front row seat in the white, middle class golden 1950s and 60s, a vantage point that allowed me to witness the morphing of Kerouac’s Beat Generation into Tom Hayden’s new left. The reawakening of racial justice splintering forward. An opportunity to watch as Timothy Leary’s doors of perception transformed into a pharmaceutical candy store. I was there during the war/ anti-war 70s. But confused. Against the war, but in it. “Hello, Da Nang, remember me?” By the time my lifespan measured three decades, I’d been around. I put a note on my calendar and followed up with “Why I Decided to Turn 40.” That had more to do with wife, kids, friends, and career. I don’t understand how I got into our


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

family. The screener must have been distracted. My childhood had little to do with close knit relationships, yet my wife, daughters and I formed a synergetic powerhouse. I became immersed in personal and professional projects that seemed to require continuing attention. I recall endless attempts to coax reality out of dreams. My goal had always been to reach a decent level of obscurity. I must say, I was succeeding. Being alive turns out to be a relentless countdown, what with friends and family members missing in action, and the realization that much of what I once considered progress ended up resisting expectations. What the hell was I thinking was a frequent question. Guilty as fooled, your honor. Misled by heroes, and pundits, and freefloating beliefs. There is a lot to Charles E. Kraus disparage. But not everything. Fortunately, time has invited me to tag along. I’ve been a kid show entertainer for 60 years. Still at it, to the extent that I can convince anyone to let the old guy on stage. I’m preparing for my grand finale, but secretly, hope there will be demands for an encore. As always, when I am allowed to perform, the audience becomes a joyful sounding board and I become fully alive. People tell me I’m in the moment. I tell them, “I’m just a guy feeling his destiny.” Members of our family tend to support one another and as much of the outside world as our shoulders and hearts can manage on any given day. Occasionally, it’s a heavy load. Our children have blossomed. They are surefooted, curious, engaged, affiliated with the many who devote thoughtful effort and energy to improving the lives of others. Makes me feel lucky just to know my daughters, let alone take any credit for their development. They’ve obviously patterned their lives after their mother. Twain said, “There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist, except an old optimist.” I've traveled that spiritual arch, and yet continue to find life addicting. I don’t feel stranded in oblivion waiting for Godot. I’m hanging out on a busy corner, waiting to see if the future can right the past. Charles E. Kraus is the author of four books, among them, You’ll Never Work Again in Teaneck, NJ, a memoir.




A large, lovely tree in our yard overhangs the neighbor’s house. Our neighbors are listing their home for sale and plan to remove sections of the tree. They believe it is a safety hazard. We are afraid too much trimming might kill the tree. What can we do?




A real estate agent told us we shouldn’t have our three dogs around when buyers are touring our home. Our dogs are sweet and friendly. Why should they have to leave?


Your dogs sound delightful and there are dog-loving buyers who might enjoy being greeted by your friendly furry companions. However, for the best home sale outcome, you want your buyer pool to include everyone who is qualified to buy including cat lovers, those with pet allergies, and people who may be afraid of dogs. When buyers and brokers come to tour, allow the home and all its wonderful features to be center

Your neighbor has a valid concern. Encroaching trees can worry buyers and create a liability for you. Any potential buyer will want to avoid inheriting expensive encroachment disputes. And if a heavy branch falls from your tree damages and your neighbor’s house, or worse, your neighbor, you could be liable. Acknowledge your neighbor’s concern and offer next steps. Check with your town or county for tree management regulations. Bring out an arborist to share their expert opinion on how to prune the tree correctly to keep it thriving and ask for a written scope of work and bid. Draw up a written agreement with your neighbor on the work to be done and who’s going to pay for it.


stage—the spacious rooms, the natural light, and beautiful views. Pets in the home can be a distraction and make buyers cut their tour short.

A few ideas: Take your dogs for a ride during the showing DO YOU HAVE A REAL ESTATE Doing what you can to QUESTION FOR US? SEND IT TO: help your neighbor’s or treat them to QUESTIONS@SASHREALTY.COM playtime at the home sale will benefit dog park. Consider you, too. Each successful home sale booking a stay for them at doggy in your neighborhood improves day care during the home’s first everyone’s prospects. Hopefully, week on the market when showings you’ll soon have terrific new are frequent. neighbors! Interest in your home from many buyers increases the likelihood of a multiple-offer sale, potentially increasing the final sale price by thousands. You can buy a lot of doggy treats with that!

Rebecca Bomann is Founder and CEO of SASH Services, and Designated Broker of SASH Realty. With a background in social work and elder care, Bomann created SASH to provide real estate services tailored for clients’ unique needs. Since 2005, SASH has served clients of all ages, with specialized home sale services for older adults and their families.

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Exceptional Service from Start to Sold Serving the Greater Puget Sound Area Since 2005

spring 2022

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When It’s Hard to “Love Thy Neighbor” BY STEPHEN SINCLAIR

When I began to volunteer at the state prison in Monroe, Wash., I was assigned to visit two men. The first, “Thomas,” was incarcerated without the chance of parole and the second, “Luke,” was in a treatment program without a definite release date. Initially they both were a bit wary of me, as though they were figuring out if I could be trusted. However, as we spent more time together, they began to let down their guard and slowly started to share what it was like for them to be imprisoned. They also talked about the challenges they’d had in life before incarceration. Both shared with me the happier times they enjoyed in childhood despite the challenges their families faced. Eventually, they both confided in me about the crimes they had committed: Thomas murdered


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

a young woman while robbing her home; Luke sexually abused one of his children and molested another child in a park. I always knew they had committed egregious acts but was taken aback by their revelations. I didn’t know if I wanted to continue seeing them, especially since neither of them seemed to show much remorse for what they’d done. I struggled with this for several weeks before a colleague in whom I had confided reminded me of the commandment in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures that states, “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself …” But, how, I thought, could these men who had committed such evil be considered my neighbor? Aren’t we taught we should hate evil and those who do evil? I then decided to do some research and found that the directive to love thy neighbor is a near universal concept. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu wrote, “The world can be turned over to the man who loves all people as he loves himself.” Buddha taught his disciples to see themselves in all beings, and to be free from negative feelings toward others. Muslim doctrine prescribes loving for www.3rdActMag.com


one’s brother what one loves for oneself. As Thomas and I spent more time together he began to share with me his interest in painting and art—how throughout his years in prison he created artwork with whatever materials he could find. Over the course of time, his talent was recognized by the prison staff and he was given real art supplies that he was allowed to use in his cell. At the request of some of the wardens he painted murals in hallways and common rooms. I told him about my writing and performing and how I had started to make art in a support group for cancer survivors. That’s when he told me about his own experience with cancer. Most days when I visited, we would sit at our table and make drawings on scraps of paper while we talked. On my very first visit with Luke, he revealed that he was an alcoholic. Although he attended AA meetings in prison, there was no one who could help him work through the Twelve Steps. At that point I’d been sober for 20 years and still active in AA. I told him that and then offered

to sponsor him in the program. From then on, during visits, we read AA literature together and worked on his steps. Sharing my own experience, strength, and hope with him brought us closer together. At some point I realized that I had stopped thinking of Thomas and Luke as criminals. I saw them as two middle-aged guys who had messed up their lives, and, like many people, were doing the best they could to make it through another day. In the Bhagavad Gita, the text which incorporates the core teachings of Yoga, we’re told to “…see the Self present in all beings, and all beings present in the Self…” and that when we come to realize God abides in us, then we will see that it is true that God abides in everyone. It took many months for me to come to the place where I saw the divine and myself in Thomas and Luke. But when that finally occurred, I no longer felt separate from them. They had become my neighbors and I loved them.

Stephen Sinclair lives in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Earlier in his life he enjoyed a career in show business while working out of New York and Chicago. A career as an ordained Unitarian Universalist parish minister and a hospital chaplain followed. Most recently, he worked with the homeless, and is a weekly volunteer visitor at the Monroe Correctional Complex.

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2022

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Unwinding the Clock BY DR. LOU STOREY

In early youth, before I aligned my mind to the movement of the clock, days had a different measure. Time was told by the fiery ball of the sun, appearing in the morning to dazzle the front of our house. Rising up, it crossed over the roof, ending in a slow divebomb of colors in the sky as it disappeared behind the backyard pines. The glowing sphere of the moon soon followed, more fickle than the sun in its regularity of appearance, governing a sky of stars that was my night. But that all changed in grade school when I was taught the math of time. I was an eager student hungry to master the clock. Ready to decipher the mystery of that ticking ring of numbers whose hands pointing their way around its somber clockface. With this new knowledge, my moments translated into numbers, each made accountable to hours, minutes, seconds. Life became a linear progression, like the chanted countdown for sending rockets into space.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

“How are you feeling about retiring?” friends and colleagues ask me. I answer, “Ready.” That doesn’t mean I have it all figured out. In truth, I expect to do much un-figuring. Curious to see what my days will be like when the clock no longer dogs my steps. I am eager and ready to remove the watch from my wrist and let it rest on the bureau, transformed from a necessity into luxury. Not that I will abandon the clock. I remain grateful for all the mornings it signaled me to get out of bed to go make some money. Thankful for the way it kept my world coherent and on track. Grateful for its support. For me, being on time felt more like being late. I set my watch ahead to ensure I was always early to the plane, the train, and the party (yes, I am that guy). But now, the clock and I are both ready for a change. Willing to let the day unfold in a different way. Ready to let breakfast, lunch, and dinner be decided by the want of my stomach and not by a preassigned number. Ready to sit and read a book until the book is ready to be put down. As a child, I was fully engaging in whatever entertainment the moment provided, unhampered by the crawl of shadow on a sundial, free of a numerical schedule. Now the clock and I will rediscover this new way, invite back the sun and moon to their generous unveiling of night and day. We will entrust time to the rhythm of a heartbeat. Flow in time to the curl of waves comingled with the wind. I followed the clock for all of these years; now, the clock can follow me as we unwind and make room for all these new days to explore, play, and wonder. Dr. Lou Storey is an artist and recently retired psychotherapist living on the coast of New Jersey. His writings have appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times’ Tiny Love Stories, Beyond Words Anthology, and various mental health journals.


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insurance company a big chunk of your money, and they will “guarantee” 1 you an income for the rest of your life. A dependable, lifelong income feels pretty good. For many, it may even be essential. However, I contend that most of those who purchase these income annuities are unaware of the powerful opposing arguments—salespeople rarely share the downside. Let’s start with some assumptions. As of this writing, a $1 million, joint-life, immediate annuity for a 65-year-old couple will pay out about $4,200 per month2 for the life of both people in exchange for the million dollars upfront. After both have died, that’s it—the insurance company has no further obligation to the family. If both die early, the insurance company keeps the remainder of the million dollars. You are betting against the insurance company, believing that you win even if one partner lives a very long time. So, what does it take to win? What if you put that $1 million “under the mattress,” earning nothing and slipped out $4,200 each month for expenses? How long would the money last? You would spend the last of the million bucks a bit before either of you reached your 85th birthday. If both of you die before 85, your heirs receive whatever remained hidden beneath the bedding.

Seeking Immediate (Annuity) Gratification? BY DON MCDONALD

The host of the nationally syndicated Don McDonald Show for more than 20 years, Don McDonald now co-hosts Talking Real Money with Tom Cock on Seattle’s KOMO radio Saturdays at noon (talkingrealmoney. com). He also publishes the investing magazine, real investing journal (realinvestingjournal. com).

The wants of retirement investors are generally quite simple. From decades of experience, I have learned we all want high returns on our money with little or no risk. In other words, we want something we can’t have. These simple desires have cost investors billions, if not trillions, of dollars lost to scams, exaggerations, and insurance products. I include insurance in this list because insurance companies have found a profitable tool: Preying on our fears of the future. I’m not saying that insurance investment products are necessarily bad. However, they are often sold in a slightly deceptive manner. Take immediate annuities. This product was created to appeal to those who crave a reasonably secure, predictable income in retirement. Give the

$1,000,000 $750,000 $500,000 $250,000 $0 65




85 0%


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

90 1%

95 2%








Yet, the downsides of “mattress” stashing are obvious. Life past 85 will be a far more frugal affair without $50,000 a year in extra income. Social Security alone rarely provides enough for simple survival. In our assumption, the money wasn’t making any money over those two decades. One million dollars should be able to provide some portion of your ongoing income, even when invested very conservatively. The chart (previous page) illustrates how long $1 million would last if invested in a way to earn a small amount each year (on average), while paying out $4,200. As you can see, just earning the meager rate of 2% will extend the life of your income until age 90. Double that to 4% annually, and they’re set until well past the century mark (fewer than 1% of Americans live past 100 years old). To give you some perspective on what mutual funds have returned in the past, I looked at two

very old—because I needed 50 years of past performance to simulate a long retirement— balanced mutual funds from Vanguard: Wellesley (about 40% stocks/60% bonds) and Vanguard Wellington (about 60% stocks/40% bonds). Over the past 50 years, the average annual return of these funds has been between 9.5% and 10.3%.3 Suppose our hypothetical couple averaged about 10% per year on their million dollars. In that case, they could live until 115 and leave their heirs about $70 million. Instead, let’s be far more conservative and assume a 5% average annual return. If our couple lived until 95, they would have sustained the annuities income and died with an estate of well over $900,000. Of course, creating your own annuity means accepting some future anxiety. Uncertainty is the hallmark of life. What you believe to be future certainty always comes with a price, although it’s often unspoken.

1. Guarantees are based on the particular insurance company’s reserves and state guaranty associations. 2. Calculated at immediateannuities. com. 3. Source: Morningstar, December 23, 2021 Data © Morningstar 2021. All rights reserved.


Bill Barnet billbarnet@windermere.com 425-512-6476 WindermereHoodCanal.com

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Aging with Confidence

spring 2022

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That’s What Life is, Isn’t It? by DAVID BLUMENFELD

Sometimes, out of habit, I still call it running when like clockwork I’m out there twice a week in my shorts and sneakers and tee shirt leisurely loping and lollygagging along the path out in the sun on the route to the airport where the pale pink and purple Muhlenbergia grow. 10K: it’s not bad at eighty-four even if I am slow, so slow that I’m the only one who calls it running. So slow that a forty-year-old neighbor quipped: “It’s great how far you walked today. Keep it up.” “I call it running, I said, “but you’re probably closer to the truth.” I knew she was right, though not so long ago it was running, at a middling pace even then but running all the same. And sometimes, out of habit, I still call it running, though fast-walking women soon leave me far behind, as does almost everyone else, young and old. Yesterday a fourteen-year-old girl gave me a thumbs up and smiled benignly as she whizzed by, swiftly as time itself. But I’m moving and that’s what counts, I tell myself. Movement: That’s what life is, isn’t it?

David Blumenfeld (aka Dean Flowerfield)

is professor emeritus of philosophy. He taught at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the University of Illinois, Chicago, Southwestern University, and Georgia State, where he was chair of philosophy and associate dean for the humanities. He now publishes nonfiction, humor and children’s literature. His 2021 publications are featured in Best New True Crime Stories: Well-Mannered Crooks, Rogues & Criminals, Mono.; Beyond Words; Balloons Lit. Journal; The Caterpillar; Sport Literate and (forthcoming in 2022) Carmina Magazine.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


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We create our worlds through our stories. When it DIY Neuroplasticity BY CHERYL WHITELAW Neuroscience has established neuroplasticity as the comes to aging, we live surrounded by stories that nature of our brain and nervous system throughout depict aging as being about loss, limitations, and about physical and mental decline. It is important to note our life. We can use the process of neuroplasticity to positively these stories, not only to counter them through a positive change our experiences, including our experiences of aging. aging mindset, but because these social concepts of aging This can be a DIY project and here are some key tools for can literally change our physical selves. We feel strain in our your DIY neuroplasticity toolkit: knee after a hike. We have been told there is some structural damage. If my story of aging is one of decline, I may hike less. I may walk in a way that contributes to wear and tear on my knee joint. The bad news is that we may unconsciously create movement habits that embed these socially created stories of aging. The good news is that the impact of the stories can be changed through neuroplasticity.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

Sensory precision TOOL When we move habitually, we tend to create efficiencies in our movement. How much attention do you have to pay to how you turn the steering wheel when you drive? Our habits mean we tend to move in some ways and tend not to move in other ways. The parts of us we move less tend to experience a sensory atrophy.



When we use parts of ourselves less, we sense less. Our level of sensory precision is created through supply and demand. We can increase our sensory precision by changing the sensory information fed into our nervous system and brain. When we stimulate our senses in novel ways, we keep our sensory feedback loop active and healthy. Habitual Movement decreases our sensory precision.

TOOL Novel movement


One of the easiest ways to improve our sensory precision is to move in novel ways. Our brain and nervous system learn from our movement; repetition of movement creates predictive responses that let us move habitually. We can drive our own car without paying much attention because our brain uses sensory information to create a predictive motor sensory plan that controls our movements. When we engage in novel movement, like driving an unfamiliar rental car, our predictive motor sensory plan has gaps so we need to rely more on our senses to drive effectively. Movement practices that ask you to adapt, learn, and create novel movements, like dancing, aikido, or Awareness Through Movement support your DIY neuroplasticity.

TOOL Attention


Paying attention to your sensory experience is core to being your own DIY neuroplastician. Your attention can be cultivated; initially noticing when you are attending and when you are not, then increasing what you perceive— like the heavier weight of the steering wheel in your rental car compared to your own car. You can eventually develop an attentional connoisseurship, such as the difference in softness and pliability of the fabric on your car seats compared to the rental car. Cultivating your attention leads to greater sensory precision and a clearer experience of novel movement. How do these DIY neuroplasticity tools counter social and cultural concepts of aging? This toolkit of sensory precision, novel movement, and attention literally creates the next version of you through your nervous system and brain. Using these tools daily creates a personal change process that can change pain thresholds, coordination of movement, flexibility, and stamina. When we look at positive role models of aging like the 80-year-old gymnast, we see the results of their commitment to creating themselves as they desire to be each day. Cheryl Whitelaw is a leader in using movement to improve brain and body performance, to reverse the impacts of aging. Her mission: Move more, react less, and live more fully without regret.

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spring 2022

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Practice Acceptance When Change or Adversity Strike

Erikson also observed that to avoid despair, we need to be able to look back on a life that feels complete. Bob derived tremendous satisfaction from his “second” career, affecting how he thinks of himself in his old, old age. He told me, “It does make me feel better about dying to know I’ve done something good with my life.” He accepts that his remaining time may be short.


Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, is the author, with Joan DeClaire, of Enlightened Aging. He is the founding principal investigator of the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, ongoing for about 30 years. ACT recently was awarded a $55.6 million expansion grant from the National Institutes of Health.


We’re probably all familiar with various quotes about acceptance. It’s a popular concept, and subject of countless inspirational books, TED talks, and posters. Given the turmoil and uncertainty wrought by COVID though, it is worthwhile to consider the notion of acceptance more fully and how we can integrate it into our daily experiences. My friend Bob Zufall is a great candidate for the Acceptance Hall of Fame. Now 97, Bob retired as a private practice urologist in 1990. Though he considered spending his retirement doing international relief work, he saw a compelling need locally. With his wife Kay, he started a tiny one-room free clinic to care for underserved individuals in Dover, New Jersey, their own town. The Dover Free Clinic eventually became a thriving enterprise with six locations in all and was renamed Zufall Health Centers to honor its founders’ vision and commitment. Eighteen years after starting the clinic, Bob stepped down from practicing medicine but remained on the centers’ board. Along the way, Kay developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Bob provided steadfast care for her until her death at age 87. Soon, Bob experienced health problems of his own, including fall-related injuries, and concluded he could no longer live alone. Losing his wife through debilitating illness and experiencing his own gradual decline, Bob came to accept this phenomenon expressed by psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, “You’ve got to learn to accept the law of life and face the fact that we disintegrate slowly.” Despairing? Possibly. But

3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

But another part of acceptance is graciously accepting help when you need it. Although Bob realized that decline would occur, even with all his medical experience he was reluctant to seek help. Virtually every person at age 97 will need help! Bob was able to acknowledge this after honest conversations with his family. He now uses a walker to avoid falls and accepts personal help from others. If something calamitous happens—and it will—we can accept this as part of life, becoming more resilient and adaptable in the process. Just in the last two years, we’ve endured many ups and downs related to the pandemic, from illness and isolation to vaccines and long-awaited reunions with loved ones. Of the many maxims related to acceptance, one that I find well-suited to aging, adversity, and acceptance is attributed to none other than Eleanor Roosevelt. It speaks to perseverance, integrity, strength, and humility: “You have to accept whatever comes and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.” www.3rdActMag.com

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spring 2022

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Photo: Deja View Photography

Losing Oshi The death of a beloved pet can be devastating. by Victoria Starr Marshall


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


It was

a canine parade: A matched pair of glowing pumpkin-colored Vizslas, a gay Golden, a Pointer puppy (all legs), and bookend Spitzes— one black, one white—prancing merrily along. Each accompanied by their doting and devoted humans. I watch from my sidewalk café table with a mixture of delight, envy, sadness, and compassion. It has been just five days since I lost my beloved Australian Shepard, Oshi. My heart is broken. I am shattered. Oshi lent a rhythm to life. For over a decade we began each day with joyful good morning belly rubs and ended each day with our evening “nightnight” routine, not to mention all the scheduled walks, meals, playtime, and conversations (she knew more than 160 words and commands), and kisses in between. Losing that rhythm is disorienting. Months later, I’m still adjusting to my new normal. Grief catches me unaware and washes over me in waves so intense I’m not sure, sometimes, how to move through my days without her. That grief can be so deep, painful, and lasting over the loss of a pet will surprise only those who’ve never loved (and been loved by) a companion animal. Tell another dog owner you’ve recently lost yours and they look immediately stricken. It’s sympathy for your loss, of course, but it’s also recognition that their turn awaits. It’s just a matter of time—of too-little time—before they’ll be grieving their pet, too. The death of a pet is the death of a loved one, a cherished family member who loved unconditionally and never judged, criticized, or complained, and who has been a constant companion. I once heard this human-animal bond described as love in its most innocent and purest form. No wonder the loss is so profound. I choke up just thinking about life without Oshi. How can it be? I’d give anything to take our afternoon walk again, to smell her, pet her, and give her kisses. But the truth is I can see her gay sashay as she trots in my mind before me. I can close my eyes and see her big, silly smile and watch her make joyful doggy-angels in the snow. I can feel the tickle of her soft fur on my face, smell her musky dog smell, and feel her strong paw in my hand Aging with Confidence

as I rub the pads of her feet. None of this is completely lost to me. Everyone grieves differently. I could barely function the first two months after Oshi’s death, and I certainly couldn’t concentrate on anything. Yet, unlike after the death of a human loved one, when we lose a beloved pet, we are often expected to get right back to work and back to normal within a few days. There are no celebrations of life, no gathering of mourners, and few outlets and opportunities to adequately express our grief.

Grieving the loss of a pet? Here are some resources to help you through:

• Grief Support Center at RainbowsBridge.com: This site offers numerous resources including chat rooms, hotlines, suggestions for memorializing your pet, advice on how to help children cope, and even guidelines for knowing if it’s time to euthanize your pet and when it’s time to adopt a new one. • Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement at aplb.org: Chat rooms, pet loss support, and pet memorial pages.

• Facebook: There are several pet loss grief support groups on Facebook, some specific to dogs, like the AKC group mentioned in this story, some specific to cats, and others for all pets. • Book—Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski: One of the better books on grieving the loss of a pet. Available on Amazon.com

In search of solace, I sought out books and websites on pet loss. Most are reassuring that, yes, experiencing extreme grief after losing an animal companion is normal. And after assuring you that you will meet your pet once again on the “rainbow bridge,” they offer advice on creating your own memorial service, ways to memorialize your pet, and suggest attending pet loss grief groups. At Mypetsies.com you can even order a miniature replica of your pet, be it dog, cat, bird, horse, or other for about $250. They look remarkable, but I have not been able to bring myself to do this. Yet. In the absence of a pet grief group in our area I joined the AKC (American Kennel Club) Pet (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


Loss Support Group on Facebook. People of every creed, color, and walk of life post pictures of their deceased animal companions, equally diverse, and their stories—some lost just days or hours ago, others gone months and even years. All these beautiful doggy faces. All loved and missed fiercely. We bond over our shared grief; there is no red/blue divide here. After posting pictures of Oshi and my story of grief over her sudden loss to an aggressive cancer, I receive an avalanche of empathy, understanding, and kindness from hundreds of others navigating their own loss. From that site I also learn of another Facebook group for families who’d lost their dogs to the same cancer, hemangiosarcoma, which can cause almost instant death without any prior deterioration of health or warning. “Yes,” wrote one poster, “we lost our sweet Princess America to the same cancer—from good to gone in under a month.” Moved by all the support I received,

Is there another dog in our future? You bet. But not right away. The only dog I want right now is the one I cannot have—I want my Oshi girl back. when new images and stories of loss pop up on my Facebook feed, I make sure to give back by posting words of comfort and solace when I can: “You are not alone in your grief, we are in this together.” Anyone who has ever loved a companion animal has felt the strength of the human-animal bond, and science confirms it. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has done extensive scientific research demonstrating the link between human-animal interaction and healthy aging in several areas. According to HABRI, having a companion animal improves mental health in older adults by reducing anxiety, stress, and depression, and can be calming to people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Older adults with companion animals, especially dogs, tend to be more physically active, have lower obesity, lower blood pressure, and better cardiovascular health. The human-animal bond is an incredibly dynamic relationship between people and animals in that each influences the psychological and physiological state of the other. That’s the upside. The downside is most of the time we are going to outlive our pets and it’s going to hurt. A lot. Is there another dog in our future? You bet. But not right away. Most days I still can’t believe she is really gone. And the only dog I want right now is the one I cannot have—I want my Oshi girl back. Victoria Starr Marshall is the publisher and editor of 3rd Act Magazine. She and her husband, David Marshall (Oshi’s dad who misses her just as much), formed Oshi Publishing in 2015.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022




There are numerous lifeenhancing benefits to residing in a senior living community. One is that we plan and provide options to stay connected and engaged. At Cadence communities, our proprietary SESSIONS Life Enrichment programs are the heartbeat, bringing residents together to support and create positive feelings and joyful experiences.

The Benefits of Pet Therapy

Springtime—a time of renewal— reminds us that a positive community environment can enhance our wellness and happiness.


Inspiration comes in many forms. As the trees blossom and flowers bloom this spring, be inspired to bloom along with them by focusing on your physical health and wellbeing. Set three goals: Spend more time outside, improve your quality of sleep, and become more active and engaged. Write down baby steps you can take and develop a plan. This will help you to act. Cadence Kent-Meridian takes inspiration seriously. Among the symphony of life enrichment programs available is Furtissimo Pet Program. The newest ambassador is a six-month-old— American Kennel Club registered— yellow lab named Daisy. According to her pet parent Monica Rangel, Daisy loves playing fetch, tug-owar, and getting belly scratches. Do you know that the simple act of touching an animal can lower stress and blood pressure levels? Walking, grooming, and feeding a pet encourages people to stay active and get outdoors. Rangel, the executive director at Cadence Kent-Meridian, is excited that Daisy will play a significant role Aging with Confidence

in welcoming new residents and visiting often. Research shows that therapy animals and pet visits can increase social engagement, physical activity, and elevate mood long after the time together.

Make Your Bucket List Even More Extraordinary

Are you ready to bloom? We invite you to stop by Cadence Kent-Meridian. Daisy would be delighted to show you all the modern living amenities we have to offer. Belly-scratches appreciated.


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spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine



Note from Editor: Carolyn Rhodes was in the process of writing her “My Third Act” story for this issue when she lost her son unexpectantly. Her dear friend and Seattle writer, Suzanne Beyer sent me this story in her stead. We send Carolyn our deepest condolences.


“The silence is deafening,” wrote my longtime friend Carolyn’s computer knowledge, however, Carolyn Rhodes, as she faced her first day at home flourished through her son, who was a techie wiz, following the death of her adult son, Casey. The an entrepreneur who owned his own business. Casey retirement she knew now became a line-drive fast taught his mom everything she needed to know, ball piercing her heart. advising her which computer and other devices Looking back, Carolyn discovered a fast-paced to purchase, always looking for the best deals. momentum during retirement after raising Casey’s influence led to Carolyn creating a BY SUZANNE Casey as a single parent. Her husband died technical website where she posted tips for G. BEYER when their son was 11. Carolyn then moved her readers. Each year, Casey and Carolyn the little family from New York City to Connecticut, attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) eventually settling in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She in Las Vegas to keep apprised of the most recent never missed a beat in support of Casey and found advances in the world of tech. The venue provided Tuscaloosa a good place for both her employment a place for Carolyn to interview inventors and a and his schooling. The University of Alabama hired place for Casey to pursue his photography. With Carolyn in an administrative position and soon Casey’s eye for a good photograph and Carolyn’s discovered her writing expertise would benefit the interviewing and writing skills, the two made a university. In retirement, the Culverhouse College great pair for producing articles for their website of Business regularly rehired Carolyn to conduct and in magazines. Her nonfiction articles on many interviews of successful graduates for the school’s subjects, from map-making to museums, landed in alumni magazine. several Alabama publications, and also earned her Retirement not only provided time to pursue awards from her Christian writers’ group. writing, but also to enjoy her love of dance and use Carolyn credits her unusual upbringing to one of her athletic ability. She joined a line dancing group her biggest accomplishments. Her memoir, Library and became an arthritis exercise class instructor Girls of New York was published in 2019. With Casey’s through Osher Lifelong Learning at the University assistance in all things mechanical, like a jammed of Alabama. printer or crashed computer, Carolyn proceeded

3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


with the creative writing part that today serves as a prime example of a writer’s mantra, “Show, don’t tell!” Not to reveal too much of her book’s content, Carolyn and her two sisters were raised in two New York City public libraries. She gives thanks and credit to industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for a life amid shelves of books. She wrote, “From 1910 to the 1970s, the New York Public Library offered free apartments inside the library, to include salary for its custodian families.” Besides books, Carolyn loved the library music room, especially after hours, where she fell in love with musical theater. A dancing passion emerged, her ultimate major in college. Along with her college dance troupe, she performed her own choreographed Renaissance and Medieval dance presentation at Lincoln Center. I met Carolyn at Staten Island’s Curtis High School where we were both cheerleaders. After cheer practice we both walked to her apartment located inside the St. George Library close to school, said goodbye, and I continued a long commute home via city bus. Carolyn and I have cheered each other on ever ever since, but how to comfort my dear friend now, the day the music died, the creative writing stopped, her world

with her cherished son vanished in a split second. The silence is deafening without Casey, the guy who often said during his mom’s retirement, “Mom, you don’t have to work so hard.” For Carolyn, it was never work but using and enjoying every second of retirement to pursue her many interests.

How to comfort my dear friend now, the day the music died, the creative writing stopped, her world with her cherished son vanished in a split second. Casey left this physical world two days before Christmas 2021, with angels guiding him on a heavenly journey. God holds Carolyn’s hand and wraps her broken pieces in His arms until she’s able to stand tall, and to write and dance once again. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Carolyn Rhodes' book, Library Girls of New York, you may email her at writegems@gmail.com. Suzanne G. Beyer of Bothell writes nonfiction articles for national publications. Seattle's Northwest Prime Time has featured several of her pieces. She also co-authored a family saga in her book, The Inventors Fortune Up for Grabs.

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spring 2022

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y own origin story goes like this: I was born just before a snowstorm, a rare event in Seattle, even in January. When we left the hospital, we went to my grandparents’ house, instead of to my parents’ apartment, which was several miles further away. When it came time to go to bed, my mother held me and murmured lullabies all night long, so as not to let my crying wake her husband, her in-laws, or my older brother and sister. The way she told the story is that for the rest of my babyhood, I wanted to be held all night. How could I not? Who would want to leave the soft, warm arms of her mother, the sweet sounds of her lullaby? A few years ago, my father told me his version of the story. Yes, there was a snowstorm, and yes, we stopped at my grandparents’ home to pick up my older brother and sister. Pictures were taken outside their snow-covered brick house of newborn me all wrapped up against the cold. But it was not until I was about six months old— summertime—that we lived there for a few months, while my parents searched for a house of their own. He can’t remember whether Mom held me all night or not, because he was asleep. I want to believe my version, because there’s so much comfort in it. I want to believe that on my second or third day of life, I was carried through the snow to the safety of my grandparents’ guest bedroom and held all night by my mother while she sang, “Rock-ABye Baby,” locking her eyes with mine until mine closed, holding me close until I sank into the featherbed of sleep. I must have created this version from those snowy photos I’d seen. And then mixed it with her story of having to keep me quiet all night, and then mixed it again, later, with the bliss I felt when I sang my own babies to sleep.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

“Lullabies are the first love songs we hear,” says photojournalist Hannah Reyes Morales, who has traveled the world taking photos and recording sound of mothers singing to their babies. Along with love, lullabies embody hope. “They seem to hold the promise that on the other side awaits a bright morning.” Morales was a presenter, via video, at the Frye Museum’s December 2021 Creative Aging conference. The theme of this virtual gathering of artists, scientists, caregivers, and writers was “Cultivating Compassion.” Being held and rocked and sung to is our first experience, as humans, of pure compassion. We cry. Our mother

or father, grandparent or caregiver responds by holding us and soothing us with a song. And we soothe them, too, by melting into sleep. As if to say, “Thank you. You see? I’m okay now. I’m going to sleep, which means you’ll get to rest, too.” Morales’ presentation, based on her National Geographic photo essay “Songs to Soothe,” included audio of what is believed to be the oldest known lullaby: a Babylonian song, at least 4,000 years old, inscribed on a clay tablet. “Little baby in the dark house, you have seen the sun rise,” it begins. “Why are you crying? Why are you screaming? You have disturbed the house god.”


A nurse sings a lullaby to her child via Facetime.


The idea of lullabies as a root source of compassion— a deep well we can go back to, at any time in our lives, when we want or need to cultivate compassion— is powerful.

Compassion It might seem counterintuitive for a Creative Aging conference to include a presentation on lullabies. But the idea of lullabies as a root source of compassion—a deep well we can go back to, at any time in our lives, when we want or need to cultivate compassion—is powerful. Especially when you think of it all in the context of recent research on neuroplasticity, our brain’s ability to change and develop not just during childhood, but over the entire span of our lives. “Neuroplasticity is possible throughout life,” explained neurosurgeon James Doty, the keynote speaker at the conference, in an interview with UW Associate Professor of Neurology Kristoffer Rhoads. “Being of service changes you at any age. People say, ‘I don’t have power.’ But you can influence other people every day by being compassionate.” Doty is the founder and director of the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) and author of Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart, a memoir charting his own journey from poverty and neglect to medical school and a career as a brain surgeon. It’s a journey he is convinced he could not have made without the brief presence in his life of an older woman he met by

Aging with Confidence



chance at a magic shop, who taught him not magic tricks but mindfulness meditation, which became the lifeboat that got him through the turbulent waters of a chaotic adolescence. Later, he realized that for him, meditation was also the first step toward cultivating compassion: “Being present and being connected with others is the most powerful thing we have.” Rhoads, who has been offering weekly mindful meditation sessions at the Frye Museum (and on YouTube during the pandemic) for four years, concurs. “Kindness and compassion for self and others are such critical components to help maintain one’s ability to persist,” especially during stressful times, Rhoads said in a follow-up conversation. Meditation offers us a way to “shore up the foundation of resilience and our ability to stay engaged and stay connected and not shut down and become cold or hardened.” And “there is plenty of data that would suggest that as we engage in compassion or meditation practices, we’re activating different parts of our nervous system. To quiet down that ‘fight or flight.’” Rhoads is adamant that anyone, at any age, can start a meditation practice, which is, he emphasized, “not a mastery (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


“In cultures around the world, the songs that coax kids to sleep are windows into parents’ hope, fears, and dreams for the future.” —National Geographic Magazine, December 2020 event. I’ve been doing this for 37 years, and I’m not good at it! That’s not the point. It’s a practice.” Compassion asks much of us during a time like this. “The pandemic has shown us we are not in control,” said Doty. “It’s made us understand the importance of relationships. It’s also made a lot of people very unhappy and lonely (because) it has interfered with our ability to connect.” And yet, as Doty pointed out, not only are we

seeing stories of “extraordinary acts done by average people,” we’re seeing a narrative thread of compassion that is influencing our culture, including what we choose to watch, such as the wildly popular Ted Lasso series, featuring a main character who wants to be kind and help people. When Doty was asked by a caregiver in the virtual audience whether boundaries can be a form of compassion, he was quick to say

yes, that without self-care, without boundaries, you cannot give your patients or clients the full measure of your compassion. Especially in a time defined by a pandemic. In Morales’ photo essay, we saw COVID ICU nurses singing lullabies, via Facetime, to their children. In 2020, boundaries had suddenly become literal and critical to their babies’ health. But that first, primal form of compassion—a lullaby—was still possible. Even across the barrier of a screen, the nurses could comfort their babies, and themselves. What an example for us all of cultivating compassion in the most difficult of times. You can hear recordings of the lullabies at www.livinglullabies.net Ann Hedreen is an author (Her Beautiful Brain), teacher of memoir writing, and filmmaker, she recently completed a second memoir, After Ecstasy: Memoir of an Observant Doubter.

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For Love of Earth BY DAVID KORTEN

These are not happy times. We have entered the third year of what science tells us will be humanity’s decisive decade. Unless we navigate a global course change before 2030, we risk doing such irreversible damage to Earth’s regenerative systems that our species is unlikely to survive. Record heat, storms, floods, droughts, fires, and the COVID pandemic affirm the danger is real and immediate.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


I’m often struck in conversations with friends and colleagues by the number who feel that humans may not have a future. They find comfort, however, in their belief that Earth will ultimately recover. This suggests that the depth of our love for Earth exceeds our concern for ourselves and our own species. Perhaps we are coming to consider our anticipated human fate to be a fitting punishment for the sins that we, in our anthropocentric arrogance, have committed against one another and the Earth that birthed and nurtures us. Humans have become like an invasive species. In Defiant Earth: The Fate of Humans in the Anthropocene, Clive Hamilton notes that as humans have become like an invasive species, Earth has begun to respond as living organisms do. Reject the invader. He goes on to suggest that humans may be disrupting Earth’s living systems beyond their capacity for selfhealing. More startling—but equally plausible—is Hamilton’s suggestion that Earth’s survival as a living organism may depend on humans transitioning from our role as Earth exploiters to a role as facilitators of Earth healing. Herein lies a potentially gamechanging insight. Earth has recovered before from extreme shocks and mass extinctions, but there is no guarantee it can do so again. Earth may now need us as much as we need Earth. Earth is breathtakingly special. Among the now estimated 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, scientists have yet to identify another planet with the water, soils, atmosphere, and climate required to sustain complex life. Earth may be a unique miracle in the vastness of creation.

Our actions represent a breach of cosmic proportion. I find it impossible to acknowledge Earth’s distinctive beauty and wonder without being overwhelmed by unbearable grief and despair at what humans—in our anthropocentric arrogance—have done to this cosmic miracle. Our actions represent a breach of responsibility to creation and to Earth of cosmic proportion.

Humans are distinctive among Earth’s many species in our ability, through our conscious choices, to shape Earth’s future, and thereby our own. As individuals, most humans regularly demonstrate an extraordinary capacity for love and caring—sometimes to the extent of sacrificing our own lives for others. This, for me, shows the positive potential of our nature. As societies, however, we have demonstrated an extraordinary capacity for violence and mutual oppression at the expense of ourselves and Earth. It appears our nature is defined by neither love nor violence, but rather by our ability to choose between sharply contrasting and deeply conflicting paths. We exercise that choice both as individuals and, through our culture and institutions, as a global species. Disgusted by our long history of

violence and abuse against one another and Earth, we humans seem ready to abandon hope for ourselves. But what about our hopes for Earth? Might our love for the planet hold the key both to its salvation and to ours? Might we, by willful choice, transition from Earth exploiters to Earth healers? If we recognize Earth’s uniqueness, its need for our help, and our responsibility to respond, might we, as a now intimately interconnected global species, unite in a common cause? Might we muster sufficient commitment to serve as loving healers to two of creation’s most extraordinary miracles—a living planet of spectacular beauty, and a species with a unique capacity for creative conscious choice? An ancient truth now confirmed by science. I’ve been privileged over my 84 years to engage in global conversations about human possibility with some of the world’s most extraordinary minds— conversations that transcend the varied identities that have so long divided us. Recently, these conversations have become an experience in rapid learning, creativity, and commitment beyond anything I’ve previously experienced. Shortly before the COVID pandemic, I visited South Africa with Fran, my wife and life partner. We were guests of Mamphela Ramphele, a leader of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement. She spoke of the ancient African concept of ubuntu, which translates to “I am because you/we are.” It is a foundational truth, recently affirmed by science and elaborated as follows: Life is a fundamentally cooperative enterprise that depends on diverse communities of living beings selforganizing to create and maintain the (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

Aging with Confidence

spring 2022

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Start an Ecological Civilization Discussion Group Who would you like to invite for a conversation about healing the planet and making the world a better place, for everyone, everywhere? David Korten’s Ecological Civilization white paper can be freely downloaded and shared as a basis for discussion. Link to it at https://www.clubofrome.org/blog-post/korten-eco-civilisation/

Here are some suggested discussion questions to share with your group or book club: • What is your vision of a world that works for everyone, everywhere? • How did we get to this time of multiple global crises? How do we change course to heal our relationships with Earth and each other to support well-being for all? • Where does the power reside to make the kinds of major changes we need? • As an elder, how do the crises we face affect you and those around you? What life skills, knowledge, wisdom, experience, and/or resources can you contribute to help advance the movement toward an ecological civilization? • Choosing a path to a future of well-being for everyone and our living Earth is no small, short-term task. Everyone everywhere will need to pitch in, with elders taking a special role. Starting now, what special skills and resources can you offer, and how will you influence and participate in making the necessary changes to help pave the way for the next generations? • What would it look like to be a truly interdependent species? • What would an ecological civilization look like?


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conditions essential to their individual and mutual existence. Humans are distinctive among Earth’s many species in our ability, through our conscious choices, to shape Earth’s future, and thereby our own. It is a powerful gift. But when we get our choices wrong, we become an existential threat to that which should be the objects of our care. We have our current choices badly wrong because of a misguided love affair with money and the institutions that control our access to it. As a society we have allowed a love of money to trump our love of Earth. Valuing Earth only for its market price, we yielded ever more power to the institutions of business to control the institutions of government based on a promise that we would receive ever growing material affluence in return. The enormous tragedy and suffering caused by the disruptions of the climate emergency and the COVID pandemic have been brutal reminders of our love for and responsibility to the living Earth and one another. We have begun to recognize and confront the full implications. It is my hope that this recognition creates an epic opportunity. Our step to an ecological civilization. The theme of the Spring 2021 issue of YES! magazine was, “Toward an Ecological Civilization.” YES! Executive Editor Zenobia Jeffries Warfield framed the online edition with this simple and unsettling truth: “The path toward an ecological civilization moves us from an uncivilized society based on selfish wealth accumulation to one that is communityoriented and life affirming.” This truth is an essential part of letting go of institutions and policies devoted to growing the fortunes of billionaires in disregard of such consequences as growing millions of homeless refugees and the destruction of Earth’s capacity to sustain life. www.3rdActMag.com

We face a clear choice with daunting implications. Which do we love more, money or life? To move from the money-serving world we have created to the ecological civilization on which our future depends, we must imagine, and then create together, the future we want. The basics are obvious. Such a civilization must support peaceful sharing, environmental health, and a secure and meaningful means of living for all people. The details of getting to these outcomes are breathtakingly complex. There are many among us with essential insights. The YES! issue is one effort to pull together such insights into a coherent frame. Another is a 2021 white paper, “Ecological Civilization: From Emergency to Emergence” that I wrote for the Club of Rome. As we work our way through this pandemic, there must be no return to business as usual. Hope lies in letting go of our deeply troubled past as we embrace the opportunity now at hand to build back better. This is our opportunity to let go of our ruthless competition for money and embrace our responsibilities as living beings devoted to loving care for life. These are illustrative features of that future: • War will be confined to history books. • Power will be shared within and among deeply democratic, bio-regionally selfreliant local communities. • Government and business will be accountable to the people they serve. • Material needs will be met by local circular supply chains. • Education will prioritize development of learning skills to prepare us to adapt and contribute to an everevolving world. • Most meetings will be electronic. Aging with Confidence

• Tools, appliances, and devices will be designed for easy repair and recycling. • All children will be wanted by a family, and a village dedicated to their care and full development. • Cities will be designed to meet needs for personal transport by walking, cycling, and electrified public transit. These features will increase human well-being while supporting the recovery of Earth’s regenerative systems. We need sacrifice only that which is uncivilized and dehumanizing. As a species we will have less money and more life. Engaging countless millions of people in deep conversations and local experiments leading to an ever more compelling, coherent, and actionable vision of our collective future is a defining challenge for 2022. We each have our role in meeting this challenge—especially those of us in our Third Act years. We each bring the skills, experience, and wisdom of a lifetime. Many of us also have the discretionary time and income afforded by retirement. This gives us the freedom, as elders of the human tribe, to apply these assets in our final years as a gift in support of the youngsters who must lead in creating what will follow. I cannot know the specifics of your distinctive contribution. What I do know is that if enough of us get together behind a shared vision of a living world of love, we have the potential to create that world together. David Korten is co-founder of YES! magazine, president of the Living Economies Forum, a member of the Club of Rome, and the author of influential books, including When Corporations Rule the World, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and Change the Story, Change the Future: A Living Economy for a Living Earth. His work builds on lessons from the 21 years he and his wife, Fran, lived and worked abroad on a quest to end global poverty. This is an expanded and updated version of an article by the same name previously published in YES!

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spring 2022

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Stories That Bind Us BY SALLY J. FOX, PHD

Stories That Bind Us BY SALLY J. FOX, PHD

W Old stories can bind us to a past that feels dark and restricted. Yet stories can change and open doors to new possibilities.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

illiam Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” For some of us, that’s good news. Because if our past is still alive, we can change it. We can’t alter the facts about our lives. We can reshape our stories about our past and experiences—like those hard times in our lives when we were younger (and not so wise!), periods we’d rather forget. For me, it was my two years in business school nearly 40 years ago, memories of which I’d mostly ignored. Attending the Yale School of Management had been an incredible opportunity, an intellectual stretch, and a preparation I thought I needed for the next stage of my career. I entered as an ambitious, take-on-the-world 28-year-old. Then, I hit a wall of loneliness that led me to believe I was a misfit. My classmates had extraordinary talents, fascinating backgrounds, and ambitions. I struggled not to compare

myself to others who had worked at the White House, managed companies, or directed theatre companies. Most classmates seemed to be aiming at corporate careers, and I knew that wasn’t my calling. I felt isolated and out of place. When graduation came, I packed my goods, memories, and shards of selfesteem and moved west. Arriving during a Seattle-area recession, I struggled to find work, trying hard not to think about my classmates and their six-figure jobs. I reminded myself that I wanted a different life. As the years passed, I rarely thought about the time at Yale and kept my story about it locked away. Yet memories of that time still haunted when they surfaced. Thus, it surprised me when, nearly 40 years later, I decided to join a group of classmates who had begun meeting on Zoom during the pandemic. My interest, I rationalized, was academic—a chance to learn about life transitions, part of my field. The group, which began with 10 members, soon blossomed into a group of 60, and meetings averaging 25 www.3rdActMag.com

participants. Because of the group’s size, new members joining for the first time had just three minutes to update the group about their lives. I wanted to know more. Several of us sought a way to hear each other’s stories in more depth, so we created an eight-person subgroup we called the “Story Group.” Every month, we shared our individual stories in response to a common prompt. We talked about our family backgrounds, the challenges we’d faced, and what had brought us to Yale. We talked about the past and future. As we shared candidly and vulnerably, we quickly went beyond reporting our “good news” to speaking from our hearts. After each member shared a story, others offered a few appreciative comments. “I never knew this about you.” “OMG, you’ve been through so much.” “My grandparents were also immigrants.” Or, “Your situation with your child sounds so challenging.” For some, time at Yale had been “Some of my best years,” and “The turning point Aging with Confidence

in my life.” For others, it was “A time I would rather forget” and “Really tough years.” We embraced our differences with non-judgmental acceptance. Age was our friend. No longer did we have to plump our egos or prove our greatness. Status and salary no longer mattered; daring to follow our hearts did. We talked about grandchildren, creative projects, contributions, and choices. I no longer felt the need to compare myself to others. I had found the life I wanted. As we continued to meet, the magic of storytelling bonded us. Hearts opened. A group of classmates who had barely known each other at Yale became real friends. No one missed our meetings. We often commented, “How is it that I never really knew you? You are incredible.” We regretted how, in the academic pressure-cooker atmosphere of Yale, we hadn’t taken time to know each other better. But now, we had more time and could enjoy our shared connections and the camaraderie of having experienced an important stage of our lives together. My story about Yale shifted. I wasn’t the only one who had felt like a misfit, and the truth was I had always belonged. And now, all these years later, that Yale experience paved the way to new friendships. Old stories can bind us to a past that feels dark and restricted. Yet stories can change and open doors to new possibilities. When we share our truths open-heartedly, our stories can help us heal the past. Thankfully, the past is never past. It might even be the source of new friends. Sally J. Fox, PhD, is a coach, speaker, podcaster, and owner of Engaging Presence, a firm that helps individuals and organizations develop and share their best brand stories. She is currently working on a book about finding your creative work in the third act of life. Find her blog at engagingpresence.com and listen to her podcasts at 3rd Act Magazine.com.

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spring 2022

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Some time ago, lain out on a gurney, deeply drugged, post-surgery, my wife disclosed that I had said to her in low and muffled tones, “I have so much to tell you.” How I wish that I remembered both the moment, and its specific content—a map, some treasure. More characteristic of new love, such urgency was odd, as my utterance was given over a decade in, so what had I meant, I wonder? That moment sprang to mind as I thought about love—not romantic love, or love fueled by physical desire, or parental love, or puppy love—but love as it evolves throughout what I’d call a successful marriage, one dedicated to mutual support, to the cultivation of curiosity and humor, to resilience and engagement in challenging times, to the givens of friendship and family. Between such partners, then, what remains unspoken, what left unsaid? Secrets, hopes, confessions? It sounded urgent, lying there on the gurney in my altered and expanded state. What might I regret not saying, not having said? A couple of decades in, I am a couple of decades older. I do not feel myself to be old, that is, elderly, while forced to acknowledge that I am, by many counts, older. And I find myself ashamed that the self I proffered all those years ago can no longer be sustained. I am ashamed of charmless sags, the aches that vie for my attention, the thinning skin that is a magnet for florid bruising. Shame worsens the losses. Shame is not helpful. It is as if I gave you a performative self early in our marriage, and somehow the performance, once polished, has snagged on cheap props and clumsy blocking.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

This is, perhaps, the conversation we should be having, the weight of shame, its Novocain presence. As I think about it, my shame is about aging, but also about vulnerability, about my feeling, in your gaze, exposed. The more I feel myself known, the more I suffer the rawness of vulnerability and exposure. A paradox. I always thought being known was the point, the lucky charm, a resting place—striving and effort finally hung on their hooks in the tool shed. Instead, with my intimate partner, this feeling of exposure. Foibles revealed, weaknesses bared, disappointments guiltily copped to. Buddhist nun and teacher Pema Chödrön invites us by way of Samuel Beckett to “fail, fail again, fail better.” Could a component of the unsaid, the muted, have to do with not knowing how to say it? If so, then Right Speech, one of the Five Precepts in Buddhist beliefs, might be brought to bear. More often this precept is associated with content, like with not being mean, verbally abusive, and the like. Or

What, in this moment, given this conflict, or this beauty suddenly perceived, or that prickle of anxiety, what needs to be spoken? with tone—the how you say a thing being as significant as the what it is you’re saying. But I put timing up there with roses and chocolate— when to bring up a tough topic, a contentious bit of feedback, a potentially prickly observation. Some Buddhist exegeses caution against bringing up such material until the recipient is willing to hear it, and is, so to speak, receptively in the mood. This seems more an exercise of patience and restraint, which might easily slip, I imagine, into mute passivity, an avoidance of confrontation. Regardless, timing is key. What might I regret not saying, not having said? It is an impossible question! Today’s choice


might shrink to irrelevance with tomorrow’s more dire condition. If anything, the question urges a reining back from a speculative future to the present tense—what, in this moment, given this conflict, or this beauty suddenly perceived, or that prickle of anxiety, what needs to be spoken? Is it possible to think that this kind of unguarded, attuned communication is like meditation, involving two? Maybe things left unsaid aren’t words at all; maybe the lexis is ineffable—maybe eyes and breath, and byways of sensation. What is the bridge between the ineffable and things? The word, things—where would we be without it? Things left unsaid: reveries, ghosts, breath. Things loved fiercely: babies, books, wife, my beating heart, your beating heart. Such nouns; all solid. How can I write about love if I can’t, in various forms, enact it? There’s a terrible gap between writing about love and being love. Words can mire one in bullshit. Words can be wind; I can be borne on updrafts. Carried aloft, I resent it when you call me back down with an irrelevance, as if my words were the wheat, yours, the chaff. And this is bullshit and we suffer a discordant note between us.

Aging with Confidence

Lest this salubrious discomfort, this gap between word and act itself, launch a homily, I return to Samuel Beckett/Pema Chödrön and their words: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Each disappointing slip, each step back from love into the bog of irritation can be an opportunity. This morning, for example, I failed love. You departed for the office; I tossed you a terse and unaffectionate goodbye. I will take the opportunity to go and buy some tulips or some daffodils. I will mean this as my regret, and not have it go unsaid. After reading this reflection, my wife reminded me that it was her recollection, that she was, after all, the intended recipient of my utterance all those years ago. And she reports, “Your tone was one of joy.” A practicing Buddhist for more than 30 years, Hollis Giammatteo has sought experiences that challenge her practice, from teaching writing to working with the elderly. She co-founded The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, and was a resident playwright for The Rhode Island Feminist Theatre. Hollis has published in a variety of magazines, and her memoir, The Shelf Life of Ashes, was released in 2016 by She Writes Press.

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine





As you age, you’re hopefully eating the right foods, getting enough sleep and exercise, and staying engaged with life. These activities can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress, improve your memory, and give you the resilience you need to handle the challenges you face every day. But did you know that more than 1,000 scientific studies support another effective self-care technique, one that provides the same benefits, is cost-free, and is something that anyone can do? It’s called “expressive writing.” WHAT IS EXPRESSIVE WRITING? As its name implies, writing expressively doesn’t mean simply describing the things you’re doing; it involves recording your thoughts and feelings about those experiences. It can be a powerful tool to help you cope with issues typically experienced by older adults. Think about it: As we enter our later years, we must adjust to natural changes in our physical and mental capabilities. Moreover, given our growing awareness of the passage of time, how we think and feel about who


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


we are, what we have (or have not) done, the choices we make, our fears and desires, and the goals we set for ourselves can inspire us to want to increasingly explore—and discover—more facets of our identity and find better ways to live.


WHY DOES IT WORK? Scientifically speaking, our mind and body are deeply connected, and how the two relate affects not only our daily health but also our mental resilience and emotional happiness. By writing expressively, we can actually trigger hormonal responses that reduce inflammation in our body caused by stress. We can also greatly improve the flow of signals in our brain that allow us to solve problems, store and retrieve information, and even be creative. What’s great about expressive writing is that there


is no one “right way” to do it. All you have to do is put into words those ideas and feelings meaningful and relevant to your life, to get to the heart of whatever is on your mind. TRY THESE TECHNIQUES It all starts with journaling, the recording of your reflections on paper, in a computer, or digitally (audio or video). If you’ve never done any kind of journaling, you needn’t be intimidated by the process. It’s meant to be an engaging way to shift between self-exploration and self-discovery. Of course, wanting to explore your thoughts and feelings takes courage, and wanting to discover new insights requires a commitment to being honest, even about the times you may resist the process. Whatever you do, don’t self-edit as you write, and don’t judge yourself afterward for whatever you have written. While journaling is a serious endeavor, it can also be uplifting and just plain fun. Consider these very creative—and effective—techniques: Sentence completion: Give yourself the beginning

IDEAS TO GET YOU STARTED Whether you’re journaling, writing a memoir, or creating an ethical will, here are a dozen prompts to inspire you: 1) The most wonderful moment of my life was when: 2) The worst moment of my life was when: 3) A time of big change for me was when: 4) My earliest memory is: 5) The most difficult thing I ever had to do was: 6) I was honored or recognized for something I did when: 7) I was proudest of myself when: 8) I experienced great love/friendship when: 9) A time I gave care and support was when: 10) A time I received care and support was when: 11) A surprising moment of my life was when: 12) A time I wish I could live over in a different way was when:

Aging with Confidence

of a provocative sentence, and then complete it with as many different answers as you can. The more answers you provide, the deeper you’ll dig, and the greater the insight you may have. Or start with a sentence that asks you to prioritize an experience (see Ideas to Get You Started). Arriving at one answer instead of several is itself a meaningful exercise. Unsent letter: Write a letter to someone without intending to send it. Feel free to say whatever you want. Dialogue: In order to work out an issue you might be having with someone, write out in dramatic script form an imaginary conversation. You might even consider it a rehearsal for an upcoming real one. List: Challenge yourself to create meaningful lists (e.g., the three most important teachers in your life, five things every parent needs to do, your Top 10 movies or books, etc.). Non-dominant hand: Write an entire entry using your opposite hand. Pay attention to what goes on in your mind as well as to the language you use. Non-verbal options: Draw, doodle, color, or make a collage that expresses what you are going through. YOUR WORDS AS A LEGACY One of the great things about keeping a journal is that it becomes a trove of rich material from which to select and share reflections with others as a way for them to remember you. You might want to use specific journal entries or choose details to rework into another expressive writing form, such as a memoir or an ethical will. A memoir is a true story that can be as short as one or two pages, focusing on an important experience that conveys an insight you gained. An ethical will is an informal, non-legal document that describes life lessons you’ve learned, as well as your appreciation for loved ones and your wishes for them. Also known as a legacy letter, it can be a powerful gift to hand down now or after you pass. If you’d like a surprisingly creative way to explore the many facets of your life, consider expressive writing. It can be the “write stuff” that helps you continue to grow in the days—and years—to come. Jeanette Leardi is a Portland-based social gerontologist, writer, editor, and community educator who has a passion for older adult empowerment. She gives popular presentations and workshops in journaling, memoir writing, ethical will creation, brain fitness, creativity, ageism, intergenerational communication, and caregiver support to people of all ages. Learn more about her work at jeanetteleardi.com.

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine




Tom Skerritt is a leading man for the first time in his long film career, but you won’t hear him boast about that. He’d rather talk about how luck, connections, and timing led to a good living in the entertainment business, and how imagination and curiosity continue to be his touchstones for a happy life. Instantly recognizable, yet ever relatable, Skerritt has had major supporting roles in dozens of top films and won an Emmy for the television series Picket Fences. Now, at 88, the longtime Pacific Northwest resident has done some of the best work of his career in East of the Mountains, playing retired heart surgeon Ben Givens. Widowed and diagnosed with cancer, Ben leaves Seattle for the open spaces of central Washington. That’s when things get interesting. East of the Mountains was adapted for the screen by David Guterson, who met Skerritt when the actor invited him to lead writing workshops for veterans at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Guterson told Skerritt that if a movie were ever made of his bestselling novel, he envisioned the actor in the lead role. The author’s casting was spot on, “one of the best performances of


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

Tom Skerritt draws on a ‘library of imaginative experiences’ for his work onscreen and off. BY JULIE FANSELOW Skerritt’s career,” Soren Andersen wrote in the Seattle Times. Skerritt is a fan of Guterson’s work, too. “The words that he writes are often like the wind through a forest, blowing the fragrance of cedar and the rustle of leaves,” he says. “I feel that when I read his stuff.” Interestingly, East of the Mountains is Skerritt’s second recent role playing an older man whose time may be winding down. He also commands nearly every scene in Day of Days, a little-seen 2017 movie in which he depicts a 91-year-old man who is convinced he will die by sundown. Did Skerritt consciously choose these roles? “I don’t think of them much that way,” he says. In fact, to hear Skerritt tell it, he’s never really had a grand plan for his career. Instead, he builds and draws from what he calls “a library www.3rdActMag.com

of imaginative experiences” and a lifetime of creative pursuits. (“I love writing, I love painting, I love carving wood—hard wood—and I love to toil in the garden,” he says.) After serving in the Air Force, he married and moved to Los Angeles, where, mostly interested in writing and directing, became an English major at UCLA. He remembers how a professor, reading his work, replied, “You’re a writer.” “That made me feel I made the right decision,” he recalls. “But I thought if I was going to write for the screen, I had to know what it was to act. So I started doing some theater because you have to feel this stuff. You cannot explain it or fake it.” He began acting in movies because he had a family to support, and he made many good friends along the way, including Robert Redford (who decades later would direct him in A River Runs Through It) and Sydney Pollack. He also met a TV director who gave Skerritt some work, “and one day a few years later, he

calls and said, ‘I have a film to direct and I’d like you to be in it.’” The director was Robert Altman, and the film was MASH. Around the same time, Skerritt met Hal Ashby, who would soon be directing Harold & Maude. (“Talk about a film for the ages,” he says.) An actor with a bit part as a motorcycle cop broke his leg and Ashby had Skerritt fill in. “We had all that goofy stuff going on,” Skerritt recalls. “I’m learning stuff that others are not learning and I’m with people that others are not spending time with.” Toward the end of the 70s, reluctant to commit to a small-budget film, he agreed to attend a screening of the then-unknown director’s first feature film. That’s how he met Ridley Scott and eagerly signed on

Watch for Free

You can find The EVRGRN Channel via STIRR TV, a free streaming app. Search for Channel 343.


For his role in East of the Mountains, Tom Skerritt was nominated for Best Actor in the Satellite Awards given by the International Press Academy, which also honored him with its Mary Pickford Award for outstanding contributions to the entertainment business. Photos courtesy of Sébastien Scandiuzzi, Premiere Entertainment

Aging with Confidence

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


Whether in a leading role or as a supporting actor, Tom Skerritt has never been driven by ego: “I’m not concerned about getting a close-up,” he says. “I just want to say I’m part of the picture.”

for his next project, Alien. He later starred in Top Gun, directed by Scott’s brother Tony. “All of it is a matter of survival,” says Skerritt. “All of it is to find the best of what it is that you’re given, and I was given some of the best,” including the opportunity to work with acclaimed television creator David E. Kelley, who followed up his first hit, L.A. Law, with Picket Fences. “I’ve been a very lucky man is the way I look at it,” he adds. Through it all, Skerritt steered clear of Hollywood excess, again, because he had kids to look after amid a troubled marriage. “Acting was an avenue of release. Writing, which I’ve always been doing, is a release,” says Skerritt, who is now happily remarried and has five children, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild born late last year. Reviewing East of the Mountains, Lisa Kennedy of The New York Times praised Skerritt’s “unfaltering portrayal of a cardiologist who is ailing and grieving—and fed up with both.” What older person can’t identify with that at times? “Occasionally I wake up in the morning and feel that way,” Skerritt says. “Eighty-eight will do that to you.” Most days, though, he wakes up ready to live, work, and contribute. For just as East of the Mountains ultimately shows how acts of kindness can alter life’s trajectory, Skerritt believes in mentoring others as he was mentored. He co-founded the Red Badge Project, a program that helps veterans process their traumatic experiences through writing, and he’s a big cheerleader for the region’s filmmaking community. To that end, Skerritt and his wife Julie recently launched The EVRGRN Channel, a streaming showcase for Northwestern talent of all kinds. “It’s all uplifting. None of this ‘poor me’ stuff,” he says. Think fly fishing and classic girl bands and “great cooks that you find in the woods doing things nobody else is doing,” he says. If it’s creative, and especially if it’s positive, Tom Skerritt wants to celebrate it. “You look at this and you have a good time,” he says. Julie Fanselow, a frequent contributor to 3rd Act Magazine, lives in Seattle and writes frequently about the arts. Read more from her at SurelyJoy.com.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

John Hummel 2021 Photography Contest Winner


SHRIMPFEST Memorial Day Weekend

May 28 & 29, 2022

www.brinnonshrimpfest.org www.3rdActMag.com


living in that residents enjoy the privacy of your own apartment but with 24/7 supervision and assistance with the activities of daily living (such as mobility, grooming, medication management, etc.) from trained and professional staff members. This allows you to enjoy the freedom of your retirement years with the tranquility of mind that assistance is just around the corner, day or night.

Make the Right Choice When it comes to senior living, there are many options available. No matter your needs and desires, or those of your loved one, you can rest assured that the right option is out there for you. Life Plan Communities You might have heard the phrase “Life Plan Communities.” These communities offer multiple levels of care so that residents can transition smoothly between levels of care as you age or needs change. This option brings peace of mind and stability as you are potentially able to stay in one community for the rest of your life. Some life plan communities are even faithbased, like Crista Shores and Cristwood located in Northwest Washington. Independent or Residential Living Independent Living is more of a lifestyle than a level of care. Independent Living offers a similar level of freedom and autonomy experienced in your own home, but without the stress and pressure of home maintenance and upkeep, which can be time-consuming and Aging with Confidence

difficult to manage at any age. This lifestyle offers residents more time, and less isolation than living alone. Especially, when moving to a community with like-minded neighbors of a similar age. Most communities offer a wide range of amenities and activities to make life even more fun and fulfilling. Assisted Living This level of care is like residential

Memory Care Millions of Americans begin to experience some form of dementia as they age. However, this hurdle does not mean they are not entitled to the same joys and beauties of life as anyone else. Licensed memory care programs are specially designed to help control the negative effects of dementia and memory-related complications and slow progression so that those living with dementia can continue to enjoy life. Quality memory care communities are staffed by professionals trained in addressing dementia-related complications and feature safety mechanisms like magnetically locking doors to prevent wandering into unsafe situations.

CRISTA Senior Living is home to seniors 55 and older, with two campuses located in the Puget Sound and customized to suit your lifestyle. Cristwood, our Shoreline campus, is a Christian Life Plan Community, with apartment living options for independent lifestyles, to assisted living and memory care. Crista Shores, our Silverdale campus, offers apartment living options for an independent lifestyle and assisted living on the beautiful Dyes Inlet waterfront.

If you would like to speak to one of our senior living experts, please call us today at 206-546-7565, or visit cristaseniorliving.com.

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine



s p i L y M d a e R

in ways e v lo e z li o Lips symb s can’t compare. dove roses and C U LV E R BY A N N IE


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

Responsible for much more than food intake and speech, lips are a tactile, sensory organ. Perhaps that’s why a lipsologist—someone who can tell a lot about you by looking at your lip prints—is such a curiosity. A face-to-face encounter with a certified lipsologist is far more entertaining than, say, an appointment with a cardiologist, ophthalmologist, or proctologist. Throw on a little lipstick—be you female or male—smack those lips on a piece of paper a few times, and a lipsologist can read your lips without you saying a word. Jilly Eddy of Lakebay, Wash., is the lipsology guru who gave this unexpected twist to a kiss. “Lip prints are sweet and sentimental,” she says. “They offer an opportunity to look at yourself in a different way.” Eddy suggests lipsology brings joy that’s especially personal. She describes her own thin lips, a sign she’s very detail oriented. “With my thin lips, I could be a research person, which is exactly what I did. I kept looking for affirmation that I’m not nuts, so I kept researching,” she says. Early on, she discovered a book of celebrity lip prints that inspired her to collect lip prints of family and friends. The daughter of a hand analyst who gave readings of the whole hand (not simply the palm), Eddy was inspired by her mother’s work but knew she wanted to follow her own path. After coining the term lipsology in 1996, Eddy’s career lip locked. Still, she recalls passing up a chance to appear on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson because she didn’t feel she had enough lip savvy yet. This missed opportunity would ultimately be her catalyst. She began entertaining at bachelorette parties, fundraisers, and local events sponsored by Nordstrom, Microsoft, Washington Athletic Club, Rainier Club, Columbia Tower Club, Palace Ballroom, and lots more. By 2015, she was jetted on


a promotional lipstick tour for Yves Saint Laurent to high-end makeup counters all over the country. Eddy also appeared on Evening Magazine at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Hollywood. She’s the supreme collector of lip prints. “I have binders and binders. I stopped counting at 10,000. It’s so hard for me to throw away a lip print,” she says. Eddy wrote a couple books about her lip shtick, too. Her first was a training manual for those who want to become certified. There are now 10 certified lipsologists (including Eddy) at lipsology.com, with many more coming up. All participate in what Eddy says is akin to a year-long

college course. Her second book, the e-book Lipsology: The Art and Science of Reading Lip Prints, took her 20 years to write. She never lost sight of her goal—show others how to use lipsology in their own lives. “It’s knowledge to be shared,” says Eddy. At 76, after reading more than 25,000 lip prints over a span of 35 years, she’s no longer working as an entertainer, yet takes great pride in the fact that lipsology lives on. Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early 90s, she went to work for websites where she wrote sassy essays aimed at women. In recent years, she morphed into a writer for several universities in the Northwest. She retired in 2016.

Pucker Up!

Unlike fingerprints, lip prints can change as a result of health and other factors, according to Jilly Eddy. Here are a few short lip-smacked insights garnered from her book, Lipsology: The Art and Science of Reading Lip Prints. Angel Wings: Feathery protrusions at the corners belong to people who do kind, unexpected things for others and make them smile. They radiate love and can be male or female, young or old. Cupid’s Bow on Upper Lip: A V-shaped indentation doesn’t always print that way, although in the extreme shape it resembles the mythological god of love’s bow used to shoot love arrows. It’s about making a positive impression, efforts to achieve goals, and can change with one’s desires. Gourmet Lip Split: A V-shaped indentation on the inner edge of the lower lip’s center can reveal food preferences, sense of humor, and romantic or sentimental values. Hug Pucker on Upper Lip: Located on the center inside edge, the name is associated with people showing affection with hugs and puckering up for kisses. A big one of these can reveal how much affection is wanted or needed. Eddy says it could be beneficial to stop and give a big hug to a person with a lip like this.

Aging with Confidence

Care That Makes A Difference

Senior living doesn’t mean changing the way you live. Rather, here you’ll live life confidently knowing care and support is available around the clock. With greater peace of mind and assistance when it’s needed, you’ll enjoy connecting with friends and neighbors, exploring hobbies and interests, staying active and finding purpose and opportunity in every day. At Northgate Plaza, it’s care that makes all the difference.

Contact us today and experience the MBK difference

Call (206) 316-2848 or email NorthgatePlaza@mbk.com to schedule a tour. 11030 5th Ave. NE. Seattle, WA 98125

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


An Old Man,

A Long-Forgotten Pitcher, An Obsession Remembered 


I’ve learned to mistrust reverie. One of the unexpected lessons old age has taught me is to beware of what comes out of the soft, furry pocket of memory. Sometimes, it is a thing with edges. Like the time recently when I tried to educate my girlfriend Julia about the game of baseball back in the tame 1950s. “I know the son of a baseball player,” she said. “Who is the player?” She checked with Google to make sure: “Aber.” “Al Aber. Relief pitcher. Detroit Tigers.” Julia gasped. You’d have thought I plucked Aber fully formed out of a hat. I actually amazed myself responding so readily, as if I saw him pitch just the other day. I hadn’t thought of Al Aber in more than 60 years. I had to wonder if, perhaps like Cardinal’s shortstop


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

Marty Marion, Aber was one of those players I chased from his mid-Manhattan hotel down into the Grand Central subway station for his autograph. (In the 50s, players routinely traveled up to Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds by subway.) Julia diligently put me in touch with Aber’s son, Mitch, a retired Oak Park social worker. We first exchanged emails to set up a time to talk. He sounded surprised but pleased that a stranger from the East would be interested in his father almost 30 years dead. “In his entire career (1950-1957), my father never made more than $10,000, tops,” Mitch Aber said when I phoned him. “The money a physician might make in those days. After retirement, he worked in a clothing store.”The remnants of baseball’s exalted otherness still makes that seem unimaginable. Some of my neighbors worked


in clothing stores, some pitched coins. None pitched baseballs. How could a major league pitcher wind up measuring waists? There seemed to be no reason initially to remember a journeyman relief pitcher with a lifetime record of 24 wins and 25 losses. Relief pitchers in those days were mainly anonymous commodities who often bounced around from one team to another. Before being traded to the Tigers, Aber pitched for the Cleveland Indians and wound up his career with brief stint with the Kansas City A’s. When I understood why Al Aber was still interred in me, I thought, “Of course,” Raised in the Bronx, I was a long-suffering Red Sox fan. (At one time, there was no other kind.) Throughout my childhood, as good as the Red Sox were, the Yankees always found ways to torture the Sox into oblivion, to subject me to abject humiliation. Any pitcher from any team who worked against the Yankees had my useless blessing. I’d park myself by the visitor’s bullpen in right field, imagining every pitcher who warmed up uniformed—not in harmless flannel, but in armor only I could see. One of those was Al Aber, who it turned out, the Yankees wanted to sign out of West Tech High School, but he chose instead to play for his hometown Indians. Even today, returning to the Bronx as an old man, whose life has been changed by deaths, disappointments, spiritual insights, it amazes me that the old dread and animosity can still be awakened. I still carry somewhere in my untended museum of childhood the heat of a young boy’s sacred fire built at the altar of a great wound. Yankee Stadium’s right field bullpen became for me part of a mythological space where a great battle was being fought, and almost invariably, lost. At the bottom of the eighth inning of a close game, a pitcher like Aber, or fellow Tiger reliever Ray Herbert, would be called on to stop a lineup consisting of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Hank Bauer and Gene Woodling, all good clutch hitters whose heartbreaking hits at the end of games would send me home with the fiendish roars of Yankee fans still in my ears.

How can it be that the embers of that old rage I felt will not completely go away when my anger at insults suffered at school can no longer even be recalled. Some days, even after the existential clarity of a Krishnamurti talk on the ills of conditioning, I may still find myself opening a newspaper to see if the Yankees lost. Does that elicit shame? Sometimes, yes. But more than shame, wonder. How can we account for what lives and what dies in us? At one point in our conversation, I asked Mitch Aber to

Aber was one of those players I chased from his mid-Manhattan hotel down into the Grand Central subway station for his autograph.

Aging with Confidence

tell me a bit about how his father fared against the greater hitters of his time. “Mantle,” he said, “he thought he could handle. He respected him as an intimidating hitter, but he could stand up to him. He threw him a lot of fastballs and a good slider. He had success against Mantle. Ted Williams terrified him. He hit the longest home run off him my father had ever seen.” I am a Red Sox fan because of Ted Williams. I saw him hit some of the longest home runs I had ever seen. But they were never enough to dethrone the Yankees, Bronx’s evil kings of baseball. Robert Hirschfield is a New York-based writer and poet. He has spent much of the last five years writing and assembling poems about his mother's Alzheimer's. In 2019, Presa Press published a volume of his poems titled, The Road To Canaan. His work has appeared in Parabola, Tricycle, Spirituality & Health, Sojourners, The Moth (Ireland), Tears In The Fence (UK) and other publications.

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine



Okanogan Trails and Sherman Pass Byways The road trip had a well-researched plan. The itinerary? A five-night excursion on two of Eastern Washington’s intersecting scenic byways: Okanogan Trails and Sherman Pass. Ultimately, wildfires and COVID closures required some real time adjustments; fortuitous detours that found us admiring county fair blue-ribbon sheep, searching for sculptures by a Native metalsmith, and meandering the prettiest little drive east of the Cascades. Pateros, a recreational town at the river confluence of the Methow and the Columbia, anchors the southern terminus of Okanogan Trails Byway. The game plan was straightforward: Drive Highway 97 83 miles north to the Canadian border, following a stretch of the historic 800-mile Caribou Trail. Used by Native Americans and then for cattle drives and by miners making their way to Okanogan and Canadian mining camps, their vestiges became the trip’s waymarks. Then, reverse course and drive east on Highway 20, to Sherman Pass Byway, Washington’s highest maintained pass. It was in Pateros where we discovered artist Virgil “Smoker” Marchand’s “Memorial to the Methow” installation. His lifelike sculptures, cut from steel then shaped unheated with a sledgehammer and vice, can be seen in multiple


202 97


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A coddiwomple: “To travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague destination.” BY ANN RANDALL locations throughout the region, including the Colville Reservation where he lives. The search for another artist, the Japanese frontier photographer Frank S. Matsura, led us to the Okanogan County Historical Museum, where his collection of photos depicting life in the area, circa 1903-13, is housed. The museum was inexplicably closed, necessitating Plan B—a search for nearby Marchand sculptures, including his bighorn sheep perched above another unexpected discovery: Omak Lake. Surrounded by rolling sagebrush hills belonging to the Colville Tribe, the eight-mile body of turquoise water is Washington’s largest saline lake. By chance, our road trip coincided with the 74th Okanogan County Fair publicized by colorful posters all over town. We spent an evening wandering 4-H barns of squash displays and Nubian goats, sampling barbecue, cheering for bronco riders, and enjoying the camaraderie of a community happy to see each other after the previous year’s fair cancellation. www.3rdActMag.com

At the fair we got insider information about Omak’s Breadline Café. Open since 1981, the eatery is a former soda pop bottling plant. The interior is filled with vintage typewriters, musical instruments, and friendly waitstaff and customers. The menu is sizable, all of it homemade (including its bread bar) with drinks poured behind a vintage bar. Below the Canadian border at Oroville, we ventured east to visit the well-preserved ghost town of Molson. Reached after climbing rolling hills of ranch land dotted with abandoned homesteads, Molson is worth the detour. The former two-story brick school is a museum, and the weathered buildings of the original town (land office, cashonly general store, and bank) have been lovingly restored by the Okanogan Historical Society. Returning we took a scenic gravel road paralleling Canada; a barbwire fence the only indication of an international border. In Oroville, the Similkameen River Canyon signs stoked our curiosity, and after map consultation, we impulsively followed them down a lush backroad through designated wildlife areas, past Nighthawk, another historic mining town, and into picturesque Conconully, where the devastation of the recently controlled Muckamuck Fire was evident. Sherman Pass Byway’s 42-mile trip begins in Republic, a former gold rush town famous for the Stonerose Interpretive Center & Eocene Fossil Site. For a small fee we spent an afternoon with a rock hammer and chisel at the 50-millionyear-old lakebed in search of fossils lodged in shale. We then quenched our thirst at Republic Brewing Company before wandering main street admiring the town’s history murals. Outdoor recreation opportunities were plentiful, and we regretted not bringing our bikes. The Golden Tiger Pathway is a 5.5-mile bike/walking trail within Republic. Its northern

end connects to the 25-mile Ferry County Rail Trail ending at the Canadian border. At 5,575 feet, Sherman Pass has additional trails used by hikers, snowshoers, and crosscountry skiers providing far-reaching vistas of the Kettle River Range and Eastern Washington. In September, our moderate hike took us through swaths of pink fireweed. Kettle Falls, on the eastern side of the pass, has an historic museum with information about the indigenous tribes who gathered at the 50-foot falls to salmon fish. It was also inexplicably closed. Alternatively, we wandered galleries of the 30 vendors who share the refurbished Old Apple Warehouse Trading Company and sat on its porch enjoying Crandall Coffee roasted on the premises. The best experiences were the unexpected when one door was closed (literally) and we stayed open to new discoveries not on the itinerary—an international boundary, a back road that warrants a return visit, and the company of friendly strangers in the stands of a rodeo arena. It was coddiwompling that upgraded a spreadsheet road trip itinerary to memorable getaway. Ann Randall is a freelance writer, organizational consultant, and independent traveler who loves venturing to out-of-the-way locales from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. Retired from a career as a teacher and union organizer in public education, she now observes international elections, volunteers in India, and writes regularly for 3rd Act, Northwest Travel & Life, West Sound Home & Garden, Fibre Focus and Dutch, the Magazine.

Clockwise from above: Fossil Hunters at Stonerose Fossil Dig; the Molson Homestead Office; and the Republic Brewing Company in a Former Fire Hall.

Aging with Confidence

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine





raig Claiborne, the venerable food critic and cookbook writer for The New York Times, wrote that we all love “nursery foods.” Those would be the creamy, sweet, soft foods we associate with our childhood—or at least the childhoods of mid-20th century Americans. His point was well taken. I can’t hear the words “tapioca pudding” without my mouth watering. Same thing with “melted cheese.” From custards to whipped cream, we can count on feeling soothed and comforted when we encounter those foods, and they are often from our childhoods.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

I am unashamedly conflating what we call “comfort foods”—macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches dipped in tomato soup, mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream, meat loaf with ketchup—with foods we love. These dishes often show up as regulars on menus at places where people go to eat what makes them happy, not what makes them appreciate a chef’s talent. Food as both expression and proof of love are ancient pairs. I am not talking about food as a substitute for love. (I think that is a particular 20th century

aberration and one which many of us can relate to.) I asked a friend what foods he loved. He started with a generic statement I couldn’t dispute: “Any well-prepared meal made with good ingredients and care.” Even so, I shut him down. “No! What do you love to eat, what makes you happy?” He laughed: “A really good sardine sandwich! A bowl of excellent congee!” Absolutely. When I want to feel happy, I make my favorite garlic potatoes with peas, melted cheese, and Indian lime pickle. I mash it all together. Each bite has its own hit of flavor. What’s more, I usually eat this by myself since I can’t count on anybody else joining me with same level of enthusiasm the mixture elicits from me. I also crave my cilantro salsa with its bright citrus tang. (See the recipe in the Summer 2018 issue.) I visited friends recently and was served “dump cake,” something never previously encountered. Turns out there is a whole range of dump cakes, recently revived—or never forgotten— examples of post-World War II foods that were made with cans and boxed ingredients. My virgin experience with the category was the classic Cherry Dump Cake—canned pie cherries, yellow cake mix, a stick and a half of butter dotted on top. Baked, served warm with whipped cream. OMG! It hit all the pleasure receptors on my unsuspecting tongue.


Foods we love are often foods we have with the people we love on anniversaries or other holidays. We don’t care whether they are good for us or healthy or made with the freshest local ingredients. Canned pie fillings and cake mixes come from the Land of Labs—giant automated equipment spaces with people in white coats and shower hats. Okay, I made that up, but you know what I mean. “Tasty Apricot Chicken” appeared in Joan Nathan’s first famous cookbook, Jewish Holiday Kitchen. It was simple and delicious (and embarrassing if you had been inspired by Julia Child or Marcella Hazan). Chicken thighs baked under a combination of Lipton’s Onion Soup mix, a bottle of Russian dressing, and either a jar of apricot jam or a can of whole cranberry sauce. I confess to not only serving it but sometimes telling guests it was a family favorite whose recipe was sworn to secrecy. I am not suggesting we abandon all attempts at health and ecoconsciousness. Rather, I am reminding us that feeling happy and love(d) are good for us. They release endorphins and oxytocin—our feel-good hormones. Who doesn’t need more of those? Consider this premise: Think about what you really love to eat. When did you first have it? Who was it with? What were you doing? When, where, and with whom have you had it since? When can you have it again, and with whom do you want to share your stories? Better yet, invite people you love now to bring the foods they love and make time for each person to tell their foodlove stories. We can’t have too much love! My recipes could qualify as a complete meal. Add a green salad to round out the repast. I am happy to share all of them with guests! Rebecca Crichton is executive director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that topic in the Seattle area.

Aging with Confidence

Buttermilk Pie Ingredients • 2 eggs • 2 tbsp. flour • 1 cup sugar • 1 stick butter, melted • 1 cup buttermilk • 1 tbsp. Vanilla • Single 8-inch pie crust (a good quality frozen kind works just fine.) Directions • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. • Mix eggs, flour and sugar together, add vanilla, melted butter, and buttermilk and blend well. • Pour into uncooked pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until custard sets and knife comes out clean (the top should be nicely browned). Cool. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or some berries or peaches on the side.

Easy Sweet and Sour Sauce for Avocados Most people have all these ingredients in their pantries. • Cut 1 or 2 avocados in half, in slices or in chunksl Sauce Equal proportions (generally 1 tablespoon each) of: • Worcestershire sauce • Sugar • White or cider vinegar • Butter • Ketchup Heat in saucepan and serve in avocado halves or over avocado chunks or slices. This also makes a terrific warm dressing for spinach salads.

Rebecca’s Tarragon and Garlic Chicken

Ingredients • 4 to 6 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on • 1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly • 2 small packs of Trader Joe’s or other peeled garlic (20 cloves in total) • 6 waxy potatoes, cut in quarters • 1 jar marinated artichokes with its oil or 1 can artichoke bottoms • 4 tbsp. olive oil • ½–¾ cup dry vermouth • Juice of 1 lemon • 2 tbsp. freshly chopped Tarragon plus three whole sprigs Directions • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. • Cover the bottom of a heavy 6-quart casserole with the fennel, potatoes, tarragon, and artichoke hearts. • Rub the chicken with salt and olive oil. • Place on top of vegetables, skin side up. • Pour the vermouth over the chicken and sprinkle with pepper. • Tuck the garlic around and between the chicken pieces. • Cover the top of the casserole tightly with aluminum foil and fit the lid over the foil to create an airtight seal. • Bake for 1 hour without removing the cover. Check for doneness. • Uncover chicken and allow to brown for 10 minutes. • Serve the chicken with the pan juices, vegetables, and garlic. • Serve with warm garlic bread. spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


love of dance Pacific Northwest Ballet’s artistic director, Peter Boal: From dancer to mentor. BY MISHA BERSON

For many who choose to retire from a job, the retirement age is 65 or older. For Peter Boal, it was 40. Until he neared that number the lithe, fairhaired Boal was considered one of the finest solo ballet dancers of his generation. A native of Bedford, NY, he fell in love with dance and began training at age nine. And for 22 years he was a principal dancer with the prestigious New York City Ballet and a great favorite—praised by exacting dance critics, lauded by his peers, beloved by audiences, in a wide variety of roles. Describing his performance in the Apollo ballet, The New York Times critic Jennifer Dunning wrote, “[Boal’s] transcendent interpretation…was once again poignant for its purity of line, its veracity and its wisdom.” But just like many professional athletes who give their all on the field, Boal anticipated and accepted an inevitable fact in a classical ballet dancer’s life. Due to the rigorous physical demands of his art, it would be time to move on and exit the stage while he was still a relatively young man.

Peter Boal, artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, sitting in on a company rehearsal. Photo © Angela Sterling.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022


Gladly, for Seattle ballet fans, Boal moved on to Seattle. Still boyish-looking and agile, yet with the commanding air of someone fully engaged and committed to his second career, the now 57-year-old Boal is celebrating his 17th year as the artistic head of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. And his unflagging passion for and knowledge of the artform has helped make PNB one of the most admired, forward-thinking ballet companies in the country. “I was one of those dancers who never had any ambition of becoming an artistic director,” Boal said in an interview last December, after supervising a PNB performance of The Nutcracker at Seattle’s McCaw Hall. “I had my own dance group, Peter Boal and Company, for a while. But when this opportunity in Seattle came up I thought, ‘Why not apply?’” He admitted that he “didn’t know much about PNB, to be honest. I knew I’d be a bit of an unknown, and I was a little uncertain of myself.” He also was following in the footsteps of two local arts heroes: PNB’s longtime founding artistic directors Kent Stowell, a noted choreographer, and Francia Russell, a former New York City Ballet dancer and ballet master who was an expert in restaging the acclaimed works of NYCB’s illustrious leader, the late George Balanchine. During the couple’s nearly 30 years at the helm they developed PNB into an internationally respected dance organization and academy, and a prime Seattle cultural resource. Though initially anxious about applying to succeed them, Boal “got nice encouragement from Kent and Francia, and that made me feel better about it.” It likely helped that Boal was trained in the Balanchine tradition himself, in a balletic technique he explained that accentuates “a level of speed, risktaking, willing to go off balance, and a Aging with Confidence

clear approach to music.” Moving to the Northwest with his wife Kelly Cass, a former NYCB dancer, and their three children was an adventure for the whole family. “We were explaining to our 4-yearold about going to Seattle, that we’d get on an airplane, and land in our new home,” he recalled. “But we went for a little beach vacation in St. Bart’s first. When we got there she said, ‘This is our new home? This is wonderful!’” Her parents had to inform her that, no, they were not moving to a Caribbean Island paradise. But the family adapted to Seattle, and from

In 2009, PNB received a “genius” award from The Stranger weekly newspaper, which commended Boal’s openness to the new artistic trends. Under his guidance the company has commissioned and performed a host of new pieces by an international roster of leading contemporary choreographers of color and women. Among them are Donald Byrd, Ulysses Dove, Victor Quijada, Robyn Mineko Williams, and Susan Stroman. In all, PNB has premiered an impressive 125 new works during Boal’s tenure, allowing Seattle audiences to see cutting-edge new ballets first. (CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE)

Pacific Northwest Ballet company dancers in Crystal Pite’s Emergence. Photo © Angela Sterling

the start of his tenure here Boal was welcomed as a fresh new arts leader who both honored PNB’s past achievements, and refreshed the repertoire with contemporary works. While continuing to present popular, well-known ballets, Boal (who is not himself a choreographer) has expanded the company’s palette with less familiar works by dynamic modern dancemakers. The organization’s 2021-22 season reflects this. In April, PNB will present Kent Stowell’s version of the classic Swan Lake, followed in June by a program composed of several pieces by the major modern choreographer Twyla Tharp.

Former New York City Ballet principal dancer Peter Boal in Apollo, choreographed by George Balanchine. Photo © Paul Kolnik, NYCB

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


Boal leading company class. Photo © Lindsay Thomas




songs for a new world JANUARY 12–MARCH 13, 2022 “A musical for our moment.” —The Arts Fuse

the book club play MARCH 2–MAY 1, 2022 “[An] uproarious social comedy.” —ChicagoCritic.com

you're a good man charlie brown APRIL 20–JUNE 19, 2022 “Freshly delightful. A continuous pleasure.” —The New York Times

mamma mia! JUNE 8–AUGUST 7,2022 “ABBA-solutely fabulous.” —Daily Mail

VillageTheatre.org Box Office (425) 392-2202


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

While continuing to present popular, wellknown ballets, Boal has expanded the company’s palette with less familiar works by dynamic modern dancemakers. The artistic shift has affected both PNB artists and subscribers. “Dancers were really excited to work with choreographers from all over the world,” Boal said. As for the audience, “Some said ‘This isn’t for me.’ But others said ‘PNB wasn’t for me before, but now it is.’” Though cancelling many live performances due to the pandemic has diminished the company’s box office revenue over the past two years, Boal responded quickly and constructively to the epidemic by offering highquality online streaming of earlier performances. The response was heartening, he said: “It felt like the public was there for us. We had a full digital season, and it was a lifeline.” Another aspect of Boal’s job that is clearly dear to his heart is the company’s ballet school. Excellent, long-term training is essential to preparing the next generations of dancers, as he knows from his own

experience at New York’s School of American Ballet, founded by Balanchine. “I teach at the school four times a week, and I hit the road and do the national auditions with the top 50 students. I also hire almost exclusively from that group for our main company.” The younger students can start movement classes as early as age two, with an adult or guardian accompanying them. “I started at nine,” Boal recalled, with a laugh, “which was practically middle-aged for a beginning ballet dancer.” Boal has described his own life as a dancer in very personal memoir, Illusions of Camelot, which will be released (by Beaufort Books) this summer. And when you ask about his second career, in his adopted city of Seattle, and plans for the future, Boal answers without hesitation. “PNB is about the celebrate its 50th season, which is wonderful. And I love it here. This is the only place I’m ever going to be an artistic director. It feels right.” Misha Berson writes about the arts for crosscut.com and many other media outlets, teaches for the UW Osher program, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/ Hal Leonard).



Eating with others can help us slow down, to tackle, a trip you want to take, what you’re enjoy our meals more, and possibly even grateful for, or your thoughts on the day, lose weight. But, if you live by yourself like using mealtimes to write and reflect is a nice I do, a table filled with family and friends change of pace that can help you enjoy both is more often the stuff of TV than daily activities more. life. Solo dining has become even more Eat in courses: When I get in the oneprevalent during the pandemic. pot-meal doldrums, I’ll switch it up with the How do we master the art of a table for French habit of eating in courses. Having a one? simple entree, followed by a salad, and then A few years ago, I tried getting in the spirit a decadent piece of cheese and some fruit of what I’d read was a “proper” way to eat naturally slows the pace and makes me more alone, without distractions. I set a beautiful aware of the taste of each dish. table, lit candles, and used my best dishes. Alone, together: Before I moved near The table looked Pinterest worthy but family, my sister and I started doing “sister when I sat down to eat I felt … silly, like I was supper.” Each week, one of us would choose wearing someone else’s clothes. a recipe and on sister supper day, we would Instead of abandoning the idea of FaceTime during the meal, always showing BY JULIE THOMPSON an enjoyable solo meal altogether, I’ve each other how our version had turned out. found some new ways to slow it down and Even with a two-hour time difference it was a appreciate this daily ritual. fun way to share a meal, catch up with each other, and expand Go outside: Take your meal to the porch, patio, backyard, our culinary skills. or terrace, and linger long enough to enjoy the change of Living alone gives us the advantage of only having to scenery. Last summer, I was having breakfast on my covered please ourselves with what, when, and how we eat. The patio when a sudden downpour fell from the sky. It was other side of the coin is that eating alone can become boring glorious and I felt as though Mother Nature was putting on and even depressing. If you’re in a solo dining rut like I was, a show just for me. I encourage you to find some new mealtime rituals that leave Read: I love reading while I eat, especially inspirational you feeling not just full, but truly nourished. books, poetry, and anything else that benefits from Julie Thompson recently retired from corporate copywriting in San contemplation. Give each activity its time and space by Francisco and moved to Southern Oklahoma to be near family, pursue putting the book down while you eat so that you don’t end freelance writing, and enjoy life without a commute. She writes about this new chapter on her blog, Born a Homebody, and is the co-author of up eating mindlessly as you read. The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture: Creating an Edible Write: Whether you jot notes about a project you want Ecosystem, with Christopher Shein.

Ways to Enjoy Eating Solo at Home

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


BOOKS Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone BY DIANA GABALDON REVIEWED BY VICTORIA STARR MARSHALL Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone is the ninth book in the mega-hit Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. The first book, published in 1991, launched an epic 30-year journey for writer and reader, alike, as we follow the adventures and passionate romance of Claire Beauchamp Randall and James (Jamie) Fraser. Full disclosure: I have read every book in the Outlander series and loved each one. So, this is not an unbiased review. There was a tortuous seven-year publishing gap between Gabaldon’s eighth book and Bees. I, like many, couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, preordering it on Amazon to automatically download to my Kindle on its release date last November. If you are unfamiliar with the series, the first book begins in 1945 when Claire, a WWII field nurse, touches a druid stone in Scotland and tumbles back in time to 1743, where she encounters, falls deeply in love with, and later marries the saucy and sexy Scottish Highlander Jamie. In historical novel meets sci-fi—with a lot of racy romance and a little spirituality woven in—Gabaldon’s books have been meticulously researched for historical accuracy down to the smallest detail. The series provides a wonderful account of 18th century politics and customs, but we also get a real feel for life during that time: The crudeness of available medical care, the social stratification, the intolerance and brutality. Yet, through it all, passionate love and devotion prevails. In Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone it’s now 1779, the American Revolutionary War is in full swing, and Claire and Jamie are aging. But the erstwhile young lovers, now 64 and 59, are as sexy as ever, albeit with some aches and pains and hot flashes. Gabaldon is 69 herself—aging along with her characters—and is not afraid to slay romance novel stereotypes. When asked in an interview with Rebekah Denn of the Seattle Times why it’s rare for romance writers to age their characters, Gabaldon replied, “That probably ties into a misassumption that older people are not interesting.” (Or sexy.) Claire, who has been referred to as Madonna, White Witch, and Sorcha (Gaelic for “bright light”) and many other colorful names, is now often simply called granny. Her hair is starting to go white and is told that when her hair is completely white she will come into her full power. White hair equals full power. Yes! If you haven’t yet read the series, there’s no better time to start. And for those of you who have, Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone will not disappoint.


(Puzzles on page 64)


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022

Backwords 1. Flow/Wolf 2. Maps/Spam 3. Buns/Snub 4. Straw/Warts 5. Drawer/Reward 6. Diaper/Repaid 7. Desserts/Stressed 8. Deliver/Reviled

What Do They Have in Common? 1. They are all types of drums. 2. They are all types of bread. 3. They are all brands of soap. 4. They are all shades of blue. 5. They are all breeds of horses. 6. They are all breeds of cats. 7. They are all famous horses. 8. They are all types of knots. 9. They are all types of jumps in figure skating. 10. They are all islands in the Caribbean.

“M” on the map 1. Melbourne 2. Moscow 3. Milan 4. Machu Picchu 5. Montreal 6. Mediterranean Sea 7. Madagascar


Aging with Confidence

spring 2022

| 3rd Act magazine


GAMES for your brain Exercise your brain and have some fun with these puzzles designed to stimulate different cognitive functions.

Backwords (easy) All the answers in this game are semordnilaps—words that spell a different word forward and backward, such as faced and decaf. 1. Forward it describes the movement of water like a river; backward it’s the largest member of the dog family._________________________________________________________________________ 2. Forward they’re cartographical charts; backward it’s unwanted e-mail._______________________________________________________ 3. Forward it’s a slightly naughty term for buttocks; backward it means to rebuff or ignore another person.______________________________________________________________________ 4. Forward it’s the dried grass used in primitive roofs or for animal feed; backward it means small benign growths on the skin caused by a virus._______________________________________________________ 5. Forward it’s the main feature of a bureau; backward it’s a sum of money offered for information that helps solve a crime._______________________________________________ 6. Forward it’s the absorbent sheet a baby wears; backward it means to have settled a loan.______________________________________ 7. Forward it’s the collective term for cakes, pies, and ice cream; backward it’s how you feel if you’re in a state of mental or emotional strain or tension.________________________________________ 8. Forward it means to bring a letter or package to the proper recipient; backward it means hated or despised.______________________________________________________________________________________

What Do They Have in Common? (harder) Each question contains a list of several items. Can you figure out what they have in common? 1. Snare, bass, conga, and tom-tom________________________

6. Abyssinian, Siamese, and Burmese______________________

2. Naan, brioche, and challah_______________________________

7. Champion, Silver, and Trigger____________________________

3. Cyan, ultramarine, and periwinkle________________________

8. Hitch, slip, and figure eight______________________________

4. Lux, lava, and zest______________________________________

9. Toe loop, double axel, and triple lutz_____________________

5. Morgan, Arabian, Pinto, and Appaloosa___________________

10. Anguilla, St. Martin, Grand Cayman, and Aruba ___________

“M” on the map (hardest) All the answers in this quiz are places that begin with the letter M. 1. This is the second largest city in Australia.__________________________________________________________________________________ 2. This city is spelled Mockba in Cyrillic, the written language of its country._____________________________________________________ 3. This Italian city is the headquarters for Gucci, Armani, and Versace, and is a world fashion and design capital.___________________________________________________________________________________ 4. This “Lost City of the Incas” is located 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru._____________________________________________________ 5. This North American city takes its name from Mount Royal, the three-peaked hill from which it takes its name.__________________________________________________________________________ 6. The name of this body of water comes from the Latin meaning “in the middle of the earth.” Today, 21 countries border it.______________________________________________________________________________________________ 7. This country, located off the southeast coast of Africa, is the fourth largest island in the world, and is known for its unique plant and animal life.____________________________________________________________________________ Reprinted with permission from Nancy Linde, author of the best-selling book 399 Puzzles, Games, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Brain Young; and On-the-Go Games and Puzzles to Keep Your Brain Young. She is also the creator of the website Never2Old4Games.com, which is used by many senior-serving organizations in the U.S. and Canada.


3rd Act magazine | spring 2022



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