3rd Act Magazine - Winter 2019

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Happiness Why We Get Happier with Age

Modern Matchmaking It’s Never Too Late to Date


Parting with a Home You Love

HOUSE SHARING An Option Worth Considering

Art Without Borders

The Sublime Work of Seattle Artist Alfredo Arreguin

NEW LEASHES ON LIFE Loving Homes for Senior Dogs

TRAVEL Stretch Your Comfort Zone

It’s your thing! Do what you want to do!


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Proudly managed by Integral Senior Living, Seattle communities offer ISL’s signatureprograms, programs, Proudly managed by Integral Senior Living, ourour Seattle communities offer ISL’s signature ® ® activities, Elevate culinary experiences and Generations memorycare careprograms, programs,each each including Vibrant Life ® ® including Vibrant Lifeare activities, memory No matter where you in life’s Elevate journey,culinary home experiences is meant toand be aGenerations place of comfort, enjoyment and a familiar, helping to promote an adventurous lifestyle meaningful experiences our communities. helping to promote an adventurous lifestyle andand meaningful experiences at at our communities.

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MESSAGE from the publisher

Bitter to Sweet I just devoured three squares of dark chocolate—happiness in a wrapper—that traveled home with me from our recent trip to Ecuador. Who knew that Ecuadorian chocolate was so good, or that my mood can be so easily elevated on this dark and rainy Northwest day by a small treat and a warm cup of tea? Have you ever seen a cacao tree? We saw them in South America and they look absolutely preh istor ic . Hu ge, football-shaped seed pods grow from their trunks. The bitter-tasting seeds, which look a lot like coffee beans, are fermented then toasted to mellow and sweeten them. Grind with sugar, and you have a little bit of chocolate heaven—from bitter to sweet. Live long enough and life is sure to deal you plenty of bitter. Even so, the older we get, the happier we tend to feel. It’s a deep contentment because having tasted the bitter, we know how to savor the

sweet. For her story “Climbing Higher on the Happiness Curve,” (page 32) Julie Fanselow interviews Jonathan Rauch, author of The Happiness Curve. Rauch says, “The passage of time, by itself, affects how satisfied and grateful we feel—or, more precisely, how easy it is to feel satisfied and grateful.” Internationally renowned artist Alfredo Arreguin has known bitter. He’s witnessed the destruction of beloved rainforests in Mexico; he endured harsh discipline and abusive racism in the U.S. Army; he struggled for years as an artist. Yet at 83, he spends every day painting—infusing his art with joy and gratitude. “I want to inject those good feeling into the paintings,” he says. In this issue we banish the stereotype of the old curmudgeon. We dance with our neighbors, explore spirituality, celebrate our longevity, discover our creativity, and revel in the happiness and contentment that is ours for the taking. In her column, Jennifer James also reminds us that at this stage of our lives we no longer have to do, do, do; that we can experience great pleasure in simply doing nothing. With age we become fermented and toasted—our bitter mellowed and sweetened. We can be contented and happy. And that is good.

“It’s a deep contentment because having tasted the bitter, we know how to savor the sweet.”

OU R VI SI ON 3rd Act Magazine endeavors to inform, inspire, and entertain older adults. Our stories and articles challenge worn-out perceptions of aging and offer a dynamic new vision: Aging is good, let’s celebrate and embrace this stage of life, and let’s age together with confidence. PU B LI SH E RS Victoria Starr Marshall David Marshall EDITOR Victoria Starr Marshall COPY EDITOR Julie Fanselow ART DIRECTOR Philip Krayna WEBSITE Philip Krayna, Gayle Fox ADVERTISING Victoria Starr Marshall, Carolyn Hultz DISTRIBUTION & CIRCULATION David Marshall COVE R PH OTOG R APHY Teri Thomson Randall WRITE TO US 3rd Act Magazine wants to hear from you! Email your comments, ideas, and questions to info@3rdActMag.com or mail to 81 Canal Lane, 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 of 3rd Act Magazine. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without prior consent of the publisher. It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice, or other content contained herein. Oshi Publishing, LLC makes no representation and, to the fullest extent allowed by law, disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied. The content published herein may include inaccuracies or typographical errors. Copyright 2019 Oshi Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. Oshi Publishing, LLC, 81 Canal Lane Brinnon, WA 98320 · 360-796-4837 Email: info@3rdActMag.com For subscriptions and additional information, see us online at www.3rdActMag.com.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019


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The happiness curve (or why we feel more satisfied later in life). JULIE FANSELOW



The sublime work of an artistic visionary. ROBIN LINDLEY



It’s never too late to date. Tips on how to meet people. PRISCILLA CHARLIE HINCKLEY


It might be just the solution you’re looking for. JUDY RUCKSTUHL WRIGHT




How to part with the home you love. LINDA HENRY


Blissfully content with time to do nothing. JENNIFER JAMES


Collect many gifts by living life with playful awareness. CONNIE MCDOUGALL


16 KNEE TOO! Be an advocate for bullied knees. JANET ELLE RAYOR



Want to help abolish ageism? Here’s a resource to get you started. RYAN BACKER AND KYRIÉ CARPENTER


ROCK N’ ROLL Why our

generation will live (almost) forever. BONNIE MCCUNE


Shark attacks, selfies, and a little curious ironizing. ANNIE CULVER

Aging with Confidence

winter 2019

| 3rd Act magazine




28 LIFESTYLE WELLNESS 14 MONEY The importance of financial 20 H EALTHCARE DECISION planning for a happy retirement. DON McDONALD


HAPPINESS Being present

in nature reduces stress and increases life’s joy. DEBORAH STRAW

30 NEW LEASHES ON LIFE Choose to adopt or foster an older dog. SALLY FOX

AHEAD? Free Medicare resources

to help you make the best choices. JIM MCELHATTON

22 LIFE CAN GET BETTER WITH AGE Your perspective directly

influences your experience of aging. DR. ERIC B. LARSON


SPIRITUALITY What is spirituality and how can it enhance our lives?



What we can learn from the Danish way of cozy living. CATHY KUNTZ


Our first 3rd Act Adventure trip. VICTORIA MARSHALL


Get ready to rethink what a 69-year-old woman can do. ELLEN KAHAN



HEALTH Learn how setting goals

contributes to well-being. MICHAEL PATTERSON


Gyrate, jiggle, and giggle at a World Dance Party. DORI GILLIAM


Souper Time—warming, easy meals for a cold winter’s day. REBECCA CRICHTON


The new Fogue Gallery showcases work of artists over 50. MISHA BERSON


Old in Art School By Nell Painter Reviewed by Robin Lindley

Happiness Why We Get Happier with Age


Modern Matchmaking It’s Never Too Late to Date


Parting with a Home You Love

HOUSE SHARING An Option Worth Considering


Art Without Borders

The Sublime Work of Seattle Artist Alfredo Arreguin

NEW LEASHES ON LIFE Loving Homes for Senior Dogs

TRAVEL Stretch Your Comfort Zone

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.

Cover: At 83, internationally acclaimed artist Alfredo Arreguin works with seemingly boundless energy at his home studio in Seattle. Photo by Teri Thomson Randall

Friends and Family I am a new subscriber and really enjoy your magazine. The article “Time to Take Charge” (Fall 2018) was especially interesting and helpful. I want you to know about a new resource for families of those with dementia. When the Carnation Adult Day Health program had to close, social worker Karen Koenig started Old Friends Club, with the group meeting at a local church. That one center has grown to three more on the Eastside (Redmond/Kirkland, Sammamish, and Bellevue) with another in the planning stages. Please check out their website at Oldfriendsclub.org. I hope you’ll find a chance to highlight their work in a future issue. —Judy West, Carnation

Explore all the Options In 2011 at age 60, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but I was fortunate to have an experienced urologist who presented the wide range of treatment options. My diagnosis was quite similar to George Santino’s (Prostate Cancer— Primed for a Fight, Fall 2018,) but surgery was a radical option which I skipped. What I did select was brachytherapy (internal radiation), followed by five weeks of external beam radiation. This is a treatment regimen pioneered in Denmark and then in Seattle in the 1980s. Now, nearly six years post-procedure, I remain cancer free. If you’re going to present a piece on prostate cancer, it is wrong not to present all of the options. — Martin Oppenheimer, Seattle

talk to us!

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Leaving the Nest Sorrowful or Sweet, How to Part with your Home BY LINDA HENRY

I CONFESS: I AM A NESTER, deeply attached to my home and surrounded by my things. Most of us will find it necessary to move from our nests. How we manage such change is important in our ability to move on. Frequent movers understand that they can’t keep too many things. But individuals who have lived in one place for decades may find the prospect of moving daunting. And yet, making such a transition is possible. Here are ways to help you let go: Linda Henry writes regularly on topics related to aging, health care, and communication and is the co-author 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.


Acknowledge your angst and grief It is not wrong to feel overwhelmed, sad, or even angry. Talk with friends or a professional, but don’t let the thought of letting go incapacitate you. Following the loss of her husband, one woman decided to downsize and move to a retirement community. She then agonized over her decision, overwhelmed by the contemplation of packing, the move itself, and the unanticipated grief she felt from leaving the place and things she loved. Assign an emotional quotient to your stuff Although square footage and location may dictate what can share your new space, the emotional factor may well be the most significant. Decide what is meaningful and why. Perhaps the items

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

you are attached to are gifts from family or special people in your life. What can you absolutely not discard? Some people find that photographing and recording the stories of a room, curio cabinet, or even the entire house is a good way to capture important memories to be recalled later with fondness. When I remarried, I found that leaving some of my “can’t-part-with” things and photos packed in boxes where I could “visit” them to be a happy compromise—and my new husband appreciated this, too. Create your own rituals Perhaps you can gain comfort from touring your home room by room, thanking each space for the memories made there. After moving, Jay discovered a box that had been packed away in his former garage for years. When he opened it, he discovered the sympathy cards he had received following his mother’s death years earlier. He created a little ritual to help him finally discard them. After rereading every card, visualizing the person who had sent it and thanking them, he found that he could let them go. (You might try this before your move.) Gift with joy One woman who loved hosting large family gatherings and parties discovered a huge, forgotten roaster. Knowing that she no longer intended to cook for large groups, she decided to gift all of her large cooking utensils to organizations that could better utilize them. Embrace your new nest with gratitude, thanking it for the memories yet to come. For some, a house blessing shared with friends will set the stage for a new future. Do I want to leave my nest again? Absolutely not. But if I want or need to, I know that I can.

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Time to Do Nothing BY JENNIFER JAMES

Jennifer James has a doctorate in cultural anthropology and a master’s in history and psychology. She was a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington Medical School. Jennifer is the founding mother of the Committee for Children, an international organization devoted to the prevention of child abuse worldwide.


ONE OF MY RETIRED FRIENDS loves to sit and look out his west-facing windows from the once-rural house where his wife grew up. The view includes Puget Sound and his wife’s garden and a grove of 300-year-old western red cedars. Sometimes hours pass before he moves. Maybe this peaceful habit is a form of meditation. They are avid hikers, so I think he is also enjoying his love of nature. Once a high-powered corporate director of strategic education, HP (as we call him) decided to retire early when my husband—his friend—died at 56 from brain cancer. When he announced his decision, HP was offered consulting work but decided it wasn’t for him. Hardly the Zen type, HP had been a college football player and has two bad shoulders to prove it. He survived Vietnam and he feels a deep gratitude for whatever time remains. When we first talked about his days, I was starting to think about retirement but with no thoughts of sitting around, with or without a scenic window. When you spend your life moving fast, believing it is somehow essential to your survival—working, parenting, socializing, volunteering, maintaining a home, car, whatever—it can be hard to slow down. Many of us are driven by the great motivator: anxiety. It doesn’t matter what makes us anxious. Childhood, love, money, identity—it is a powerful force. I once wondered, at what age and level of security does anxiety fade? Experience makes us more confident that we know what to do to solve problems, what needs to be done and what does not. Priorities become clear, love and friendships stabilize, we know who we are and who we don’t want to be. After witnessing the death of people close to us, we make peace with mortality.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

We stop wanting more. I’ve been lucky. My work allowed me to see enough of the world and try as many adventures as I cared to. Now I want to stay home. I had spent a lifetime trying to understand how cultural beliefs and psychological experiences alter perception—and those questions once drove me, even after retirement at 70, to continue long hours of working. I started two books, did years of research, my library ankle-deep in books, articles, notes, and manuscripts. Yet, when I was more or less finished with a book, I found I had little desire to publish it. Too much effort.

I thought it was a lack of confidence and, in part, it was. I began to feel I was lazy, confused, dogged by my old hardworking habits and the flashing sign, “Were you productive today?” My natural intensity turned against me. I became depressed. I forgot the usual stages of any major life transition: seeing the window of opportunity, gathering information, wavering, making your move, feeling scared, completing the move, and then feeling relief as you see what is ahead. Think of it as passing a car on a two-lane road with only so much vision of what is in the passing lane. www.3rdActMag.com

You find yourself gripping the wheel. It took two years to realize I had answered enough of my own questions to let this particular writing passion pass. It was harder for me to let go of the demon of productivity than to accept my mortality. Coffee in bed, looking out the window, sauntering instead of fast walking went against every fiber of my being. Until it didn’t. Slowly, I calmed down. Health played a part, but the acceptance of new pleasures was paramount. What do you gain by slowing down to the point of savoring a day? What happens when you never rush anywhere? It becomes OK to take naps, wear pajamas for quiet mornings, cuddle dogs, hang out with friends for movie night, watch silly and sweet things online. Yes, it’s a shift in identity. I had to coach my friends to stop asking about my writing. I recently found a fitting quote from writer Deborah Eisenberg in The New York Times Magazine:

“People always talk about how horrible old age is, but I couldn’t disagree more. I find age is as intense as adolescence. You know you could hurtle off a cliff at any second. You feel I’ve survived this ordeal, and now I don’t have to worry. I know how my life has worked out. All the anxiety that I put into the hard questions has fallen away. I can take my satisfactions where they are. I can enjoy my supper.” I know enough about how my life—with its many twists, turns, ups, and downs—has worked out. I am content. A few weeks ago I was at a party with HP. He gave me his usual big hug. He knew I, too, had learned to put the battles behind me and look out the window. He was dressed as a cowboy, I as a monarch butterfly. I won the best socks competition. He awarded me the prize, a six-pack of beer with almost pornographic labels, he had gotten from Scott (who had come dressed as Brett Kavanaugh). I gave a can to whoever would take one, and I laughed all the way home.

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Aging with Confidence

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hen a milestone birthday rolls around—30, 60, or there’s room for playful awareness. “These ideas used to pass in beyond—people often feel the hot breath of mortality front of me,” she says. “I’d see something and think, ’I should on their neck. It’s at times like these when many of us run off do that.’ But then I wouldn’t. Now I think I’m capturing these on some big adventure: a bucket-list trip. fleeting thoughts that usually just fly past.” Not so Edmonds resident Nicole Faghin. The neat thing about her experiment is it can inspire In the summer of 2017, about a year before her 60th birthday, anyone, of any age. “I talked to a young woman who’s 30 Faghin decided to turn the bucket upside down. and she told me she’s going to do this when she turns 35,” Faghin “I made it a challenge. For a whole year, I would do all the says. little things I’ve always wanted to try but never have,” she says. It’s affordable, too. Many things on her list were free—for Faghin put a notebook next to her bed, example, a concert by the Compline Choir wrote down to-do’s as they occurred at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Seattle. “What an to her, then organized the ideas into experience that was,” she recalls. categories. Her year of many small things taught By the time her 60th birthday rolled Faghin a lot about herself. Her advice to around last June 6, she had crossed off those who may want to adopt a similar more than 50 things from her mini-bucket challenge? “Notice the little things in list. She learned to play bridge, took a cake your life,” she suggests. “Maybe you decorating class, and backpacked alone. want to trim that rhododendron bush. She rowed in a dragon boat, watched all Take some time and do it. Maybe you BY CONNIE MCDOUGALL the Academy Award-nominated movies want to climb El Capitan. OK. That’s before the Oscars telecast, visited Seattle’s not me, but OK.” Kubota Garden, and played the viola. (She already plays violin, The trick is, pay attention when you find yourself thinking but viola is a different animal.) “I wonder what it would be like to,” or “I wish I could,” or Faghin notes that her effort wasn’t aimed at performing “I’ve always wanted to.” Then write down those ideas. spectacular stunts. “It’s not about pushing the limits of my Whether you act on them or not, you’ll capture your dreams strength,” she says. “It’s all about trying something new and from the ether and pin them to a page for consideration. moving outside my comfort zone.” (A running memo on your mobile phone’s notes app works well She believes that we all share that vague notion of “someday for bucket-list making, too.) I’d like to …” do a lot of things that we may never get around to “It really is the small things, and maybe that’s what this doing. We’re busy with our jobs and the rest of our lives “and whole thing has been about,” Faghin says. “It’s been so much then there’s procrastination. But there is time,” she adds. “It’s fun. What surprises me is when I tell people what I’m doing, a choice how to spend it.” their eyes light up. People hear about this and start their Faghin understands the too-busy argument. As an attorney own list. Not mine, but theirs. That makes me happy.” and consultant with the University of Washington’s Sea Grant Connie McDougall is a former news reporter and current freelance program, she offers technical expertise to individuals and writer. A lifelong student, she has pursued her own mini-bucket list with lessons in flying, scuba diving, tai chi, Spanish, meditation, hiking and, organizations in support of the state’s coastal and marine most recently, Zumba. A version of this article originally appeared on ecosystems. But even with plenty on her plate, she has found MyEdmonds News.com

What do you want to learn, see, or do? A mini-bucket list is your friend


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019



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Aging with Confidence


HEARTHSTONE.ORG | 3rd Act magazine 13

winter 2019


Is Your Financial Plan on Track for a Happy Retirement? BY DON MCDONALD

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


YOU CAN BE HAPPY with or without money. It is not an actual source of happiness, but it is a tool to make happiness a lot easier to find, particularly in retirement. If you are already in retirement, congratulations! If you’re still working toward it or know someone who should be thinking about their own future (like your kids or grandkids), let’s consider a sample retirement without adequate wealth. Imagine being 66 and are ready to retire. You have low savings and are one of the 69 percent of Americans without a pension. As an average wage earner, you are eligible to collect the 2018 average Social Security benefit of $1,413.37 per month. What kind of retirement will you enjoy? It won’t likely be one filled with joy as you’ll be wondering where your next meal will come from, since the average one-bedroom apartment rent in King County will eat up most of your Social Security check. On the other hand, having $250,000 saved provides the potential for an additional income of about $1,000 of extra income per month. While that still is not enough to live well in our expensive region, it can better sustain you. One of the most frequent questions I hear is “How much do I need to have saved and invested to enjoy a comfortable retirement?” In the Seattle area, that amount will be much higher than it would be in Spokane or in the U.S. Midwest. The answer requires asking you a question: How much income will you need every year to support your expected lifestyle?

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Answering that question requires a bit of work on your part. You need to create a retirement budget that includes housing expenses, utilities, food, medical costs, and the price of any pleasurable pursuits. Add to that an emergency cushion of about 10 percent and increase the total annually for inflation. Once you have that monthly number, visit SSA.gov for your expected monthly benefit and subtract that amount from the total. If you’re lucky enough to have a pension, subtract that next. The amount left is the income that your retirement savings will need to provide. How much income can you expect from your retirement portfolio? It depends on your tolerance for risk. However, one of the best benchmarks is the payout on immediate annuities (which require you to give up ownership of your principal in exchange for a guaranteed monthly income for the rest of your life). As of last year, the best income you can expect would be about $625 per month per $100,000 payment to the insurance company. If you want to maintain ownership of your principal, a reasonable rule has been 4 percent per year or about $330 per month on a $100,000 investment. Using the 4 percent figure, a $1 million portfolio plus the average Social Security benefit would provide a pretax income of about $4,750 per month. Definitely not enough for a lavish lifestyle, but probably adequate to sustain a comfortable way of life. Yet, only about 15 percent of all American retirees have $1 million or more saved for retirement. The median wealth of those in retirement is only $200,000. That’s barely enough to keep from going to bed hungry. Money may not always bring happiness, but it does have the power to reduce unhappiness. That is why it’s imperative that those nearing retirement reduce expenses and increase their investments. Meanwhile, those who still have time (like your progeny) must understand that their future will require money to be a happy one—and probably a lot more than they think. So the sooner they get started, the happier they are likely to be.




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Time to Join the


BIRDING SHOWCASE Saturday, January 26

9:30am–3:00pm: Vendors & Artists Maple Hall 4:00pm: Keynote Speaker Dr. Kaeli Swift $5 per person donation requested

For more information go to:



3rd Act magazine | winter 2019


elcome ladies, gents, and It’ll help us stand up, too! Rocking your joints. I’ve decided to start the torso back and forth to aid in standing Knee Too Movement. The Me really takes some weight off of the Too Movement has had some good knees. And putting your feet down results, so it seems a good choice for a solidly and pushing down supports beleaguered joint. Knees are harassed those victimized knees. Speaking all the time, but instead of calling out of support, those low abdominals need the lazy hips, ankles, and buttocks to stand behind the knees, too. They that aren't doing their jobs, knees are can't just flop around if there is truly called bad. “I have bad knees.” to be change! BY JANET “My knees are just bad.” “Bad Say, “Knee too!” to be a ELLE RAYOR knees, no donuts.” Yet knees part of this movement. Even are the ones getting hurt. if you aren't part of the official Butts are sitting it out, letting knees movement—and there are, literally, take the bad rap, denying any role in an entire handful of Knee Too-ers— this at all. you can still follow along with videos Unfair. A few butt squeezes can to support and strengthen your allow knees to get in line. In fact, a few knees to stand up and walk around. butt squeezes can allow knees to align If you have a computer, it can be in themselves with feet and hips. Let's the privacy of your home. You don't face it, a move toward an equalitarian have to tell anyone. Videos to support system throughout the body—tummy, your knees are at RougeMusic.com/ tush, knees, ankles, feet—works knee-too. better for everyone. Janet Elle Rayor, a former professional dancer, Momentum in the Knee Too teaches “Juicy Joint Aerobics” at Bitter Lake Community Center in Seattle. She no longer Movement may really allow knees to has knee problems and knows her knees are not feel freer to stand up for themselves. “bad!” www.3rdActMag.com

Don’t miss a single issue! (But you can still order back issues if you did.)

Time to Take Charge

What We Hold Dear

10 Wisdom for a Grandson

How Long Will You Work?

A City for Everyone

Seattle’s Quest to be Age-Friendly

Affirming Our Shared Common Values

A Dementia Diagnosis Sparks Action


Reimagining Home Vibrant Living Choices Abound

Small-Space Decorating

It’s on the Rise

TASTEFULLY YOURS Holiday Treats Made Easy

Art and Adventure A Recipe for Long Life fe

It’s Not Just About the Money

Raising Grandkids



FALL 2018

That Will Make Your Heart Sing

TRUSTWORTHY CHARITIES Tips on Making Smart Donations

PROSTATE CANCER Primed for a Fight



TRIPPING HAZARD A Bad Day for a Good Dog

MEDICINAL MUSICALS Your Brain on Show Tunes

GET HEALTHIER By Digging in the Dirt

PEOPLE-FRIENDLY HOMES For Every Age and Ability



in the Sun

Take Flight

Coming into Our Own

Everyday Heroes Are All Around Us

Bionic Bodies

Is it Time for a Few New Parts? FOR A HEALTHIER BRAIN Savor a Sunset


The Aging of

Aquarius Will Boomers Change Aging?

ROAD TRIP TIME Places to Go, Things to See

RETIRED! Now What?

FALL 2016




Meet Dee Dickinson

Your Way to


Better Health


Time, Talent, and Treasure

The Pleasure Bond Sex & Dating After 50 MICROBUS TO MOTOR COACH Living an RV Retirement

NEVER GIVE UP Alene Moris’ Lifelong Activism

COHOUSING The New Communal Living

The Girls in the Boat


Masters Rowing on Green Lake

Home for the Holidays

Tita Begashaw coaches the Tee Hee Hee Laughter Group at Harborview Medical Center.


MAMMA’S MANNA Old World love

CULTURAL CONVERGENCE The changing face of caregiving

OCEANS AND HUMANS The legacy of John Delaney

BRAIN FITNESS Take Your Brain for a Spin

SOME THINGS GET BETTER WITH AGE Winetasting in Woodinville

A CAREGIVER’S GIFT Letting Others Help

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winter 2019

| 3rd Act magazine 17


New website takes ageism to task By Ryan Backer and Kyrié Carpenter

“How old are you?” “Why do you ask?” “You seem so young. I can’t imagine why someone your age cares about all this?” Ryan Backer and Kyrié Carpenter (that’s us) have variations of this conversation all the time. We are two millennials passionate about dismantling ageism. Some people find this curious. For us, it came about naturally. We’re now working with activist Ashton Applewhite to help dismantle ageism via a new website called OldSchool.info. (More on that later.) But first, our stories … ryan: In my early 20s, I noticed I only had friends my own age. The age segregation I was experiencing felt troubling and unhealthy. After spending years studying gerontology—then interning, volunteering, and working in the field—it became clear ageism was to blame. I now have friends of all ages. I became an age activist because I believe undoing ageism strengthens all social justice movements, improving the lives of all human beings. kyrié: I woke up to ageism while studying psychology. My clinical training site was a memory care community. There was so much more to the elders I worked with than the stereotypes I held of people living with dementia. They were not shells of their former selves and there were no long goodbyes. Yet I witnessed people being stripped of their basic human rights including the right to work and purpose, the right to social protection, to an adequate standard of living, and to high standards of physical and mental well-being. Older people were denied privacy, freedom of movement, freedom of opinion and expression, participation in public affairs, freedom from discrimination, and more all because their mental and physical abilities had changed. Why does our culture devalue, segregate, and sometimes even imprison


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

From the left: Ryan Backer, Ashton Applewhite, Kyrié Carpenter

our elders? Because of ageism. Once aware of ageism, we saw it everywhere: “At least you’re not as old as you will be next year,” shouts a greeting card at the drugstore. “Eh, I can’t party like I used to—I’m such a grandma now,” quips a friend. Older people bear the brunt of ageism because our society is so youth-centric, but it affects people of every age. Women in their 30s freak out about being “over the hill,” and others remark, offhandedly, that they’d better hit their career goals before they become “40 and irrelevant.” Meanwhile, younger adults are often derogatorily called “kids.” Most of us have referred to ourselves or others as being “too old” or “too young” for something without realizing that this language is ageist. Try replacing “young” or “old” with a different identifier: Would we accept that we are too “female” for a job? Too “gay” to go to a concert? Too “black” to date someone? No way. It is time for age discrimination to stop being socially acceptable, too. A vibrant positive aging movement has emerged to combat the symptoms of ageism. Very few people, however, are speaking to the root causes of the problem: structural discrimination in the world around us, and internalized ageism between our ears. Despite all the resources that already exist, ageism is still alive and well in advertising, www.3rdActMag.com

pop culture, public policy, and even in industries created to serve older populations. Every one of us is complicit in the anti-aging myth of our culture when we call ourselves “too young” or “too old”; when we buy anything branded as anti-aging; when we share ageist posts on social media; and when we cover our gray hair. These are all examples of how we perpetuate the myth that if we continue to appear youthful, and stay physically fit and cognitively sharp, we can stop the aging process. Our passion is to expose all the ways ageism manifests and why it exists in the first place. In 2015, we each separately met Ashton Applewhite, a leading anti-ageism activist. Last year, Ashton brought us together to help create OldSchool. info, an online clearinghouse of vetted, collaborative, and free resources to dismantle ageism. The response has been amazing! The truth is, we only stop aging when we die. OldSchool. info is a place to raise consciousness and give each of us the tools to play our role, big or small, in reducing ageism. The website has over 100 vetted, free resources and we are adding more all the time as we hope to become a trusted proving ground for ideas and connections. OldSchool.info belongs to no one and is free for everyone. Join us!

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RESOURCES Here are some resources at OldSchool.info to help you get started: • Don’t think you’re ageist? Go to Harvard University’s “Project Implicit” Tool and look for the “Age IAT” under “Take a Test” to calculate your own level of implicit age bias. • Check out “Gero-what?!” (found under Blogs & Papers), a layman’s guide to gerontology which dispels ageist myths and celebrates aging at every stage. • Explore creative and inspiring videos, including Look us in the Eye: The Old Women’s Project about age and feminist activism.

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Aging with Confidence

winter 2019

| 3rd Act magazine 19

Healthcare Decision Ahead?

Advice from a Sleuth


s a private investigator and former newspaper reporter, I’ve spent years digging through spending reports, inspections, and other records involving nursing homes, hospitals, physicians, and other providers. The vast majority of the information I locate is the risk of infection. But if you’re not making much progress, easily accessible, and it’s not just for legal and healthcare and if you live alone, you might find the physical therapist professionals and journalists. It’s made public to help people recommending what the hospital staff calls a “rehab facility.” make more informed healthcare decisions, though many These facilities often provide important and necessary care don’t know this valuable data even exists let alone how easy to bridge the time between hospitalization and a return to it is to access. independent living. In some cases, though, a rehab BY JIM Lately, I’ve used the same resources I relied MCELHATTON facility is housed inside of a nursing home. If you on as an investigator after a family member on are heading to a rehab facility, it’s important to find Medicare underwent several major hospitalizations and out if it is located inside a nursing home and, if so, whether surgeries. With this experience in mind, here are three it is free of significant health and safety violations. For this resources you might find helpful if you (or a loved one) end information, go to the Medicare Nursing Compare website: up in a similar situation: medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/search.html.

Home Health Referrals Hospital discharge planning can be a messy, harried process. One minute, you’re not sure if you’re getting out. The next, the nurse is telling you to pack up and your case manager may tell you that the surgeon recommends a home health provider. If your physician or discharge planner is referring you to a specific home health provider, ask why. Before signing off on their recommendation ask for a complete list of available providers; they are required to provide you with one. Then grab your phone or tablet, open the browser, and go to the Medicare Home Health Compare website: medicare.gov/ homehealthcompare/search.html. Type in your city and state and click on the header option to sort by patient care and survey scores. The Medicare website yielded a total of 66 Washington state home care agencies in October 2018. Fewer than five providers in the entire state achieved the highest five-star rating in “quality of patient care.” More than half of the providers received only average or below average scores. Medicare might be footing the bill, but you’re empowered to make the best choice. We shop smart when buying cars or appliances or making other big purchases, so look for five-star ratings when it comes to your health, too. Rehab Facilities If you’re undergoing a major elective procedure such as a joint replacement, chances are your surgeon wants you at home as soon as possible. Prolonged hospital stays increase


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

In the state of Washington, the research is encouraging. Of a total 215 nursing homes listed in the federal database, 78 had a five-star rating, while nine received the lowest possible one-star rating. To learn more about each nursing home, follow the links to view the Medicare inspection reports. These documents can run many pages long, providing case-specific summaries of patients’ experiences, while redacting names or any other identification. A quick perusal of inspection reports for the lowest-performing nursing homes provides a truly disturbing portrait of places you’ll want to avoid.

In-Person Visits While there is a lot of helpful information online, do not rely on just the Medicare websites. Pay an unannounced visit. Sometimes a site check and a quick conversation with a friendly resident sitting outside near the front door can tell you more than hours of research. Also, conduct a simple Google search. Not long ago, I researched a nursing home in Virginia. Despite good ratings it had a homicide a few years ago. Sure, staffing and health inspection data certainly are important indicators, but it doesn’t take a private investigator to tell you homicide tends to be something of a red flag. The bottom line: No matter what healthcare choices you are facing, be your own investigator. Get documents. Ask questions. Take notes. And do your research. Because it’s your health. And you are the boss. A former newspaper reporter, Jim McElhatton is a private investigator in the Washington, D.C., area. He has extensive experience investigating healthcare spending. For more information, he can be reached at



With Broadened Perspectives, Life Can Get Better As We Age BY DR. ERIC B. LARSON

Dr. Eric B. Larson is vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington and author of Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for a Long, Active Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017).


LIKE MANY who came of age in the 1960s, I remember that old song by Pete Townshend and The Who, and I have to laugh. “Things they do look awful cold, hope I die before I get old,” he sang. Back then, I bought it. I thought aging would be a dismal pursuit. But now that I’m in my 70s, I know just the opposite is true. We generally get happier as we grow older. I’ve seen it in my own friends, patients, and research participants. Take my friend Marcus, for instance. Reminded that he’s 82, the retired university administrator seems bemused. “When I was young, I thought everybody this age would be decrepit,” he says. “But that just hasn’t happened to me—yet.” Sure, he’s had challenges: a heart problem, two aneurysms, a cancer scare. But with healthy habits, good genes, and some measure of luck, he’s shown resilience, recovering from setbacks in short order. And yes, he notices changes that come with age. His golf game is one example. “I’m not going to hit the ball 280 yards anymore, so I hit it 200,” he says. “I change the clubs I use. I focus on what’s possible. Adaptability—that’s the difference.” With this attitude, Marcus contradicts the myth that aging equals misery. In fact, surveys of happiness consistently show a “U-shaped”

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

pattern. Average happiness starts high at ages 18 to 21, declines in the next decades, and then begins to increase at about age 50. From then on, it keeps increasing into late life. True, some older people who experience chronic illness, death of loved ones, and other losses have increased depression. But aging also brings a broadened perspective—an attitude that naturally allows greater acceptance. It’s not that conditions get better as we age. It’s that we’re more realistic about life’s ups and downs. Hannes Schwandt proved this idea a few years ago. The economist surveyed 23,000 people about their current life satisfaction and expectations for five years into the future. Over several years, he learned about people’s aspirations and then observed how things turned out. He discovered that young adults had high hopes that were often unmet, leading to lower life satisfaction. But older people had just the opposite experience. By age 50, they had been disappointed so often that they lowered their expectations to align with their experience. While this may sound sad, the study reveals a wonderful silver lining: Life actually improved for many of the older folks over time. And when it did, they were more likely to be surprised and delighted with the result. “This combination of accepting life and feeling less regret about the past is what makes life satisfaction increase again,” Schwandt wrote in the Harvard Business Review. As older people let go of external expectations, we let go of striving. We choose activities based on what we want to do—not what we have to do. It’s not that older people don’t have goals. We do. But often our aspirations are more focused and more achievable, resulting in a greater sense of happiness. Comfortable in our own skin, we can relax, finally zeroing in on activities aligned with our truest values. www.3rdActMag.com

Brilliant Senior Living

Aging with Confidence

winter 2019

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Transformative Spirituality How our evolving beliefs and intuitions can guide us throughout life BY JOHN ROBINSON


hat is spirituality for? Is it about living in the moment, feeling one with God, asking profound questions, sensing the inner divine? Does it involve cultivating faith and love, discovering inner peace, serving others, following religious commandments, coping with pain and grief, seeking the meaning of life? Can it mean surrendering to the effortless flow, pursuing a just world for all, confirming the essential truths of religion, transcending the ego, receiving guidance from angels or spirit guides, or finding the sacred in everyday life? These are but a handful of the innumerable ways people describe the purpose of spirituality. How does all this fit together to answer to the question what is spirituality for? Let’s begin with some basic descriptions, definitions, and distinctions. In general, spirituality refers to the individual meaning we create about life from our religious education, everyday experiences, and moments of sacred connection. In other words, our spirituality represents the personal conclusions we’ve reached so far about the nature and purpose of existence, God, morality, and the universe. It’s not surprising that so many different definitions of spirituality exist—there are as many answers as people. This also helps explain how spirituality differs from religion. For example, a congregation of 300 members will have one formal religion but 300 unique spiritual interpretations of that religion. We find the truths closest to our own heart and life circumstances. Our spirituality often serves as a stepping-stone from formal religion—with its history, scriptures, theology, and practices—to the firsthand mystical experience of the divine where we encounter the revelations of religion for ourselves. Spirituality is also part of humankind’s universal religious


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

search. We sense a divine reality or principle within or behind the material world and endeavor to know its function in our lives. Countless mystics, famous and anonymous, have described profound experiences of the sacred validating this intuition and birthing the great religions of the world. We also tend to believe that the pain and confusion of life, and indeed all that befalls us, is somehow related to this divine order. That’s why, when we are in trouble, atheists and believers alike often instinctively cry out one of God’s many names. Finally, in the depths of the human personality lies the religious psyche, the numinous center of the personality that is itself divine and whispers its secrets in that “still small voice within.” With these general ideas in mind, let’s return to our original question: If there are so many different meanings to spirituality, what is it really for? Here as some ideas. See if they fit your experience. Spirituality is about… Searching for spiritual understanding Humans are natural armchair philosophers and theologians. Sooner or later, we ponder the ultimate questions of existence such as why am I here, what is the purpose of life, does God exist, what is the nature of sin, suffering and evil, how should we live our lives, can we know the divine directly, and what happens when we die? While religions address these questions, coming to terms with them for ourselves is central to our own spiritual growth and maturation. Deepening our connection with the divine Religion and spirituality provide ways of reaching out to the divine however we conceive it, including prayer, contemplation, meditation, ritual, fasting, and dance. Going deeply into spiritual practices can provide a real and felt connection to the divine, allowing us to experience religious www.3rdActMag.com

truths for ourselves and deepen our relationship with the sacred. Coping positively with stress, trauma, and loss Spiritual beliefs can be a positive source of support to help coping with life’s hardships. When terrible things happen, we ask profound and sincere questions about the significance of the event that go beyond physical facts to the level of transcendent meaning and causation. Why did God take my spouse? Why did this accident have to happen to me? Why is my friend suffering so much? Our spiritual beliefs, readings, and prayers can both stir answers and comfort us, helping us bear the unbearable, find new meaning from our struggle, and provide hope for the future. Promoting spiritual growth The spiritual journey moves through many stages over our lifetime. The young child’s natural intuitions of divinity— simple, imaginative, and unexamined—are eventually overwritten with more conceptual explanations from adults, first in the form of stories and then formal beliefs. As adolescents, we may question these stories and beliefs with logic and facts but eventually form our own unfinished theology as we move into life. As we age, a desire for deeper intuitive-experiential understanding of the divine often grows within, re-energizing the spiritual journey and helping us become more loving, accepting, humble, wise, and generous people. Discovering the new aging as a spiritual experience Our remarkable and unprecedented longevity is now initiating older adults into a new stage of spiritual life, potentially transforming self, consciousness, and our perception of reality. Pursuing the amazing possibilities of this new time, we discover opportunities for spiritual growth, Aging with Confidence

service, and sacred activism that can change the world. Older people are not problems; we are resources, wisdom keepers, family historians, holders of tradition, creative geniuses, and guides for the young. Recognizing what spirituality is not for Our understanding of spirituality would be incomplete without recognizing the cost of negative beliefs. Considerable psychological research now exists confirming the very real harm caused by beliefs that make us feel unworthy, ashamed, powerless, guilty, or afraid. We are not “sinners in the hands of an angry God” doomed to eternal damnation. Using religious and spiritual authority, beliefs, or quotations to manipulate, control, judge, or threaten others is never healthy or constructive. I want to conclude with some suggestions on creating positive spiritual beliefs. • Keep searching for what feels personally real and valid in your own spiritual journey. (It is your journey.) • Turn to spiritual intuitions in times of pain and struggle and let them teach you what you already know and believe. • Remember that spirituality often moves from beliefs to direct experience as we age, so pursue the journey into firsthand awareness of the divine. • Avoid beliefs or practitioners that cause you to feel fear, pain, helplessness, shame, or guilt. • Recognize that aging is a new spiritual stage that can transform your life if you let it. • Know that you are inherently beautiful, precious, and worthy. John C. Robinson is a clinical psychologist with a second doctorate in ministry, an ordained interfaith minister, the author of nine books and numerous articles on the psychology, spirituality, and mysticism of the New Aging, and a frequent speaker at Conscious Aging Conferences across the country. You can learn more about his work at www.johnrobinson.org.

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Set a Goal of Happiness for Your Longer Life BY MICHAEL C. PATTERSON


In Greek mythology, Eos, goddess of the dawn, fell in love with a mortal man, Tithonus. Eos begged Zeus to grant Tithonus eternal life, and Zeus did exactly what Eos asked. At first, Eos was joyful. She imagined an eternity of bliss with her youthful lover. But as time passed, she realized she had been foolish in her request. Tragically, Eos had failed to ask Zeus to grant Tithonus eternal health and vitality to go along with his immortality. Miraculous advances in medicine and public health have made it possible for us to live remarkably longer lives, but not necessarily healthier or happier ones. Over the past two decades, I have worked to understand this longevity conundrum—to identify the causes of premature aging and to figure out what we can do to slow, delay, or even prevent the process of cognitive decline. In 2009, I joined forces with Roger Anunsen to pursue these questions. Loss of brain function can be a devastating aspect of aging, so we were fascinated with how the brain works and why it begins to fail over time. Our interest in the brain coincided with an explosion of advancements in the fields of neuroscience, neurology, and cognition. The past decade has produced a wealth of valuable research clearly revealing the risk factors that contribute to cognitive decline and dementia.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Brain health is absolutely necessary, but not sufficient to achieve “Qualongevity,” the term Roger and I coined to capture the dual goals of longevity and quality of life. To fully enjoy longevity, we need a healthy brain and a creative mind that can cultivate happiness, meaning, and purpose. The new field of positive psychology has matured sufficiently to provide evidence-based guidance about the pursuit of happiness and quality of life. It turns out we need to learn how to be happy. Researchers think that 50 percent of our happiness is genetically determined, and 10 percent depends on current life circumstances. That means that 40 percent of our happiness depends on intentional activities, on the choices we make about how to live our lives. So what kind of intentional activities consistently contribute to happiness? Research by positive psychologists finds that happy people are grateful, forgiving, kind, optimistic, and resilient. The happiest people spend time with family and friends. And they set goals. Happy people are goal-oriented. They set both short and long-term goals and are committed to pursuing them. As Sonja Lyubomirsky, a leader in this field, frames it, “Find a happy person, and you will find a project.” Having goals contributes to subjective wellbeing in a number of ways: • Goals provide a sense of purpose and a feeling of control over your life. • Goals bolster your self-esteem and boost your confidence. • Goals add structure and meaning to your daily life. • Goals provides opportunities for ongoing


learning, personal development, and mastery. • Finally, goals bring you into contact with other people around shared values and objectives. Do you want to live longer and live well? Assuming your answer is “Yes,” then set yourself the dual goals of achieving longevity and quality of life, then work to achieve both. We call this the Quest for Qualongevity: the pursuit of long life, coupled with fulfilling quality of life. Here are some ways you can cultivate intentional activities that will boost your happiness. Prioritize positivity

Happier people have a positive rather than negative approach to life. Positive psychologist Barbara Fredrickson suggests that to feel happy, you need to experience three positive events for every negative event. • Pay attention to positives. What activities make you feel good? Which people make you feel positive? Can you identify environments that feel positive? • Make positivity a priority. Once you have identified what makes you feel good and positive, make sure your day is filled with positive activities, positive places, and positive people. Cultivate gratitude

Happy people are grateful for what they have and are comfortable expressing their gratitude to others. • Find opportunities to express gratitude about simple, everyday things. • Keep a gratitude journal, writing about aspects of your life that make you grateful. Practice forgiveness

Forgiving is something you do for yourself.

Aging with Confidence

Forgiveness is not reconciliation or a pardon for the wrong that was done. Forgiveness is a process of letting go of debilitating hurt, anger, and resentment and moving forward positively with your life. • Consider a time when you have been forgiven and consider how you and others benefited from that act of forgiveness. • Write, but don’t send, a letter of forgiveness to someone who you feel has hurt you or wronged you. Explain the nature of the injury or offense and how it affected you. Finish with an explicit statement of forgiveness. Learn to savor your life

Life is filled with sources of pleasure, joy, and awe, but too often we fail to notice them. People who are mindfully attentive to the here and now and are acutely aware of their surroundings are more likely to be happy, optimistic, and satisfied with their lives. • Practice mindfulness. • Slow down, put your cell phone away, and pay attention to what is going on. • Eat slowly and explore the flavors and textures of the food you eat. Practice kindness

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of others. Compassion is the desire to act to relieve the suffering of others. Research shows that acts of kindness are good for the recipient and good for the doer. Being generous and willing to share makes people happy. • Sonja Lyubomirsky recommends picking one day of the week during which you resolve to perform one large act of kindness or three to five smaller acts of kindness. • Explore different ways of being kind to others.

winter 2019

Michael C. Patterson, founder and CEO of MINDRAMP Consulting, writes extensively on the art and science of brain health and mental flourishing. He is an educator and consultant who previously managed AARP’s Staying Sharp brain health program and helped develop the field of creative aging.

| 3rd Act magazine 27

Natural Acts of



My definition of happiness changes as I age. I don’t expect to feel happiness all the time, but in fleeting, exhilarating moments. I welcome its arrival. As writer May Sarton once said, as you age, it’s the transient that moves you. Seeing the first cherry blossoms of spring. Observing a great blue heron hunt on the lakeshore. Watching a mother robin teach her kids how to catch worms. These are seminal moments, and I do not forget them, even if they occurred months or years ago. They often mean more than huge, extravagant occasions. Being in the presence of nature fills me with wonder and hope. Last week, my community college colleague Jason said to me, “Every time I look at my dog, he makes me smile.” I know just what he means. My animals make me smile, too. They are so unself-conscious, so naturally beautiful. They make me feel less stressed; they make me exercise more often; they allow me to become more childlike and playful.

3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

We know that stroking a pet raises levels of the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin for both the giver and the receiver. The animals make me more content to be alive in the 21st century, when often it feels like much of the world is spinning out of control. Non-human animals remind me of the mysteries of the universe, of its diversity and grandeur; they are always fascinating if you take the time to observe and learn from them. Living with companion animals is like having exotic roommates. In the emotional and spiritual realms, animal companions give us as much if not more than we give them. Particularly if you live alone, a dog, cat, or rabbit can provide physical contact as well as emotional comfort. Four summers ago, I took what would be my last overnight trip with my mom, then 95. We journeyed to Maine to stay in a B&B right on the ocean. We ate lobster, drank a bit of wine, read books, and enjoyed the views. She was on a cane (but not a walker), she couldn’t hear well, and she was beginning to lose some short-term memory. As an only child, I had to be careful to take care of her—a role that I was learning to grow into. For her, I believe, the weekend was wonderful, full of things that she loves. For me, it was fraught with worries about her health, about her falling. I became a bit impatient (and sad) hearing repeated stories. How much longer would she live? (She’s now 100!) The owners of our B&B raised show dogs. The canines were friendly and lovely, when they weren’t getting wet and muddy in the ocean. We watched them and a mélange of their canine buddies on the beach for hours. There they were. The dogs. Such exuberance: Cavorting. Digging. Making new friends, human and dog. Swimming. Running. Sniffing. Jumping. Rolling. Living completely in the moment. Smiling. As I watched them, my worries slipping away momentarily, I felt truly happy. Deborah Straw is a writer and college instructor. Now partially retired, she writes essays and poetry, produces book reviews, and is a cat sitter. Her two books are The Healthy Pet Manual (about cancer in our companion animals) and Natural Wonders of the Florida Keys.


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New Leashes on Life The Rewards of Fostering Senior Dogs BY SALLY FOX

I had never thought about fostering an older dog until I opened an urgent email from English Springer Rescue America. They needed a foster family willing to pick up an emaciated, abandoned springer that had been taken off the streets by the Seattle Animal Shelter. The dog they called Riley was deaf, mostly blind, and probably demented, but was otherwise a sweet and gentle dog who was suffering at the shelter. Immediate action was needed. Could I help? Tears filled my eyes as I wondered why anyone would abandon an old springer. I asked my husband, “Could we…?” but he, with wise objectivity, reminded me that our old cat— who ruled our household— disliked dogs. “Sorry, no,” I wrote in my email reply. The next morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about Riley. I learned that he was out of the shelter, but his first foster home hadn’t worked out. I returned to my husband, more tears in my eyes, and asked, “Honey, PLEASE?” Thirty minutes later we were off to pick up our new senior dog. (We invented a plan to help the cat.) Any hesitation about fostering Riley disappeared the moment we spotted him, newly cleaned and puffed up, walking with his other foster Mom. We were completely smitten. Seniors ourselves, we committed to giving him all the care and love we could. Soon, our lives were molded around the needs of our special friend. We carried him outside to pee, took him on


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Bev and Duke. Photo by Jane Sobel Klonsky

walks, and supported his medical needs. (Thankfully, the English Springer rescue agency footed most of the bills.) We laughed when Riley trotted around with a “happy dog” look and cried when, trying to stand, he couldn’t. Doggie energy filled our house. Like many other older adults, we were discovering the joys of fostering or adopting an older dog. Dog companionship can be a ticket to happiness and greater longevity. Our dogs invite us to go on walks and meet others. (“What a cute doggie you have.”) They give us a purpose for getting up in the morning—if only to let them out. A wagging tail can brighten the most difficult day. Senior dogs offer special benefits. Sure, puppies are adorable, but do you really want to schedule your life around Mr. Wee-One’s bladder or hide all of your shoes and belts out of the range of young Miss Chewbacca? Dale Filip, who has adopted 11 senior dogs over the years, puts it bluntly, “Puppies are too much work.” Filip, who lives alone, appreciates the company his three senior dogs provide. Retired, he can afford the time they require and he doesn’t mind spending a little extra to help his dogs with special needs. Knowing that his dogs won’t end their days in a shelter brings him joy. Nancy Walkord was still grieving several major life losses when she decided to foster Sage-Marie, a dog needing surgery for whom English Springer Rescue America did major www.3rdActMag.com

fundraising. Sage-Marie brought Nancy and her husband so much joy that they adopted her. The couple prefers older dogs. "Our dogs are part of the family,” she says. “We don’t want them to outlive us.” According to Ardeth De Vries, director of Old Dog Haven on Whidbey Island, older dogs are extraordinarily adaptable. “They’ve been through so much and are often very grateful for the second chance for happiness their new owners provide,” she says. De Vries marshals a small army of volunteers to foster older dogs no longer deemed adoptable. With support from Old Dog Haven, these dogs live the last stage of their lives surrounded by love and care. Old Dog Haven is not a facility but a network of homes. Sometimes their old dogs have been abandoned and picked up as strays. Other times, they are referred when their owners die or can no longer support a dog. Foster families know that their new friends may not be around for long. De Vries says, “We would love to have them forever. But as long as the dogs have a good quality of life, we are happy to have them with us. Dogs live in the moment and we are making each moment special.” Even handicapped dogs can have a good life. “Dogs don’t fret about their physical condition,” De Vries says. “Dogs that are blind learn to see with their hearts—they don’t miss a thing.” Many volunteers at Old Dog Haven report that caring for a dog has given them both a purpose and a new lease on life. “They give us so much more than they get,” says De Vries, who has adopted many dogs. “We people spend all of our time thinking about the past and looking to the future.

Dogs bring us back into the moment.” She jokes, “My life has gone to the dogs.” Before adopting or fostering, remember that taking in any dog represents a commitment of time and resources. Old dogs, as well as young, need to go to the bathroom and get exercise, so make sure you’re mobile enough to take them out. A dog that is mobility-impaired may need special accommodations. But don’t let the medical needs of an older dog scare you away. Organizations like Old Dog Haven (and breed-specific groups including English Springer Rescue America) do extensive fundraising to support the medical needs of dogs fostered by their volunteers. Nancy Walkord does not look forward to the day she will say goodbye to her senior dogs, but adds, “The time we have together outweighs the pain of loss.” She is reminded of a quote by Helen Keller: “What you have once enjoyed, you can never lose…All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Sadly, Riley stayed with us only four months. After watching him struggle increasingly with dementia and mobility problems, we made the gut-wrenching decision to have him put to sleep. We took comfort in knowing we had given him the love and care he deserved in his last months of life. While we hoped Riley could have been with us much longer, his passing taught us about facing grief with an open heart, a preparation for life that we all need. We’re still grieving for Riley, but would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Sally Fox, owner of Engaging Presence, is a coach and writer who helps individuals develop and craft compelling stories. She writes about following your creative calling after midlife. Find her blog at engagingpresence.com and listen to her podcasts at 3rdActMagazine.com.

Photos clockwise from top left: Riley, Old Dog Haven director Ardeth De Vries and her pups, Sage with her new family

For more information on senior dog adoption or to make a contribution, see SpringerRescue.org or OldDogHaven.org. LEARN MORE:

Aging with Confidence

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If you’re like most adults, your answer will probably depend on when you’re asked this question. Have you just spent time with people you enjoy? Are you sitting in traffic or coming down with another cold? Is the sun shining on a midwinter day? While we tend to measure our happiness moment to moment, satisfaction and contentment run deeper—and lots of recent research has found that the older you get, the happier you are. Scientists sometimes refer to this as the U-shaped life-satisfaction curve, or the “happiness curve” for short. Jonathan Rauch is a believer. A Brookings Institution senior fellow, he’s the author of a recent book called The Happiness Curve, subtitled Why Life Gets Better After 50. We’ve all heard about midlife crises, but Rauch says scientists are finding that the concept is mostly a cliché. What is real is the prolonged slump many of us endure


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in our 40s, even if we seem to “have it all”: stable relationships, a rewarding career, a little money in the bank. At midlife, we are prone to plaintively ask (or maybe moan), “Is this all there is?” It could be that we’re victims of high expectations. As children and teens, we’re encouraged to dream big. In our 20s and 30s, we experience freedom and our first tastes of success and romance. But by midlife, no matter how well we’re doing at work, someone else is doing better—at a time when many of us are raising teenagers, getting worried about aging parents, and seeing signs of our own mortality. Rauch uses a phrase that will resonate with Northwesterners: that life in

one’s 40s can feel like “a drizzle of disappointment.” Then unexpectedly, the clouds lift. By our 50s, 60s, and beyond, we’ve had a few more laps around the block and we’ve likely seen some serious losses. We’ve tasted the bitter, and we know how to savor the sweet. We care less about what other people think, and we know who and what matters most in life. As Rauch puts it in his book, “The passage of time, by itself, affects how satisfied and grateful we feel—or, more precisely, how easy it is to feel satisfied and grateful.” Judy Kimmerer of Adult Care Resources in Seattle says this idea rings true for her and

MORE WAYS TO BUILD HAPPINESS Want more tips on how to be happier? WeightWatchers.com recently featured this list of things to try. CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY The more control you believe you have over your life, the happier and more optimistic you’ll feel, says Mary Ann Mercer, author of Spontaneous Optimism. For example, instead of saying “I’m so tired,” try saying, “I need to recharge.” STAND UP STRAIGHT Keep your chin up! Researchers have found that slouching while you walk can make you feel more depressed. Sitting upright is better than slumping in your chair, too. ONE THING AT A TIME Multitasking increases the odds you’ll make a mistake. Rather than juggling items on your to-do list, tackle them one at a time. DO GOOD WORKS Helping others can make you feel good, too, so volunteer at the food bank, donate to your favorite charity, or bake cookies for your grandchild’s school. MOVE AROUND A little movement goes a long way; you don’t need to run a 10K to benefit. Even just pacing while on the phone or fidgeting can count as activity. CURB THE SOCIAL MEDIA Studies have shown that frequent Facebook users can be less happy than those who spend less time on the site. Mercer says quality beats quantity when it comes to relationships, so log off and call a friend instead. READ A REAL BOOK Curling up with your Kindle might seem like a better way to unwind before bed, but studies find that people who use e-readers before bedtime had more trouble falling asleep, slept less deeply, and felt more tired the next day than those who read print books. GO OUTSIDE In the Northwestern winter, it can be hard to get even a few minutes of sunlight. But going outside even a short time is good for you. Mercer suggests taking a 10- to 15-minute walk each day—and leaving your phone in the house. FIND YOUR PURPOSE A happy life and a meaningful one have a lot in common. Japanese researchers found that people who experience ikigai, a sense that life is worth living, lived longer lives than those without it. “People who feel really good about their lives, know what they want,” says Mercer. “They have a vision, and that makes them feel empowered.”

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for most of the more than 200 people she’s helped over the past “It’s an incentive to have a goal,” she says. “This is my form of 20 years. Reflecting on her own upper middle-class childhood, keeping that carrot dangling.” Kimmerer says she had to adjust her own expectations in midlife. I ask Rauch whether the happiness curve might turn out to She and her husband had very little money and sometimes be a turn-of-the-millennium phenomenon. Many young adults struggled to raise their two daughters. “We were living on a have lower expectations than their parents did—so maybe their very thin edge,” she recalls. “There was joy midlife trench won’t feel so deep. He says he with our children and our love for each other, hasn’t been asked that question, “so what I’m but the reality of running out of money was about to say is total guesswork. My guess is awful.” we won’t see the underlying phenomenon Eventually, though, she and her husband go away, but we may very well see changes found ways to sustain themselves in careers in the trajectory and the shape of the curve.” they still enjoy: He’s an art teacher at a It’s possible that if today’s young adults enter Montessori school and she provides both the U-curve with tempered optimism about companionship and case management for their future happiness, they’ll experience less seniors in transition. “Having hardship in of the sense of disappointment that previous your life prepares you for aging,” she says. generations did. “But I don’t think midlife is Whatever we endure in midlife makes us ever going to be an easy time on average for stronger, whether it’s financial hardship, most people,” he adds. Rauch sees a need for greater connection depression, or the loss of a loved one. By contrast, if you sailed through life without “THE PASSAGE OF TIME, between older adults who know life gets better and younger ones who might be in a setbacks, you would have a rough time facing BY ITSELF, AFFECTS HOW slump. But for that to happen, he says, people them for the first time in old age. Rauch says the curve is “not an inevitability; SATISFIED AND GRATEFUL need to stop being fearful of being judged for their mysterious feelings of midlife malaise— it’s a tendency.” In his own research, he has WE FEEL—OR, MORE and their fear of getting older, for that matter, found people whose lives look like rising PRECISELY, HOW EASY IT since so much of society still views aging as lines—that instead of ever going downhill, a process of decline. “It wouldn’t occur to things keep getting better. IS TO FEEL SATISFIED most people to say to someone in their 60s Barbara Packard of Olympia is one of these AND GRATEFUL.” or 70s, ‘Gee, how do I get where you are?’ people. As a young woman from Portland, she studied dance and art in New York City before spending a We’re busy saying ‘How do I not get where you are?’ Mentoring year abroad painting in Europe. She moved to Seattle, took a job across these age groups would make a huge difference, and I at the University of Washington, and met the man she would don’t think we’re seeing it yet.” In the meantime, we can all model what it means to grow marry, Bob Packard, on a Mountaineers Club hike. She was 39 when they wed on New Year’s Eve in 1966—and together, the happier as we get older. We can show how trusting, supportive relationships bring great satisfaction, Rauch says. By curating couple hiked another 30 years. If there was a low period, it came as Packard spent several strong social connections, “we invest in the people and things, years caring for her husband as he developed Alzheimer’s. but especially people, that you care most about and that care “That was a challenge,” she says. “I wouldn’t call it a hard time most for you.” Rauch recalls a recent conversation he had on this topic with because I was a willing caregiver, but it was demanding.” Yet it was an enriching time, too, as she made connections and built fellow writer Chip Conley, “and the way he puts it is we spend friendships that lasted long after Bob passed away. “So, I’d say the first half of our life writing and the second half editing.” In other words, it’s never too late to have a happy ending—no there’s an upside to every downside.” After Bob died, Barbara continued her art career and kept matter where you currently sit on the life-satisfaction curve. trying new things including Spanish and guitar lessons. For her With luck and with a little help from our friends, we can enjoy 90th birthday party in 2017, she invited friends for a coffeehouse the entire journey. concert of songs she had written. She has recorded several CDs and plans to do another to mark her 95th birthday in 2022.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Julie Fanselow is a writer living near Seattle and the author of Surely Joy: Reflections from a Simple, Beautiful Life. Read more from her at surelyjoy. blogspot.com.


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Joy to the

When you meet internationally acclaimed Seattle


It’s art without borders. And the art may even heal. Arreguin was told that a severely depressed woman who saw his work at the Tacoma Art Museum was so moved by his colorful, luminous paintings that she went home, immediately dug out long-untouched art supplies, and began again to make art. Now 83, Arreguin continues to paint day and night with seemingly boundless energy, working “like a locomotive” with an “iron will,” as described in a poem by his dear Opposite: Nuestra Señora de la Selva, (Our Lady of the Jungle), 1989 oil on canvas, 72h x 48w inches. Collection of the Artist. Photo credit: Robert Vinnedge

Aging with Confidence

Photo Credit: Teri Thomson Randall

artist Alfredo Arreguin, you are immediately struck by his warmth, his enthusiasm, his generous spirit, his infectious optimism. You marvel at the energy and exuberance of this ageless bon vivant. Arreguin infuses his sense of joy and his gratitude for the beauty of the world in his distinctive labyrinthine, revelatory paintings that engage the mysteries of the human spirit as they exalt nature in all its wonder. He wants to “keep hope alive,” even in times of anxiety and uncertainty. “Right now, there is tremendous repression around the world,” he says. He could respond with artistic commentary about injustice, but he would rather inspire people. Many people make blatantly political art, yet Arreguin believes “it’s nice that I’m on the other side. . . I want to inject those good feelings into the paintings.” So, rather than depict an incinerated jungle, for example, he paints the lush vegetation and teeming flora and fauna that once existed. He celebrates that past beauty, now lost. His exhilarating art has universal appeal. “I love people from everywhere,” he says. He delights in how people of any background can identify with his art. He recalls how an American professor loved a jungle painting because it evoked Mexico, yet a man from India asked for a print for his wife because it reminded him of home.

Northwest artist Alfredo Arreguin celebrates life in an age of anxiety friend and renowned author, Raymond Carver, who died in Port Angeles in 1988. Each day, Arreguin joins his wife and fellow artist Susan Lytle in the basement studio of their north Seattle home. As Arreguin adds vivid color from a pile of shriveled tubes and small tins to a gridded-out work in progress, Lytle creates vibrant, realistic images of orchids and other subjects as she works from her carefully arranged palette. Before the hours of intense painting, Arreguin begins the day with a walk, usually at Seattle’s Green Lake. It’s a special time to contemplate beauty and to find inspiration. “It’s so nice to wake up and share love for a few minutes and enjoy the grandeur and exuberance of life,” he notes. Then he takes those good feelings into his painting. Arreguin calls his multifaceted paintings “molecular.” Critic Matthew Kangas labeled them “hallucinatory” and the visual equivalent of Latin American literary magic realism. Figures in the work—as in portraits of his muse, the renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo—seem to emerge and fade in intricate patterns that reveal more and more detail on close study. Mathematicians wonder at his original designs and fractal imagery. Arreguin responds, “All of this for me is unconscious.” He says that the “resources in me shoot out without any order.” Arreguin draws on influences from his adopted home in the Northwest—where he has lived for more than 60 years—and from his native Mexico and beyond. Rather than slavishly depict reality, he “refreshes the image” to help viewers “see a different way of expressing something that makes it much more exciting than usual.”

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Joy to The World continued

Arreguin draws on influences from his adopted home in the Northwest—where he has lived for more than 60 years—and from his native Mexico and beyond. With special exhibits, a new book on his work, and a major retrospective at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum, 2018 was a year of extraordinary success for Arreguin. But times were not always so good. The arc of the artist’s life provides an inspiring American story. As an immigrant from Mexico, Arreguin came to a strange land with little Exhibition more than his artistic genius Now — February 3, and his resilient spirit. 2019 Soon after he arrived in Bainbridge Island America, he survived harsh Museum of Art discipline and abusive racism This major exhibition in the U.S. Army. After his is a retrospective of discharge, he worked as a artworks by Alfredo Arreguin— spanning busboy to pay for college. fifty years of painting. He struggled in art graduate For more information: school, but finally found his Biartmuseum.org niche with the encouragement of a mentor, famous figurative artist Elmer Bischoff. Even though he was acknowledged as an originator of the Pattern and Decoration art movement in the early 1970s, Arreguin sold one of his large paintings back then for just $20 and a pair of boots. He traded another painting for dental work. His fortunes, however, gradually improved after his marriage to Susan in the mid-’70s and the birth of their daughter, Seattle artist Lesley Rialto Cruz. In the 1980s, he brought more of his Northwest surroundings into his


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Left: Suquamish art thanks to encouragement from Waters, 2018 oil on Carver and his partner, poet Tess canvas, 120h x 48w inches Gallagher. Carver especially loved (diptych). Courtesy of fishing and the salmon, and Arreguin the artist loved painting the elusive, patterned Above: Nuestra Señora de la Poesia (Our Lady fish for him. Soon, wealthy patrons of Poetry), 1994 oil on canvas, 44h x 36w inches were buying Arreguin’s unique Collection of Tess paintings that captured the majesty Gallagher. Photo credit: Robert Vinnedge and mystery of the land and water around him. Arreguin earned his bachelor’s and Master of Fine Arts degrees at the University of Washington’s College of Arts & Sciences, which named him one of 150 Timeless Alumni. His art has been exhibited throughout Europe, Mexico, and the United States, including at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery. In 2017, he became only the second recipient—after Pope Francis—of the keys to his hometown of Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, in recognition of his art that reflected the land of his birth. But one of his proudest moments was when he was described as “an American artist” at an international exhibit in France. Now Arreguin enjoys giving back to others. He donates art to many socially responsible causes, and he has established a generous scholarship fund at the University of Washington. “I have achieved the most important things. It’s not the fame or anything like that—but the idea that I have lived doing exactly the things that have come out of my soul and heart that somebody has been interested to look at it,” he says. “That’s success. What really matters is right now.” Arreguin finds comfort in creating art that uplifts and inspires people of all backgrounds. “Art can unify,” he says, and he hopes that his work “will inspire other people to begin the creative process to eventually make the world better.”


do Go t wn o 3 loa rdA d a ct FR Mag EE .c BR om OC to HU RE !


VIETNAM Join 3rd Act publishers David and Victoria Marshall on a 20-day trip to Vietnam! Our small group (16 people or less) Overseas Adventure Travel tour will visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), tour the Vietnam countryside, and cruise spectacular Halong Bay. We’ll take a cooking class, enjoy a home-hosted dinner, explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, and take a boat tour through a traditional fishing village. We will visit local markets, temples, the Mekong Delta, and so much more.

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For a Complete Itinerary, go to 3rdActMag.com For Reservations and Information Call 800-353-6262 Press 2 or, email Adventures@3rdActMagazine.com

Continue with us on an optional 5-day tour to Angkor Wat, Cambodia.


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HYGGE? Warmth. Coziness. Intentional intimacy—who doesn’t want these things? All these words come close to describing the Danish word hygge. But the true definition is elusive, like trying to define happiness. Hygge is more of a feeling—one of contentment and well-being. Imagine the coziness of sitting by a fire, wrapped in a fluffy blanket, sipping a hot cup of coffee, and visiting with people you care for. That’s hygge (pronounced hue-gah). Sharing it with others is key. The word hygge first appeared in Danish writing in the 19th century, and it’s been woven into Danish culture ever since. In the past few years, hygge has become a global phenomenon. The Danes are generously sharing what has been one of their secrets to being among the happiest people on the planet. “This is a good time of year to add some hygge into our daily lives,” says Kirstine Bendix Knudsen, special project coordinator for the Nordic Museum in Seattle, who moved to Washington five years ago from Denmark. “At home, we light


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candles. We sit together in the living room where we read or do homework, drink warm tea, and play games. It’s not always about chatting. It’s just being together.” “In Denmark, we stay at home more,” adds Knudsen. “We invite people to our home and create a nice dinner for friends. We have one family Danish way over at a time, rather than a large group. We have a long dinner that of living we prepare days before because happy is we want to make it special. It’s perfect for intimate.” Experiencing hygge can mean Northwest having a glass of glogg, a mulled winters red wine with sugar and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, BY CATHY KUNTZ and cloves. It’s often paired with aebleskiver, traditional Danish pancake balls made of flour, buttermilk, butter, eggs, and cream dipped in jam or filled with whipped cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Seattle is the top hygge city in the U.S., according to place-rating website Sperlings.com, which ranked four


main factors: cozy weather; hygge pastimes (board games, reading books, card games, cooking, and knitting/needlework); hygge venues (coffeehouses, brewpubs, and wine bars); and the number of homes with fireplaces. Apparently, almost every home in Seattle has a fireplace! Rate Your Hygge If you’re wondering what your personal hygge score is, take VisitDenmark’s test at TheDanishAntidote.com, where you’ll be given options regarding how you spend your Saturday nights, together with an evaluation. Be prepared: If you are hygge-challenged, you may get the response “We have seen more hygge in a rock! You have no hygge whatsoever.” But do not fear. You don’t have to go all the way to Copenhagen for a remedy. VisitDenmark provides you with a personalized prescription: • Drink 250ml coffee, tea, or hot cocoa; one dose to be taken daily. • Eat something sweet (any cake will do); take when needed. • Light a fire or candles; at least once a week. • Cook with family; on an empty stomach. Add your own self-prescribed remedies such as buying some fresh-cut flowers, taking time for a meaningful conversation, or giving someone you love a hug. Hygge is more than a word. It’s an attitude. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about being conscious and comfortably sinking into the moment where we appreciate truly simple things like good food, good drink, good atmosphere, and good people. Happy Hygge.



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As a freelance writer, Cathy Kuntz finds inspiration in the wilderness, waters, and people of the West Coast. She is passionate about streamkeeping, fly-fishing, and writing personal memoirs. Cathy helps people celebrate their lives and legacies by creating unique photo memoir books. Learn more at CottageWordsmith.com.

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The Higher You Get,

The Higher You Get Our first 3rd Act Adventure to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands challenges the comfort zone

All the comforts that could be taken care of were taken care of: Our rooms were delightful, the transportation seamless, and the food amazing. Our group of 14 travelers ranged in age from 62 to 82. We were going high – 13,000 feet high at one point—and knowing that made us all just a little BY VICTORIA uncomfortable. But this STARR MARSHALL was our adventure, and PHOTOGRAPHY BY it’s not an adventure DAVID MARSHALL if you aren’t willing to get out of your comfort zone (or so we told ourselves). As the bus climbed and climbed, I glanced down at my Fitbit to check my heartrate. It was climbing, too, as my body tried to adjust to the thinning air. At last, the Andes rose before us as we reached the top of the ridge, taking away whatever breath we had left. I was breathless for two weeks, and not just because of the thin air. The scenery and history were stunning, and the openness and hospitality of the people of Peru and Ecuador heartwarming. Everyone in our group tried something new, pushed past trepidation at some point in the trip, expanded our understanding of the culture and region, had our minds blown more than once, and parted as friends. Our second 3rd Act Adventure will be to Vietnam from Oct. 21 through Nov. 9, 2019, with an additional, optional five days in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. This promises to be another memorable expedition and we have room for 14 people to join us. Are you ready?


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Aging with Confidence

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l a b o l G Grooves How would you like an opportunity to hear music from different countries, eat dinner, meet people from several cultures, and learn dances from around the world? Or maybe you don’t like to dance, but you’d enjoy being in a room of diverse people laughing and moving to music. If so, make a resolution to check out the next World Dance Party, an event that happens in southeast Seattle three times a year. It’s a judgement-free evening with no agenda, no speeches, no fundraising—just a delightful mix of cultures, religions, races, generations, and genders. The official World Dance Party tagline? “Show up. Get down.” World Dance Party is the brainchild of Vu Le, executive director of Rainier Valley Corps. At an Aging Your Way gathering in 2010, people said they wanted to get to know their neighbors. Vu knew how to accomplish that goal: share a meal and learn something new together. Through these community-led parties with potluck dinners and the chance to learn or teach dances from other cultures, a tradition was born. There have been over 20 World Dance Parties in Seattle, and we’ve learned dances from Samoa, Ireland, West Africa, Brazil, Sweden, Israel, Spain, Ethiopia, the United States, and beyond. When we learn something new together, mistakes

The worlddancepartyseattle.com website has a toolkit you can use to organize your own event. Look for it on the website menu. The next dance is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Filipino Community Center, 5740 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S., Seattle. Get updates on the website or at facebook.com/worlddanceparty.


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Make friends from all over at Seattle’s World Dance Parties

don’t matter. Even if we bump into each other, we laugh it off. Shan, one of our first DJs, says, “There is nothing better than looking out into the crowd and receiving all the smiles!” Shan helped promote the early parties by posting flyers at local BY DORI GILLAM businesses along Rainier Avenue and by talking to students at Rainier Beach High School. The students became dance party ambassadors, inviting friends, teachers, and neighbors. It was a hit. I even have video of a Seattle policewoman dancing the Cuban Shuffle. A few weeks later, I ran into a couple of the students. We recognized each other—I had probably stepped on their toes!— and relived the evening together. We were decades apart in age, but strangers no more. Research shows that social engagement is the number one ingredient in healthy aging, above exercise, eating right, and even quitting smoking. We can all use more forms of self-care, and going to a World Dance Party is a successful prescription. “I’ve made new friends who are now family,” says Magnus, a volunteer instructor who taught us West African dance. Joanne, another participant, knows the parties “provide a way for older adults to give back by inspiring younger generations and showing them the meaning of community.” If you’ve never tried Somali dance, the Somali youth will show you how. Afraid of flamenco? Just stand up and stomp away! Think you are too old for the boot scootin’ boogie? The Sliders, whose ages average 81, are your teachers.


At one party, Sabrina noticed an older woman in a wheelchair watching and smiling. “Instead of thinking, ‘she’s alone,’ I thought how wonderful she is here and wondered what she would have been doing if she hadn’t been.” Everyone is welcome: from 2 to 92, with or without walkers, strollers, or wheelchairs. No partner? No problem! Most of the dances involve the whole group and are done in circles or lines.

Vu’s original vision of getting to know neighbors has been realized: Folks report they have seen fellow dancers in line at the store or on the light rail. Tagoipah, an early co-chair, says, “The best testament to the success of these events is that they are still going seven years later.” And the events are easy to replicate. After the first six parties, the planning committee wrote a toolkit to help other neighborhoods organize. There have been at least six World Dance Parties in Shoreline, one each in Bothell, Bellevue, and Delridge—and people in other states have asked for the toolkit, too. The parties make people feel part of community, as everyone contributes in some way to creating a positive, supportive, and inclusive evening—whether it’s bringing a dish to share, teaching dances, volunteering, or inviting friends and family. One newcomer at a party walked in the door, and within 30 seconds said, “My faith in humanity is restored!” We are changing the world one free dance party at a time. And that is priceless. Dori Gillam is a speaker and writer on positive aging. She’s worked for Sound Generations (a local non-profit serving older adults) and AARP. She is a speaker for Humanities Washington, facilitates Wisdom Cafes throughout King County, and is a member of the Age Friendly Seattle Task Force.



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Never Too Old to

RoCK n’ RoLL

Fountain of Youth, Vitamin E, DHEA, unborn lamb’s placenta. We’ve forever been in search of eternal youth or at least long life. The quest may have started with the Chinese emperor who sent explorers to find a magic elixir that would rejuvenate him. We’ve been in pursuit ever since. Life everlasting? Religious doctrine aside, an impossibility. But a solution nearly as good, and much easier, is right at hand—and our generation discovered it. Rock and roll. It came of age when we did, set our feet tapping in our teens, and hasn’t let loose yet. Do you ever wonder why Mick Jagger is still bounding around the stage in his 70s? Why Tina Turner, born in 1939, was flashing outstanding gams and a voice strong enough to shatter glass after decades onstage? And let’s not even talk about Dick Clark, who somehow looked like a kid until he died in 2012. All small hints that these folks plugged into a rejuvenating lifestyle. Enchantment. Magic. The band was jumpin’ and the joint began to swing, you should’ve heard those knocked-out jailbirds sing!

It came of age when we did, set our feet tapping in our teens, and hasn’t let loose yet. BY BONNIE MCCUNE


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019


Rock and roll energizes, vitalizes, confounds, stirs, inspires. Why do many health clubs blast rock? When you hear it, your body wants to move. Toes tap and fingers snap. Pop. As in: “It’s finger, finger-poppin’ time.” In pop music’s childhood, singers bellowed, “I don’t care what you say, rock and roll is here to stay,” and “Rock and roll will never die.” Well, neither will its proponents. Why? Rock duplicates the body’s innate patterns. Whether fast or slow, “It’s got a back beat, you can’t lose it.” My personal theory is that rock has six basic rhythms that mimic life’s tempos. I have absolutely no foundation in either musicology or scientific study. Like the birth of the songs themselves, my hypothesis comes from the soul. REGULAR HEARTBEAT: The foundation of rock, this

style consists of a regular rhythm with equal emphasis on all beats. It sounds and reverberates like an extremely healthy heartbeat in normal conditions with deep, driving undertones. Think about songs like Hound Dog and Money. (“Money don’t get everything, it’s true, but what it don’t get, I can’t use.”) Like blood in the veins, it sustains you as you move from meeting to emails to dinner. MILDLY STIMULATED: This is the next music level up, when your body goes on alert. An excited, vigilant attitude pervades you, and you’re ready for action. Try humming All Shook Up or Takin’ Care of Business and you’ll know what I mean. If you need to tap a creative streak or defend yourself from attack, this is the music you must pipe into your psyche. RACING: The best rock has a pronounced, but not forced,

fast jogging beat. Its vibrant lively staccato gets the blood pounding, strengthening your heart and circulatory system. When Proud Mary segues into its main section or the chords of Long Tall Sally resound, surrender and boogie. You’ll do yourself good. I was 50 pounds lighter when I danced nightly. SEX: Now we switch to another aspect of life. While all rock and roll is but an extended mating dance, some songs are direct in their approach. A syncopated rhythm, usually with heavy emphasis on every other beat and a final punch on the eighth, distinguishes them. It’s in-your-face love-making. Wail along with Brown Sugar or Honky Tonk Women and you’ll get the idea. AT REST/SITTING: Slow things down to the peaceful, calm stage. Rock’s equivalent of meditation, this stage invokes the potential of a light flirtation or the gentle

Aging with Confidence

stimulation of an intriguing conversation. A ripple of rhythm distinguishes the leisurely cadence of Love Me Do and Up on the Roof. Play this music and tension drops from you like a useless coat. AT REST/SLEEPING: The final selection in the rock and roll repertoire. The slow strains of “Yes, I’m the great pretender” and refrains of “Put your head on my shoulder” invite you to return to the time of infancy, when the thump in a mother’s breast tempted you to slumber. While most rock invigorates, this type both soothes and revitalizes. What about lyrics? Meaning? Rock has had its share of true poets—and it also has “Who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp? Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong?” So what? Like great opera, rock is best known for its music, not lyrics. What can you do with the six categories? Put them into action in your own life. Housework’s no chore if you crank up the volume on your favorite oldies station. Hand Jive nearly animates mops and vacuums into jitterbugging duplicates of Disney’s Fantasia sequence. All well and good for physical chores, but surely mental exertions are a different matter, requiring peace and quiet. Nope. Faced with a puzzling income tax problem? Amplify “There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues,” and an answer pops into your mind as your hips gyrate. On deadline with a project? Nothing lifts the spirits like several choruses of At the Hop. I propose we apply the magic balm of rock and roll everywhere. Imagine a city, a country, a world where the ungentle strains of rock echo through the canyons of financial districts and the hinterlands of wilderness areas. Where people stomp joyful feet as they go about their daily rounds, no time or inclination to dwell on negative thoughts or deeds. Where they fall into bed at night happily exhausted from amplifying the rhythms of their bodies and life. Remember: “It even makes you happy when you’re feeling blue.” Rock and roll is why our generation will live forever—or almost. Bonnie McCune is a freelance writer for local, regional, and specialty publications. Her work has appeared in Denver Woman, 303 Magazine, Denver Magazine, Sasee, and the Christian Science Monitor. She also has had four women’s novels and many short stories published. Her latest, Never Retreat, matches a feisty single mom with an exmilitary, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. Reach her at www. BonnieMcCune.com

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HOW TO ‘GET BACK OUT THERE’ AND MEET PEOPLE—AT ANY AGE If magic exists, we see it most clearly when two people connect and fall in love. You can help make that magic happen. Put yourself out there, join in, take chances, accept invitations, and ask for help. Edith and Andrew met when he tried to organize a hiking club. She was the only one who showed up. As they explored local trails, they also learned a lot about each other. Edith found the man she’d always wanted, and they’ve been married for two years now. Debbie and Mike met because their adult daughters were friends. The girls felt their parents might be perfect for each other, so they set up a blind


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019


“date”—dinner for four, with daughters included in case the conversation needed help. It went well, and they’ve been married for 15 years. Michelle met her last long-term partner through Match.com, and she’s a fan of online dating. “I would say it’s a numbers game,” she says. “I’m going to put myself out there and do things that I wouldn’t do alone.” Match is the oldest and largest of the online dating sites, but there are many others. Some are aimed specifically at older adults, such as Our Time, Silver Singles, AARP Dating, and Senior Match. They’re all a little different. eHarmony, which caters to all ages, offers automated matchmaking; users are sent matches based on the extensive profile information they’re asked to provide. Senior Match offers safety tips. Silver Singles focuses on well-educated professionals. AARP Dating is a good resource if you


haven’t dated in a while, with tips on planning your date, what to say, and relationship advice. Signing up for a dating site involves creating a profile, generally guided by a questionnaire, and providing at least one photo. Membership fees vary. Once signed up, you’ll communicate directly with possible dates. Before you pick a service, look for reviews of various sites, and ask friends if they’ve tried any they’d recommend. The drawback to online dating is, of course, that success depends on honesty from participants— and we all know that online profiles are not always what they seem. Be safety conscious and careful with personal information you share, at least at first. Meet dates in a public place and limit alcohol consumption. Michelle’s particular safety tip is to ask for your date’s number, then use *67 to block yours until you get to know him. Many people have had good relationships, including marriage, through online dating, and at least you might have some interesting experiences. Michelle has been on kayaking and mountain climbing dates, things she might otherwise not have done. And she’s currently in a relationship, not with someone she met online, but with a man who was a friend of her last online match. It’s all about connections. Then there are matchmakers. These organizations use modern techniques to practice the ancient art of creating couples. In general, they offer personalized service to connect people within their client bases; some even set up the first date. They can be great for busy people, or anyone who needs extra help navigating the dating world. They’re also good for people who appreciate working with a real person. Matchmaking is Ali Migliore’s dream career. She and her husband Matt own Simply Matchmaking, the Seattle-based firm she started in 2005. “People who are ready, and are serious about finding a committed relationship, are the ones who come to us,” she says. I asked her to walk me through their process. It starts with an in-person meeting, where Ali’s team and the client discuss their services. Next, there’s a discovery session with one of the matchmakers. You’ll spend an hour or so talking about your relationship history, education, work, lifestyle, places you like to go, things you like to do, and the qualities you care about in a potential partner, including deal breakers. For the matchmaker, this is also a time to pick up on your nonverbal traits.

Aging with Confidence

“Eye contact, body language, sense of humor, shy or bubbly and outgoing—we take note of all those things. Energy and personality are being noticed,” Ali says. So when clients are being matched, it’s not only that they’re a fit on paper, but “it also includes a feeling our matchmakers get that these two people are really going to hit it off.” And that’s where magic can happen. “It’s just the coolest thing when someone comes in and we find a connection right away,” Ali adds.


CREATING COUPLES. Privacy and security are top concerns, so entering a client into the service involves some research, in addition to the initial interview. The first date is choreographed for ease and safety. A match is arranged, and with agreement from both of you, Simply Matchmaking sets up the time, date, and location for coffee or a drink. Reservations are made under Ali’s name, and you’ll have each other’s first names. You’ll be asked NOT to exchange contact information on that first date, and to report back to your matchmaker within 24 hours about what you liked or didn’t like, whether you’d be open to a second date, and whether you’d like to hear any feedback from the other person. This is to avoid any drama if only one of you wants to get together again. If both of you are interested, your matchmaker will provide a phone number to set up a second date. There are multiple matchmaking services available, with varying services, approaches, and pricing. Any that are worth considering will be happy to answer any questions you have about what they offer and what they can and can’t promise. Now, maybe you’d like to try just meeting people the way Edith and Andrew did, through shared interests and activities. It’s still about numbers and connection, and that can be more difficult as we age. You could look for people with similar interests at meetup.com or in Facebook groups. And there are companies like Events and Adventures that organize activities every month for members, sometimes for a fairly hefty fee. A new player in this area is Stitch. net, an international online community for people

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over 50. Founder Andrew Dowling’s goal is to “improve the lives of older adults in every country around the world… whether they’re seeking friendship, romance, or anything in between.” Stitch’s volunteer “community champions” lead the effort to organize events and activities locally, plan group travel opportunities, and help people sign up. (Dowling, as well as Stitch’s paid tech team, is based in Sydney, Australia.) There are three levels of membership; the first is free and the others available for a low annual rate. Members connect online to talk, find out about activities, and make friends. It’s about companionship, with the possibility of dating. Stitch is just getting started in the Seattle area, but sign-ups have begun. As Dowling says, “We’re social beings, and if we don’t have people to do things with, life just isn’t as fun.” Many of us would probably agree. So get out there. Priscilla Charlie Hinckley has been a writer and producer in Seattle television and video for 35 years, with a primary interest in stories covering health and medicine, women’s and children’s issues, social justice, and education. She enjoys taking a light-hearted approach to serious topics.

Where are you getting your financial education? Is it costing you money? NEWSFLASH: It doesn’t have to! The Society for Financial Awareness (SOFA) is a nationwide nonprofit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, formed in 1993, whose mission is to improve financial literacy … one community at a time. SOFA provides free, on-site education to organizations, church groups, senior communities and associations on over 30 financial topics. Contact Kristen at 425-615-1114 for details and to book your free educational workshop today! Check out our list of financial topics at https://www.sofausa.org/education/seminars


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Have You Ever Thought about

HOUSE SHARING? How many friends do you have who rattle around in a house too big, or feel cramped in an apartment too small, or consider their housing costs too high, or feel hounded by household chores? How about you? Thanks to modern medicine, we can anticipate long lives after the kids are launched, the marriage is over, or our spouse has passed away. If you’ve the money and inclination to spend this time cruising the world constantly, read no further: This article is not for you. If, however, you love your home but…but…it’s SO much work for one person, or so big, or upkeep is so expensive, or it seems too silent, or you’re “done” with home ownership and are looking for a congenial living situation—if any or all of these things are true, it may be time to look into house sharing. Many

Aging with Confidence

tools are becoming available to help you identify a housemate and forge gratifying, long-term relationships with her or him or them. Does the idea shock you or scare you? It’s certainly different from what we grew up with or envisioned for ourselves! Many of us remember when, among women, only “Wonder Women,” spinsters, widows, and heiresses had responsibility for their own finances—and for everyone, homosexuality was a scandal. These are some of the attitudes we have had to overcome. But that was then and now is now. Thank goodness it’s a different world, and we have so many more options! Give yourself credit for more f lexibility and BY JUDY openness to new experiences that you may RUCKSTUHL have invited into your life recently. And know WRIGHT that you can take advantage of other people’s courage, experimentation, and mistakes to forge a sturdy path toward your own shared-housing adventure. Here are some steps you can take to explore and get used to the idea: • Start looking around. A friend once remarked that she’d never noticed brown Volvos until she bought one, then she suddenly saw them everywhere. House sharing is very common in expensive metro regions like ours, and not just

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among young adults. Ask around in groups to which you One woman liked the short-term tenants so much she’s belong, whether at work, church, clubs, or at your favorite sticking with them. Another hosted one nurse who kept coffeeshop or wine bar. Inquire whether anyone knows people everything clean and tidy, then another who left stuff everywhere. in non-romantic house-sharing situations. Most people like to She likes having someone sharing the space but will only accept talk about their experiences, so you can learn a lot this way. long-term, orderly people in the future. One man loved hosting • Explore resources. The AARP website has articles on home a Chinese student because of the cross-cultural exchange. A sharing, and websites specifically devoted to the idea include hard-of-hearing woman hated her struggle to understand the seniorhomeshares.com and sharinghousing.com. Both include heavy accent of her Portuguese guest. tools to help you decide whether house-sharing would work Two homeowners, both self-described introverts, needed for you. Sharing Housing: A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping rental income but didn’t like outsiders living in their space. Each Good Housemates by Annamarie Pluhar is one took out a home equity loan and created another resource that can help you not just with apartments in their respective basements. This housemate selection, but with problem-solving worked out excellently for both. and conflict resolution as well. If you seek housing rather than offering it, • Start visualizing and mentally rehearsing. your learnings will of course be different but just What would house sharing look like for you? as valuable. For instance, a prospective homeWhat furniture, artwork, and objects can go to share host will be concerned with income, Will house other homes to make space for someone else’s reliability, and how well someone treats their sharing, on bedroom furniture, toiletries, and pots and space; a renter will focus more on location and pans? If you were to move into someone else’s balance, offer transportation issues, the airiness of the room, place, what would you absolutely have to take and how much cabinet space is available in the an upgrade with you? What would it be like to eat breakfast bathroom. from your with someone else, and tell one another about Householders will also need to decide current living whether your day? they prefer an exchange for money, situation? If you’re still intrigued, you might take some for services, or for a combination. Some older small, reversible steps toward having a long-term people love inviting younger ones to share their housemate: space in exchange for help with house maintenance, cooking, • If you’re a homeowner, sign up as an Airbnb host. While transportation, etc. Companionship and learning new things this is quite different from long-term shared housing, Airbnb sweeten the deal for both. Very commonly, the younger person provides excellent guidance on how to prepare your home for commits to 10 hours of work each week and may or may not non-family-and-friend guests. They do a background check on pay a token additional rent. everyone who rents and/or hosts through their platform, and It’s important to note that this arrangement doesn’t work you can usually see reviews of the users, too. If you’re not yet to address serious ongoing medical needs that require more comfortable with hosting through Airbnb, try staying in one rigorous scheduling and training than is reasonable to expect of their listings first. Short-term stays like this will quickly let in exchange for lodging. On the other hand, if you have a heart you know whether you’re comfortable with the whole concept. condition and would simply like someone else to be there at Many communities have regulations about Airbnb hosting, night, sharing your home may be perfect. so research these before you sign up. After you have experimented with some of these ideas and • Seek defined-term housemates. If you live in a town with thought through the questions, it’s time to assess. Will house a university, contact the office of student affairs and see if they sharing meet all your expectations? (The answer is no, but nor have grad students for a summer, semester, or year who are does your present situation, nor would any other situation. looking for housing. Such students often make ideal “beginner Utopia, alas, is not for this lifetime.) housemates” because they are serious about their work, spend What will you actually gain, and what will you lose? Will long hours at the university, and bring few possessions with house sharing, on balance, offer an upgrade from your present them. They are often great company as well. living situation—enough of an upgrade for you to make the If a hospital in your community utilizes traveling nurses, you transition? If so, proceed with thought and purpose and bring can sign up with furnishedfinder.com or travelnursehousing. your sense of humor along with you. com to host a traveling nurse for a minimum of five weeks. Judy Ruckstuhl Wright has written freelance for four decades, focusing on how So far so good? What have your learned about yourself and to solve problems. Her topics have included creating a great wardrobe on a tight budget, caring for frail elders, and restoring antique cars. She lives in Seattle, your preferences? near her daughter and grand-twins.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019


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Friday, March 29 9:00a-5:00p

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SPACE IS LIMITED, REGISTER TODAY! Activity #166144-01 • www.biparks.org • 206.842.2306 ext. 140 Featured speakers from SAGE-ing INTERNATIONAL, ELDERS ACTION NETWORK, LIFE LEGACIES, and more! Aging with Confidence

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Souper Time:



3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

As soon as the season defaults to wet, dreary, and cold, I default to soup. Ask me what I want for lunch? “Soup and salad.” Dinner? “Soup and something comforting.” Most of us remember making the hearty, satisfying soups that bubble happily on the back burner, filling the house with smells that welcome you when you enter. Those are great for crowds and planning ahead. But if you want something you don’t have to spend hours making, I have an approach that eliminates the front-end part and results in delicious, surprisingly satisfying soups that you can serve to guests without apologies. Three of my favorites start with boxed soups that I “doctor up.” (That’s the term my grandmother used when she added extra ingredients to packaged cake mixes and passed them off as her own. She kept her reputation as the Queen of Cakes without anybody guessing.)

I always keep several boxes of different soups on my shelves, ready to use, along with the canned ingredients that take them up a notch. Adopt this basic approach to make boxed soups your own creations, and a wide world of possibility awaits you! Additional liquid: Most boxed soups can easily take another cup of liquid. My favorites are orange juice and white wine, but you can easily use carrot juice, beer, hard cider, or additional broth. If you don’t mind the calories, adding ½ cup of cream or half-and-half before serving most of these will add a silky and mellowing texture to them all. (Just remember not to boil after adding; just let it warm through.) Canned ingredients: I keep a stock of canned ingredients at the ready to add to soups. They include green chilis, corn (not creamed), black beans, and other beans— white, garbanzo, or others you like. Fresh cut-up vegetables: Most markets now offer cut-up vegetables that will cook quickly and add flavor and nutrition. Cut-up butternut squash, shredded cabbage, shelled edamame, or green peas and other seasonal choices are worth trying. Leftovers: Leftover meats, cooked vegetables, rice, noodles, potatoes, etc. are always good as additions to boxed soup. They add flavor and texture and of course free up extra refrigerator space.

Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup Ingredients:

1 box soup 1 C. orange juice 1 tsp. cumin ½ tsp. cinnamon Directions:

Combine ingredients. (Use the cup of orange juice to swish out residue from the soup box.) Add cumin and cinnamon. Stir and heat. Suggested toppings: yogurt or sour cream, grated cheddar

Aging with Confidence

Herbs and spices: You can learn a lot about using spices and herbs by experimenting in a pot of soup. Think about favorite flavors in the cuisines you like. Cumin and cinnamon will impart Moroccan overtones. Cumin and oregano will lean toward the Latin. Garlic, ginger, and soy can give an Asian bent to simple broth-based mixes. Herbes de Provence will give a Continental flair and thyme and sherry are always welcome with anything that has mushrooms and cream. Toppings: Try grated or crumbled cheese. My favorite is Unexpected Cheddar from Trader Joe’s, but you can use any grated or crumbled cheese—feta, blue, manchego. Other toppers might include chopped herbs: Cilantro, basil, parsley, or chopped green onions add tang and texture to a soup. Yogurt or sour cream add a creamy note that goes with the three soups below. Brighten with Citrus: I often use orange juice as an additional liquid. It blends surprisingly well with most soup bases. And I might add the juice of either lemons or limes to brighten up what feels dull. Here are three soups to get you started. Each of these will serve four as starters or two as a meal. In the beginning, there was food! Before Rebecca Crichton worked for Boeing, taught leadership development, or became executive director of the Northwest Center for Creative Aging, she was a caterer, recipe developer, and food journalist. She has taught cooking to seniors and others, and she can reel off food ideas and recipes for any part of a meal or event. She believes in easily prepared, healthy, and taste-filled food that delights and satisfies.

Black Bean Soup Ingredients:

1 box soup 1 cup orange juice, beer, or wine 1 can black beans or Spanishstyle black beans 1 can corn

Creamy Corn and Roasted Pepper Soup Ingredients:

1 box soup 1 can green chilis 1 can corn—not creamed

1 can green chilis

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. cumin 1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. hot sauce—my favorite is Frank’s



Heat together. Suggested toppings: Yogurt or sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, chopped tomatoes, avocado chunks, chopped green onions, lime quarters

Heat ingredients together. Suggested toppings: Yogurt or sour cream, grated cheddar, chopped cilantro, avocado chunks

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Getting to Seven Near 70, this ‘badass’ athlete beats her fitness goals and becomes an inspiration BY ELLEN KAHAN


he 20-something coach of the boys crew team smiled up at me hanging 8 feet off the ground. “I sure wish my boys could see you!” she said. Me too, I thought. I might change their minds about what a 69-year-old woman can do. My pull-ups started with a silly bet my son-in-law made with his nieces and nephews. For completing a predetermined number of pull-ups, he would pay $1,000. “How many pull-ups would your mother-inlaw have to do?” I asked. After deliberation, he set the number at seven and I accepted the challenge, opening the door to an amazing experience. Although I had never done a pull-up, I am athletic and active, despite growing up before Title IX gave more opportunities to girls. (Basketball on the strictly limited half-court did not create athletic excellence.) Over the years, I dabbled in sports, rode a bike, backpacked, and joined the dance aerobics craze of the ’80s. However, nothing pushed me to excel. I was not clear why I immediately was so “all in” to meet this challenge. To enhance my regular exercise routine, I started working with Steve, a personal trainer. My goals were to improve my exercise form, avoid injuries, maintain flexibility and balance and, oh yes, possibly get stronger. I told Steve about the bet: do seven pullups using perfect form, from a dead hang with no body swing. When Steve did not even crack a smile at this aspiration, I had faith that he and I could reach my goal. At first, I could hang from a bar for maybe a minute. From that inauspicious beginning, Steve and I launched a full-on attack. I crawled on toes


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

and fingertips. I lifted and pushed weights and sand bags. I squatted, jumped, and lunged. It was more than just being strong; it was being efficient and coordinated. Engage your shoulders. Tighten your core. Squeeze your butt and grip that bar like you’ll break it in half. My mind had to be in the game too. When I was finally able to pull myself up to an L-shaped bent elbow position, I got stuck—physically and mentally. I thought I would never get that first pull-up and I had no idea that each additional pull-up would be as challenging. Getting the sixth was harder than the first. After 15 months of hard work, I couldn’t get from six to seven. Aware of my mental block, Steve told me to practice with an elastic support band instead of hanging freely and to complete three sets of 10 pull-ups every day. Of course, he knew what he was doing. Knowing that I was fixating on the number seven, he made me pass by number seven over and over again. It was brilliant. I let go of my obsession with seven. Our training sessions went on as usual, until one day Steve sent me to the pull-up bar with no instruction on how many pull-ups to do—and I did eight. Victory! The joy of mastering those pull-ups was one gift of the journey, but it was deeply enriched by my friendship with Steve and our teamwork. When we hugged before starting a training session, when we high-fived over a special achievement, when he laughed at my swearing in frustration, we were fully teammates. Though there is a 30-year age difference, Steve never failed to expect anything but my best, not influenced by age, but by what we had promised we would accomplish together. Perhaps the greatest gift of the seven-pull-up challenge was to see others expand their narrow thinking about age. Every week in the gym, younger women who knew of my goal observed me. There started to be whoops of encouragement and comments of “you go girl” while I was practicing. Some would seek advice about learning to do pullups and what to do first. I heard myself described as a badass or an inspiration. Being a badass at nearly 70? That is a seriously wonderful compliment. Over the last several years I have felt myself become increasingly invisible, a common experience for aging men and women. But when I am in the


gym lifting weights or training on the beach dragging a piece of driftwood through the sand or hanging from a pull-up bar at my rowing club, I am suddenly very visible. I become an inspiration and an example to others. For me, retirement is not a time to avoid new challenges. Even as we age, we are meant to explore and move just as children do. Overcoming obstacles fires our spirit and reminds us that we are still full of potential. Fight the “easy living� temptation. Be a badass. Be a joyful badass and master your own version of the seven-pull-up challenge. There is one waiting for you.

Aging with Confidence

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Pumping Irony We’re puzzled and delighted by twists of the tongue and of fate BY ANNIE CULVER

THE FACT THAT SELFIES KILL MORE PEOPLE than shark attacks is one of those modern-day ironies that has folks shaking their heads and snickering at the absurdity. What’s up with irony, anyway? Turn to Merriam-Webster and irony can be Socratic, sardonic, dramatic, or tragic—an elusive jumble. It’s a bit ironic that the dictionary starts out with a mishmash about irony well before this definition: “incongruity between the actual result of a sequence of events and the normal or expected result.” As dark as it sometimes can be, irony is anchored on the happiness scale and surfaces most anywhere. Still, an article last fall in Massachusetts General Hospital’s Mind, Mood and Memory newsletter suggests a smile doesn’t always mean you’re happy. British researchers discovered more people smile when they answer a question incorrectly than when they get it right. Incongruity, for sure. Colette Hoption, a management professor at Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics, says her research reveals that bosses who make fun of themselves are the most highly regarded. A smidge of irony there. On the flipside, Lindie Liang and her academic colleagues at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada studied workplace aggression. They found that a virtual voodoo doll serves as effective retaliation when workers receive abusive treatment from their bosses. What about food? Fat-free half-and-half is mystifying


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

enough, but who would’ve guessed a tussle would erupt over this ironic question: Can almonds lactate? Otherwise, how can there be almond milk? Who knew cremated ashes aren’t toxic? After a prankster teen in California folded some of her grandpa’s ashes into a batch of sugar cookies and shared them with classmates, investigators scratched their heads over whether incorporating human remains into food was a crime. Apparently not, but don’t get any morbid ideas. There’s a campaign underway in South Carolina to remind people that flushable baby wipes and wet wipes aren’t flushable even though packages say they are. Television is irony’s friend. A vintage episode of The Big Bang Theory suggested lead character Sheldon Cooper grew up “irony-impaired” because at age 8 he had a cat named Lucky that was run over on the road. When comedian Ken Jeong appeared as a judge on TV’s The Gong Show a while back, he described a spoof magician contestant (one who intentionally didn’t do any magic) as “the god of irony.” Then Jeong gave him a poor score of two out of 10. Politics are rife with irony. Last fall, First Lady Melania Trump launched her campaign against social media cyberbullying on the same day her husband let loose with a barrage of tweet insults of former White House staffers. Former President Barack Obama, in a speech leading up to


the November midterm elections, urged, “Don’t lose yourself in ironic detachment. Vote!” Has irony turned into America’s escape from political madness? Years ago, a New York Times essay suggested that with the dawn of the Internet age, irony became a way for folks to shirk responsibility for their choices. That might explain Obama’s point about ironic detachment. Living without irony is quite a challenge given how immersed we are in it. Imagine if all the absurdity, sarcasm, kitsch, weirdness, escapism, and hyperbole went bye-bye. In today’s topsy-turvy world fraught with contradictory emotions, it’s not easy to focus entirely on authenticity and what really matters. Before this ironic quagmire gets too bleak or perplexing, Merriam-Webster has a little more to add, this time on ironizing. No, not the 1930s fad when women took ironized

yeast tablets supposedly to plump up a bit for summer bikinis. Ironing boards aren’t part of the picture, either. The verb ironize means “to use irony,” and dates way back to 1602, when humanity also coined words like squabbles and kettledrums. Shakespeare lived until 1616, so ironizing had to be part of human consciousness before then, even if it didn’t yet have a name. Enough ironizing, but not before returning to my original point. The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care tallied selfie deaths around the globe at a whopping 259 between 2011 and 2017. And sharks? They kill an average of only six humans a year, according to the International Shark Attack File. Annie Culver developed a knack for unearthing oddball characters and improbable events as a staff writer for various newspapers. In the early 1990s, 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, yet still enjoys freelancing.

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(Puzzles on page 64)

Aging with Confidence


Just One Letter 1. Z 2. W 3. L 4. Y 5. C

6. H 7. S 8. Q 9. O 10. Y

Double Trouble 1. Some 2. Hold 3. Board 4. Down 5. Where 6. Right

7. Fire 8. More 9. Lash 10. Out 11. Step 12. Power

Rhyme Time 1. Revenge/Stonehenge 2. Erase/embrace 3. Grace/space 4. Krill/skill 5. Cookie/bookie 6. Train/skein

winter 2019

7. Obsolete/incomplete 8. Sphere/fear 9. Formal/normal 10. Congested/arrested 11. Boast/ghost 12. Romaine/campaign

| 3rd Act magazine 59

Fogue Gallery A New Showcase for Artists Over 50 BY MISHA BERSON PHOTOS BY TERI THOMSON RANDALL


ucked into a corner of Seattle’s trendy Georgetown neighborhood is a special haven for artists and art-lovers: Fogue Studios & Gallery. You’ll find it up a flight of stairs in the Georgetown Building, a venerable brick structure on Airport Way South that also houses a pizza parlor and a vintage furnishings store. Entering the place is like walking into an art trove of a fanciful, diverse collector. It seems like every square inch of this compact space, the narrow hallways as well as the double-walled main area of the gallery, is adorned with vivid artworks in many styles—from the pastel “kinetic f low” paintings of Jyl Blackwell, to the captivating you-can’t-believe-they’re-recycled-paper sculptures by Heather Saddler, to David Shettleroe’s vibrant abstract oil and acrylic paintings, which shimmer with blended accents of copper and warm glass. The media may be mixed, but there’s one thing the artists share in common. All are members of Fogue, a new cooperative artspace devoted to the work of accomplished “creatives” over age 50.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019

Fogue (the name is a chic play on “fogey”) is the unique brainchild of Patti Curtis Hair, whose own bold sculptures incorporating the gleaming silver shapes of antlers and animal skulls are also on view. Curtis Hair is a woman on a mission. She came up with the concept of an exhibit and studio co-op featuring the work of older artists as a way of combating age discrimination in her own life. www.3rdActMag.com

A forthright woman who dresses with panache and radiates confidence, she lost her executive job as a product designer when the cosmetic company she worked for in California “let everyone over 50 go.” When the search for a new job nearby was fruitless, she headed back to the Seattle region (she’s a local native), hopeful to find a post in the city’s booming economy. But despite 25 years of experience in her field, and a diligent employment search, “I couldn’t even get an interview,” she says. She suggests wryly that many of Seattle’s hottest companies are run by

“millennials don’t want to report to their mom—or be accountable to her!” At 53, Curtis Hair didn’t “have enough money to do nothing. I had to work.” So this Cornish College of the Arts grad decided to take a leap into the unknown: Why not go back to her first love—making art? And why not help other worthy artists over 50 get a showcase for their work too? “I started meeting mostly with older women who are changing careers,” she explains. “Many of us have, with age, acquired the wisdom and experience to put some of the best artwork out there. But we face a lot of sexism and ageism.” To cast the net wide, Curtis Hair attended events at galleries and approached artists she didn’t know. “I’d say, ‘I have a weird question to ask: Are you over 50?’ And I found that people were really receptive to my idea of starting a collective. I began to find likeminded travelers to join in.” She also found a helpful supporter in John Bennett. A preservation-oriented Seattle real estate developer, Aging with Confidence

Bennett has been investing in the rejuvenation of Georgetown since 1996. He has renovated numerous buildings with the goal of bringing back to life the neighborhood’s original business corridor, with a fresh artsy/industrial ambience. When Bennett offered to rent the second floor of his Georgetown Building at very reasonable rates, Curtis Hair jumped at it. At that point she knew a dozen or so artists interested in participating in a new co-op arrangement. One was Terry Smith, a Sammamish resident so eager to find a studio space that she now happily commutes to “Our task is Georgetown to paint to challenge and teach workshops. the paradigm “I’d been looking for of what aging s ome t h i ng on t he Eastside for two years looks like... We’re saying, as a nd c ou ld n’t f i nd anything affordable,” older artists, she explains. Yet when we’re loud and first shown the future home of Fogue, Smith proud—and wondered, “What the very visible.” heck are we getting ourselves into?’ “It was pretty dingy when we got it, and the lighting was very bad,” Curtis Hair acknowledges. “But about 80 percent of the people who came to look said, yes, let’s do it.” New lighting and paint brightened the space, and by the time Fogue Studios & Gallery opened last June, there were 15 visual artist members showing work there. (Fogue also houses three small art studios, shared by several members.) Today the membership has nearly doubled. Each artist pays a fee that helps support the gallery and guarantees a certain amount of space for displaying their work. Fogue will sell pieces for a commission that’s considerably less than charged by most commercial galleries. (“I’m passionate about keeping the money in the artist’s pocket,” Curtis Hair emphasizes.) To keep the displays dynamic, members rotate their artwork every two months, and each has a dedicated page on the collective’s website (foguestudios.com) to post art samples and a biography. (CONTINUED ON THE NEXT PAGE)

winter 2019

| 3rd Act magazine 61

Fogue is open to the public four days a week. More foot traffic comes from its participation in the Georgetown Art Attack, a monthly celebration of gallery openings, studio demonstrations, music, and food held every second Saturday evening. Curtis Hair also produces special events, and she’s clearly a go-getter and an avid marketer. Even before opening its doors, Fogue mounted a group show in Seattle’s City Hall. Mayor Jenny Durkan later visited the gallery and was particularly taken with member BethAnn Lawson’s compelling urban landscapes of Seattle. Curtis Hair hopes to recruit more writer and musician members, and will offer poetry readings, concerts, and other events. When interviewing potential members she looks for a portfolio of excellent, professional-quality work, but also a willingness to be part of a community dedicated to sharing skills and ideas, not just square footage. “We all are learning from each other,” notes Terry Smith. “Among us we have so much deep experience to share, in so many different fields.” In 2019, Curtis Hair hopes to expand Fogue by taking over another portion of the building. Now a nonprofit organization, Fogue will also begin seeking funding to develop the space and its programs. But most of all, Curtis Hair wants to replace the image of “a bunch of old fogeys rocking our chairs” with more respect for mature creativity. “Our task is to challenge the paradigm of what aging looks like,” she says. “It doesn’t mean you’re incapable of being cool and creative. We’re saying, as older artists, we’re loud and proud—and very visible.” Misha Berson writes about the arts for The Seattle Times and many other publications, and is the author of four books, including Something’s Coming, Something Good: West Side Story and the American Imagination (Applause/Hal Leonard).


3rd Act magazine | winter 2019


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Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over BY NELL PAINTER At age 64, Nell Irvin Painter retired from her chaired history professor position at Princeton University. During her distinguished career, she was acclaimed for her pioneering research and writing on American history, race, and social change, and her leadership as president of the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and positions in other professional associations. After such a celebrated career as a professor and acclaimed author (New York Times bestseller The History of White People; Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol; and more), most retirees would go off quietly to rest on their laurels. But not Professor Painter. She soon embarked on her encore career, determined to reinvent herself as an artist. Rather than make art on her own by herself at home, however, she began a rigorous course of academic study, first at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, near her home in Newark, NJ, and then in the demanding graduate program at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. Professor Painter recounts her journey from academic historian to art student to working artist with candor, humor, and wisdom in her captivating new book, Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over. Her august accomplishments as a professor meant little in art school. She reveals her doubts and frustrations as a student in courses where instructors told her she would never be an artist because she “lacked an essential component, some

ineffable inner quality.” She was often discouraged and perplexed but persisted with the help of encouraging friends. At the same time, her art studies were complicated by her efforts to care for her elderly parents who lived in faraway Oakland, CA. She movingly details her cross-country journeys to help her beloved but failing nonagenarian parents and her work to arrange for increasingly skilled assistance. Painter also recounts her sense of “invisibility” as an “old, black lady” in art school and in an art world dominated primarily by white males. In graduate school, she was the oldest student and the only African American. As she discusses her artistic influences and the making of her own art, she also grapples with questions of racism, sexism, and ageism. With heroic determination, Painter earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art and, along the way, found her niche as an artist. Since the art school days, she has devoted her life to making her distinctive work. Her many commendations include a fellowship from Yale, and her art has been widely exhibited and collected. The book includes dozens of images of her multifaceted, imaginative creations. Painter’s account of resolution and resilience will inspire and cheer readers of any age, especially those who are starting over.

“Painter’s account of resolution and resilience will inspire and cheer readers of any age, especially those who are starting over.”

Aging with Confidence

Robin Lindley is a Seattle-based writer and attorney, and the features editor for the History News Network (hnn.us). Email him at robinlindley@ gmail.com.

winter 2019

| 3rd Act magazine 63

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

Just One Letter (easier)

We’re looking for one-letter answers in this game. 1. The symbol for sleep or snoring.


6. Four of these make a club for rural youngsters.


2. President with one-letter nickname.


7. A double curve in the road.


3. The symbol for the British pound and Italian lira resembles this letter.

8. He made James Bond’s gadgets.



9. Universal blood donor type.


4. What a fork in the road looks like.


10. Chromosome that determines male gender.


5. Just an average performance on an exam or test.______

Double Trouble (harder)

Compound words are made up of two smaller words, such as hayloft or watchtower. We give the first half of compound words and you must identify the one word that follows to make a compound word. For example, given the words knuckle, moth, and basket, the one word that makes each a compound word is ball (knuckleball, mothball, and basketball). 1. Awe, hand, lone, whole, irk___________________ (hint: s)

7. Brush, cease, wild, camp_____________________ (hint: f)

2. Choke, house, with, thresh___________________ (hint: h)

8. Further, any, never, ever____________________ (hint: m)

3. Dart, black, wash, bill________________________ (hint: b)

9. Eye, back, whip______________________________(hint: l)

4. Crack, touch, count, show___________________ (hint: d)

10. Blow, work, wipe, strike______________________ (hint: o)

5. Every, no, else, some________________________(hint: w)

11. Foot, door, lock, side________________________ (hint: s)

6. Copy, forth, up, birth________________________ (hint: r)

12. Horse, will, man, super______________________ (hint: p)

Rhyme Time (hardest)

Each question in this game includes two definitions for two different words. The twist is, they will rhyme.

1 Retribution; and circular monument in England.


2. To expunge; and hug.


3. Elegance and poise; and the long bar on a typewriter keyboard.


4. The shrimp-like creatures that whales eat; and talent or competent ability. __________________________________ 5. Small baked treat; and illegal bet taker.


6. Linked railroad cars; and a hank of yarn.


7. Old-fashioned or out-of-date; and unfinished.


8. The shape of a ball or the earth; and the opposite of courage.


9. Prim or stiff, not casual; and standard or typical.


10. Your sinuses during a cold; and seized by the police.


11. Brag; and an apparition.


12. Lettuce for a Caesar salad; and what a candidate must do to get elected.


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 and her newest book, 417 More Games, Puzzles, and Trivia Challenges Specially Designed 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 | winter 2019










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