3rd Act Magazine - Winter 2018

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Great Escapes How to Thrive This Winter (And All Year)


Nomad Life

Making the World Your Home


FITNESS WITH AN ATTITUDE Gleefully Defying Stereotypes

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Oh, The Places We Will Go!

Travel with the publishers of 3rd Act Magazine as we head to some of the world’s most fascinating places. Announcing 3rd Act Adventures We’ve partnered with Overseas Adventure Travel, a leader in travel for older adults. Join us as we explore the world and write about our experiences in the magazine, sharing how Aging with Confidence and lifelong learning enhances our lives.

Our first trip is September 2018 to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos! This 16 Day Trip is $6795* and includes: • Roundtrip International airfare from Seattle, all land transportation and 4 internal flights • Accommodations for 15 nights, including aboard a privately chartered small ship in the Galápagos • 36 meals—daily breakfast, 11 lunches, and 10 dinners • 20 small group activities, Galápagos shore excursions, all park fees • Local trip leader (1 in Peru, 1 in Ecuador) • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, ship-crew, and luggage porters Only 14 spaces available! Reservations will be taken on a first come basis. Reservations & information: 800-353-6262 (press 2) Mention Booking Code G8-27967. Full Brochure Available at 3rdActMagazine.com or email Adventures@3rdActMagazine.com *Limited single traveler spaces at no additional charge. Trip is $5695 without airfare from Seattle.

MESSAGE from the publisher

Escapes, Great and Small There is no horizon today. Instead, a colorless wall fills the view from sea to sky, and there is unrelenting rain. This is winter in Western Washington— short, dark days and long nights. At first, it feels like an embrace. B y m id w i nt e r, it becomes tiresome. Our winter weather encourages introspection: a pause in our busy lives to reassess values and priorities and take time to nurture ourselves. If you’re like me, it beckons a deep dive into a waiting stack of books and the pull of escaping into someone else’s story. Others escape the gray completely and head south for the winter to a warmer and sunnier clime. For those of us who winter here, the subdued palette of our skies provides the perfect backdrop for the color, spectacle, and brilliance of the theater season, the visual arts, a movie, a cooking class, or a concert. Most of us have many little “escapes”

available to us without even leaving the neighborhood. It’s important that we take them, and not isolate ourselves or let our moods match the sky. This is a lso t he perfect time of year to plan a travel adventure. What destinations are on your bucket list? Where would be a stretch, an adventure, a testament to living fully and confidently? 3rd Act Magazine has recently partnered with a leader in smallgroup travel for older adults, Overseas Adventure Travel, to offer discounted travel to any of their destinations. One of the things we appreciate about O.A.T. is that they allocate space on every trip for singles with no single supplement fee! See the ad on page 54 for details. There’s more! Join us on a travel adventure. Twice a year David and I will travel with a small group of our readers and share our travel experience in the magazine. Our first 3rd Act Adventures trip is to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands in September 2018. The group is limited to just 14, so if you’re interested in joining us, don’t hesitate. You will find the trip information on page 1, and also on our website at 3rdActMag.com. This issue offers many ideas on how to escape the winter blahs. So grab your favorite hot beverage, snuggle in, and get ready to escape!

“Most of us have many little ‘escapes’ available to us without even leaving the neighborhood.”

Making new friends at University Book Store in Seattle.


3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

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 SOCIAL MEDIA Kellie Moeller 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 2018 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.


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Books, plays, music, and more transcend the everyday. TERRY TAZIOLI


BLUES? Soothe your body and soul

at a spa or wellness retreat. ANN RANDALL


FIGHTER Pride and courage guide


52 48

champion boxer Armando Muñiz through life’s challenges. PERRY HIGMAN

48 CULTURAL RECONNECTION Women connect deeply with Africa, and explore their heritage. SALLY FOX


This couple makes the world their home by sharing other people’s abodes. JULIE FANSELOW


Choose to find your joy and express your gratitude. LINDA HENRY

12 G IVING VOICE TO VALUES Don’t be deceived by what you believe. REBECCA CRICHTON




An inner dialogue can lead to self acceptance and peace. JENNIFER JAMES


Take breaks for yourself to be a better caregiver for others. DENISE KLEIN


Maybe there really is such a thing as a free lunch. ANNIE CULVER


Sitting still for the journey within. ASHLEY T. BENEM

Aging with Confidence

winter 2018

| 3rd Act magazine




60 LIFESTYLE 16 M ONEY A financial planning

roadtrip to help map your future. DON McDONALD


DON’T LET GO Share the lessons

your grandchildren need to learn. JESS STONEFIELD

24 LYING ABOUT MY AGE Is it really just a number? WARREN ADLER


GREAT ESCAPE The delight and

necessity of a good night’s sleep. MICHAEL PATTERSON


Sensory deprivation isn’t always a delight to the senses. DORI GILLAM



Combining travel and writing in an encore career. ANN RANDALL



you’re looking for, then find that special place in the sun. SUSAN BRANDZEL


CURTAIN The play’s her new thing. SHANNON BORG


Protect yourself and those you love from sexually transmitted diseases. TERI THOMSON RANDALL

40 FITNESS WITH AN ATTITUDE Two longtime coaches like to move it. CONNIE MCDOUGALL

42 TRAINING FOR YOUR FUTURE It’s winter! Everyone into the pool. KYLE CIMINSKI

IN EVERY ISSUE 8 TIME TO TALK Help with pressing questions on aging and transitions. KELLIE MOELLER


Performing arts all around the Sound. MISHA BERSON

Great Escapes


(And All Year)


Armchair travel with Atlas Obscura and Walking Washington’s History Reviewed by Julie Fanselow

How to Thrive This Winter


Nomad Life Making the World Your Home



FITNESS WITH AN ATTITUDE Gleefully Defying Stereotypes

LOVE CAREFULLY Safe Sex at Every Age

3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

Challenge yourself with these word puzzles.

Cover: Renowned author and UW professor emeritus Dr. Charles Johnson shares some good reads with writer Sharyn Skeeter at University Book Store in Seattle. Photo by Teri Thomson Randall

Inspired to Share “The End of Life and a Good Death” (3rd Act, fall 2017) moved me personally and professionally as I continue my third act in the world of ministry with and to older adults. I have duplicated this article for workshops I am leading and shared it with my son and daughter. What a powerful example for all of us. Thank you, Priscilla Charlie Hinckley. —The Rev. Dr. Robert D. Nicholson, Seattle

Learning from Life Stories I recently read your article in 3rd Act about Rev. Nicholson. The people living at Aljoya have wonderful life stories that should be shared with the world. I always enjoy learning about their life accomplishments, successes, trials and lessons learned. Thank you for sharing a piece of Rev. Nicholson’s story with us. I learned something new and feel honored to know Rev. Nicholson and to be a part of Aljoya and Era Living. Thank you for writing this article and for your kind words! —Karla Clark, Era Living, Seattle

A Great Resource This magazine provides resources for my organizational members and you have ad support from entities that I associate/network with. Great to find you. We will recommend your magazine. —Rolland Wright, Everett, President / Founder of The Widows Project

talk to us!

by mail: 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320 by email: info@3rdActMag.com Please include your name, city, state, and phone number when possible. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. www.3rdActMag.com


If you like being where all the action is, The Lakeside is for you. Or, if being tucked away in a condo-like setting is your style—choose The Cove. A plan for your future: both independent living options at this beautiful, non-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) give you access to the same great lifestyle and a full spectrum of health services should you ever need them. Both give you the best of both worlds: a park filled with abundant natural beauty and lakefront views alongside a nurturing community committed to authentic living. While it feels removed from the city, the Green Lake neighborhood is filled with an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops and cafés— all within walking distance and yet close to downtown. Entrance fees start at $118,000 and refundable options are available. The Hearthstone is a 62+ entrance fee community. SCHEDULE A TOUR TODAY! CALL (206) 717-7476 OR VISIT HEARTHSTONE.ORG.

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time to talk BY KELLIE MOELLER

We all long to escape at times. A terrible work environment, a toxic relationship, a bad financial deal, or even the monotony of everyday life can make us want to flee. Although escaping isn’t always the best answer, there are many ways to do it well. Facing the reality of your situation and recognizing why you want to flee are primary steps to take before planning a healthy exit. What should you do when the dragon of doldrums rears his ugly head?


I feel like I am living past the expiration date of my life. I am weary of work, in a stale relationship, and feel like my routine matches the movie Groundhog Day, with the same scenario day after day. Retirement is just around the corner and I want to start my third act with enthusiasm. What can I do to escape this life of lethargy?

A Kellie Moeller has worked in the senior housing industry in the Northwest for more than a decade. With an insider’s view and a passion for serving seniors, she gives a fresh perspective on aging. Email your questions to TimetoTalk@ 3rdActMagazine.com or mail your questions to Time to Talk, 3rd Act Magazine, 81 Canal Lane, Brinnon, WA 98320.

Many of us face overwhelming feelings as we age. We have worked hard for many years to get to this point of freedom and next steps are not always clear. The next stage of your life will be as exciting as you make it, so start now. First, invest in your relationships. Facing new challenges together, creating new experiences, or good old-fashioned counseling can light that spark all over again. Transform your environment and light up your senses with new sights, sounds, and tastes. You can book a flight to a new place or update the ambiance of your home to make positive changes. Now is your opportunity to create a legacy. Take time to think about how you can invest your remaining time to accomplish your dreams and support the causes you are most passionate about. Then set goals— and reject a life on autopilot.


I am a woman, recently divorced, and I really enjoy traveling. I have even considered retiring overseas in a few years. Now that I find myself alone and on my own, I’m not sure I have the guts to flit around the world alone. Are there options that cater to people like me?


There are great opportunities for single women who have a cross cultural bent. Women Traveling Together (womentraveling.com) offers opportunities to join other


3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

female singles on group trips around the world. You can find a multitude of Facebook groups for expats (people living abroad), as well as travelers’ forums where you can ask questions and find out more about the country you are interested in. Thousands of women (and men) are digital nomads, working while they travel. If you are looking at the possibility of retiring and living overseas, housesitting can be an interesting way to “try out” a new country while caring for the pets of people who are away from home. You can sample the culture, food, and language while meeting locals and others who are living the lifestyle you dream of. You are not typically paid to housesit, but a car is often included in your stay. The website trustedhousesitters.com is a great place to start. There are more benefits than risks in escaping your normal routine. When the doldrums set in, seek opportunities for inspiration, creativity, and adventure that will force you to learn, stretch, and grow out of monotony. Don’t wait to bring sparks of interest back into your life and relationships.


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No Magic Potion

The ingredients are yours to choose BY LINDA HENRY

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.


WHEN ALICE FALLS DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE in the classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, she encounters a new reality. For many of us, facing a major life transition is rather like falling down a rabbit hole. Retirement is often one of life’s most challenging transitions. Adulthood is expected to be a period of productivity followed by a time devoted to leisure activities intended to occupy our remaining days. For some, retirement is gratifying. Others ask, “Is that all there is?” Because we are healthier and are living longer, retirement can stretch for many years and become less satisfying. As more than one retiree has put it, “You can only play so much golf.” Losing work colleagues or believing that we can no longer follow our life’s purpose may cause feelings of grief. In Claiming Your Place at the Fire, authors Richard J. Leider and David Shapiro invite us to view the second half of life through a different lens, suggesting that our later years are the “first real chance to define ourselves and to live in a manner of our own choosing.” They also declare, “Callings never end when careers do.” Ken Dychtwald and Daniel J. Kadlec remind

3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

us that the literal meaning of retire is retreat or withdraw. In their book, With Purpose: Going from Success to Significance in Work and Life, they say that crossing into maturity often brings a desire to reboot and reengage, finding ways to apply our skills and insights into the many years ahead. It is not too late to identify our calling— that something that one “cannot not do,” a pursuit that puts forth an energy that excites joy and gratitude. Some people have a sense of purpose early on. Consider the pediatrician who, as a young farm girl, cared for injured animals. Or the journalist who wrote and delivered a neighborhood newsletter as a child and who returned to his passion as a newspaper journalist following a first career. For others, the path comes later, sparked by life’s experiences. A woman nearing retirement explained that she was planning how she could use her skills to become more active in social justice advocacy. How then do we plan for the second half of life? After Alice took an elixir labeled “drink me,” she was able to climb through a tiny door. There’s no magic potion to help us prepare for life’s transitions, yet happily, many of us are finding that midlife and beyond can be an exciting time of new discoveries and rekindled purpose—a time when we can be more courageous. So think beyond retirement, and retire or not. Rewire or retread. Identify the things you love to do. Discover your skills and strengths that transcend a job title. Find what fills you with joy and gratitude. Reflect on how you have used your gifts in the past, how you are using them today, and how you can use them as you age. And finally, remember: There is no right or wrong way to face midlife and beyond. This is our time.


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| 3rd Act magazine 11



Thinking it Through, Mind and Body BY REBECCA CRICHTON

Rebecca Crichton is Executive Director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging and presents programs on that topic in the Seattle area. She worked at Boeing for 21 years as a writer, curriculum designer, and leadership development coach. She has master’s degrees in child development and organizational development, and she is a certified coach.


“DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU THINK!” That’s a favorite quote of mine that I always share in a program I present called “Happiness is an Inside Job,” and these words are usually greeted by laughter and recognition. “But don’t stop thinking,” I always add. “As if you could!” As most of us know, especially those who meditate, it’s not easy or possible to stop thinking for very long. Our minds are usually very busy, which is why, if you are trying to do mindfulness meditation, the job is to come back to the breath and not get hijacked by the mind. A deeper look into the injunction against believing what we think reveals a cluster of reasons to avoid attaching beliefs to thoughts. First, we can recognize that thinking isn’t separate from the rest of our body. As recent discoveries in neuroscience and positive psychology show, what we think shapes our minds and creates neural connections. The axiom “what’s wired together, fires together” refers to the strengthening of networks created by what we think. Going deeper, thoughts link to feelings, which link to body chemistry, which create the truth that our minds and bodies are truly not separate. When someone tells you that something is “just in your head,” they ignore how your head actually

3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

is in your body. They are inseparable. The saying “children believe what they see, and adults see what they believe” reminds us how subjective our sense of “truth” can be. Most of us have an internal emotional and intellectual landscape where “my truth” resides. Of course, we think all the time and much of what we think is neutral in effect. Our normal lives engage us in planning, creating, discussing, and learning. But thinking in certain kinds of absolutes, with words like “always,” “never,” and “forever,” can trigger a range of emotions that may, as Buddhists might note, create suffering. And, when what we think creates a cascade of uncomfortable feelings such as grief, longing, anger, resentment, guilt, blame, or sadness, then it’s worth reminding ourselves that we generated those feelings through whatever thoughts our minds produced. We need to develop strategies that will train us to identify what the feeling is, acknowledge it, and then substitute something more positive. In the same way we distract a whining child from something it wants with an offer of something else, we can do the same for our minds. Reliable substitutes for misery are gratitude, love, blessings, and generosity. Kindness—to ourselves and to others—provides an antidote to vindictive and judgmental thinking. We need to remember that thoughts are tools, not truths. As Stephen Levine, a highly-regarded teacher and author whose books on meditation and death and dying are classics in their field, used to say: “The mind is a wonderful tool and a terrible master.” Don’t let your mind turn you into its slave. Declare your freedom…you really don’t have to believe every single thing you think.


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| 3rd Act magazine 13



When the Journey Leads Within 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.


ON A GRAY DAY, tired and thinking about what to do next, my mind said, “why bother?” I didn’t feel like a nap, so I reviewed the usual advice for staying active and adventurous: take those trips, start a new project, get involved in your community, be social, eat blueberries, etc. None of that appealed to me. I wasn’t depressed and I had plenty of interesting things to do. So why was I treading water? They (whoever that is) tell us we are each unique, that we make our own choices. I believe we do determine our own happiness even when we have hard times or circumstances that limit us. The answer to my “why bother” turned out to be take an inner journey, not an outer one. I thought “Wait a minute, I’ve already done that a few times.” But it was time to do it again. Mythologist Joseph Campbell spoke about listening for “the call.” He asked us to accept a self that is separate from the experiences of our past and the limitations of our present. Campbell believed that each of us has a unique inner voice. We can usually hear it as children, but it may be drowned out over time by the voices of others, stress over hard times, or the speed of modern life. This voice calls you to consider the value of your own life, and it grows louder when you experience personal trauma or believe your time here is running out. You may choose not to hear this voice. There is comfort in the known, the familiar, the obvious path. The common wisdom of senior advisers may be just right. But if the voice persists, then things are not settled. Now that you have time to listen, ask yourself how you want to live. Start another inner

3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

I believe we do determine our own happiness even when we have hard times or circumstances that limit us. dialogue about the one life that is yours because understanding and accepting your true adult self brings peace. The assignment here is not about a spiritual awakening. It is about knowing who you are without waiting for a crisis to strip away the filters that may muffle your inner voice. • Can you describe yourself? (Start with the good things.) • How would most others describe you? • What have you learned, over time, about yourself? • Is there a theme in how you have lived? • Are you changing that theme now? • What would be unfinished if you died today? For those of you who long ago were forced by circumstances to fight inner demons or pull down psychological barriers, the prospect of www.3rdActMag.com

more introspection truly brings that thought, “why bother?” The answer is that aging, if you allow it, slows you down and lets your mind wander. Memories once deep in your brain will surface, good and bad. Reviewing your life story enables you to rewrite the present and the ending. Whatever your current situation, you are in control of this part of your story. Full acceptance of the dark and recognition of the light in all your memories brings reconciliation. I took this journey over the last year when I realized I was still dogged by a childhood marked by abandonment and violence. The painful feelings were always there, a too-familiar burden. When I listened to “the call,” it sent me on a different path. The rewrite of my life story gave me an authentic identity. I have finally become an elder freely experiencing a new depth of love and contentment. I am glad I bothered. Aging with Confidence

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winter 2018

| 3rd Act magazine 15



Planning Your Trip

to the Future 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).


WHEN YOU PLAN A ROAD TRIP, what’s the first step? Map your route? Create an itinerary? While it may seem obvious, the first step is knowing your starting point. If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know the details of your investment portfolio, so taking an inventory of your assets is a good way to begin planning your trip to retirement. Gather up all of your investment and bank statements. Don’t forget those 401(k) plans from previous jobs. Write down each investment or, better yet, enter them into a spreadsheet. Then determine what they are: equities (stocks), mutual funds, or fixed-income investments like bonds? How much are you paying in ongoing fees, if any? For better clarity, check Morningstar stock and fund ratings to learn whether the stocks are in the U.S. or overseas, large cap or small cap, value or growth. For fixed income, you want to know the credit quality and duration of the bonds. After gathering all of your portfolio information, it’s time to make some informed estimations. How much income will you need and at what age will you need it? What are your likely sources of income and how much of that is reasonably certain? Finally, decide how much market volatility can you tolerate and how much risk you need to take to meet your goals. From here, the process is pretty straightforward. Subtract the amount of reasonably certain income from the amount you believe you will need in retirement. The number remaining is the amount of income you will

3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

need to generate from your investments. Now it’s time for some guesswork: What is a reasonable expected return on your investment portfolio? Past historical returns—after inflation—have been as low as 1 percent to 3 percent average annual return for safe fixed-income investments and real estate to as high as an average of 7 percent to 9 percent per year for U.S. stocks. The past tells us nothing specific about the future, although it is reasonable to expect that equities will provide higher returns than bonds. There is no way to know what a portfolio will return in the future, which is why we must estimate. If your guess is too optimistic, there’s a good chance you won’t end up with enough to meet your future needs. A perfect example of optimistic projections are the many pension plans that are dangerously underfunded. You’re better off making conservative estimates. Personally, I like using 2 percent for bonds and 6 percent for stocks. You may want to play it even safer. Here’s an example: • Your current goal is to live on $80,000 annually when you retire. • You expect $40,000 per year from Social Security and a small pension. • You have a $400,000 total portfolio split evenly between stocks and bonds from which you expect 4 percent per year, or $16,000 if you started taking income today. • This means that if you retired today, you need an additional $24,000 annual income. • Your portfolio needs to increase by $600,000 to meet your goal. Now that you know where you stand today, you can plan for increasing your savings, lowering your income needs, delaying retirement, increasing your portfolio return, or some combination of these. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of creating a retirement plan, you’re in good company. That’s why there are thousands of financial professionals in the world. If you need help, just be sure to hire a fee-only registered investment adviser or financial planner who doesn’t sell commissioned products and is always required to act in your best interests. www.3rdActMag.com



Build in Breaks

from Caregiving BY DENISE KLEIN

Denise Klein led the King County Area Agency on Aging for 12 years, was Senior Services’ CEO for 10 years, and spent 13 years as a national consultant on aging. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, received two national leadership awards, and is currently the executive director for Wider Horizons, a Village Network community in Seattle. (www. widerhorizonsvillage.org)


I’M A CAREGIVER FOR MY HUSBAND who had a stroke more than a year ago and a recent heart attack. When asked how we are doing, I say “fine.” Then I explain that he is doing “fair” and I am doing “well” and that averages to “fine.” This drives home the point that we are a unit and the well-being of one affects the other. I’m able to do “well” because I understand the importance of frequent escapes from my caregiving responsibilities—preferably every day. Fortunately, I can leave my husband alone for hours at a time. He’s very supportive of my breaks because, like many people who need help, he doesn’t want to be a burden and he wants me to be happy. Within the confines of almost any caregiving role, you can find escapes that nourish you and let you continue to have the energy for caregiving. Getting a break may require help from others and asking for that help is an important skill to learn. If you can’t leave your loved one by him or herself for long enough to have a good escape, ask a friend to stop by so you are able to go with a clear conscience. I have a mental list of pleasurable activities. On the rare days when I don’t want to leave my home, I fall back on stay-at-home respites like reading a good book, listening to music, talking on the phone to a dear friend, or doing a crossword puzzle. But I’ve found that getting out and about is a more complete escape. When I leave the house, I’m getting exercise in the form of walking—another pleasurable activity for me. And there’s an extra fillip of fun when my escapes give me the chance to practice navigation skills, like learning new bus routes. Here are

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many of my favorite away-from-home escapes, in order of how often I do them. You can find ideas on the Internet (Google pleasurable activities) or create your own list. • Spending time with friends, preferably with food, and often with stimulating conversation • Long walks and conversation with my children or grandchildren • Going to a movie • A trip to the library (including reading there for a change of pace) • Happy hour by myself (easy to feel comfortable, since I live in a lively urban neighborhood) • Going to my intensive weekly workout • Gardening (in someone else’s garden) • Dancing • Singing • Orienteering Psychologists know that engaging in pleasurable activity is an effective way to address depression. These activities also produce endorphins! After a wonderful evening with friends, the effects often last well into the next day. Many resources are out there to help caregivers with practical and spiritual advice. Just as they tell us on the airplane, it’s important to “put your own oxygen mask on first” and not feel selfish or guilty for doing that. The renewal you experience from your pleasurable escapes will help you be a better and more patient caregiver. www.3rdActMag.com

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Free Lunches: What’s the Catch? (Could be a nicely grilled piece of salmon!) BY ANNIE CULVER

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.


I NOTICED AN AD offering free lunch—at a new restaurant—if I’d listen to a pitch from the Neptune Society about cremation services. Discussing my ashes with strangers wasn’t as big a draw as that complimentary lunch. Fears about planning for my demise were outweighed when the mix featured food for nothing. Free meals like these can be enticing, but do they involve arm twisting? Turns out many offer interesting information and opportunities to share tasty grub with new acquaintances. Some of these freebies—including dinners for diabetics and those with relapsing multiple sclerosis or thyroid conditions—are touted in newspaper ads. Quite a few assisted-living communities hope to gain new residents with open houses that include a free meal. When you hit retirement age, there’s a blitz of snail-mail invites to fancy restaurants. These sometimes indicate you need to be at least 45 or 55 with a minimum of $250-300k in assets.

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Frequently you can bring a guest (or three) and get free parking. Think juicy filet mignon, garlic chicken, and grilled wild Alaska salmon (none of that farmraised Atlantic stuff), among other options. Plus, you can pick up useful tidbits as you fork those garlic mashed potatoes or parmesan herbed risotto. Hosts are financial advisers who share strategies for not running out of money before you depart this life. Naturally, they seek new clients, although they sell nothing at these gatherings. I reserved a spot at a free meal at a Seattle waterfront restaurant. The financial adviser who led the event said approximately a third who attend her dinners ultimately become clients. This dinner drew about 30. Fifty percent of women over 65 are widowed, she noted, and many fail to plan for a sustainable income stream in retirement. “Don’t sit and worry,” she urged. “Have a financial plan, then feel confident spending your money. Don’t wait, because whoever inherits what you saved won’t have the same habits as you.” She described the importance of rating yourself on emotional decisions, understanding investment fees and taxes, personalizing investment strategies, optimizing Social Security benefits, and more. Some of her advice was unexpected. “Take time to walk around your house and write down why certain items are special to you and who you want to have them so they can be passed on to the next generation,” she said. After recommending that participants meet with her individually—some signed on, others didn’t—dinner arrived. Good thing, because www.3rdActMag.com

a few stomachs growled at my table, where my assigned seat was between a travel consultant and a commercial real estate broker. The meal was worth the wait, the thickest hunk of perfectly grilled Alaska salmon I’ve had in years. Here’s the rub, though. Once home, I told my mate I was toying with transferring some funds to this financial firm. “You’d give someone your money to invest because she bought you a nice salmon dinner?” he said with an incredulous look. “I hear a lot of that,” the financial adviser later conceded with a smile. “Some women bring their husbands to meet with me and they sit there with their arms folded. It takes a while.” Back to the free lunch from the Neptune Society, the behemoth of cremation with 600,000 members above ground. At that event, the presenter said a funeral and cemetery plot can cost more than a new car—and that doesn’t include the cost of transporting a body,

particularly when someone dies aboard a cruise ship. This lunch drew four retirees: three teachers and an attorney. They doubted his cruise-ship claims. Neptune Society’s rep held his ground and said it’s surprising how many people die on cruises. Costs add up for refrigeration shipboard plus transport home. While other cremation services cost less, Neptune’s are available worldwide, except North Korea. Weeks later, I was still mulling over cremation and that delicious chicken wrap freebie lunch when I spied a T-shirt that stopped me dead. “Being cremated,” it read, “is my last hope for a smoking, hot body.”

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Dear Grandparents:

Don’t Let Go In many ways, the memories I have of my grandparents are even stronger than the ones I have of my parents. My brother and I spent many a weekend under our grandparents’ heels in their tiny home in Pennsylvania. We had sleepovers and cookouts on the patio. We swung in the swing my grandfather built for us. Pulled onions and tomatoes from my grandmother’s garden. While my parents moved from house to house, my grandparents’ home never changed. It was my anchor. My lifeline. My children haven’t had the same experience. Clearly, the American family is changing. Today, not only are many families fragmented by divorce, they are also living farther apart. I would know: I’m a divorced mother of two sons. My father, who lives 2,000 miles away, has never met them. I’m not alone. According to a New York Times analysis of data from the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study, about 20 percent of adult Americans live more than a few hours’ drive


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from their parents. Couple that with the increasingly frenetic pace of after-school activities, youth sports, and screen time, and it’s hard for some families—even families that do live nearby—to find a way for grandparents to play a meaningful role in their daily lives. At a time when we’re seeing the largest boom of aging Americans, it seems we’re pulling away from older family members in favor of our phones, activities, and work. In many cases, grandparents are getting pushed to the sidelines of our lives, rather than staying where they need to be—in the center. So, what do we do about it? For one thing, grandparents: We need you to recognize your significance in your grandchild’s life. You are the key to their family history. You can teach them the lessons you learned the hard way, humble them with the things you’ve accomplished, and remind them that you—and other older people—are just as important at 80 as at 10, 20, or 50. Age does not determine the value of life. If you aren’t sure where to start a conversation, try the following: www.3rdActMag.com

Aging is a good thing. Children often view old toys as being just as disposable as paper plates and cups. What about their views of older people? My own 6-year-old recently told me I don’t need to bother learning the correct way to hold a football because I’m too wrinkly! We need to show children there is value in aging. There is value in new perspectives. There is value in people who have been here— working, learning, and living—long before they came. Newer isn’t better. Wrinkles aren’t bad. Slow isn’t boring. Gray is the new black. “You’re not the center of the universe.” When I was younger, it didn’t even occur to me to ask my grandfather about his time in the Navy, or how he and my grandma fell in love. Those details came out much later, when we started corresponding by letter in college. We need to show our kids that their grandparents are walking history books. We need you to show them they aren’t the first ones to face a challenge, get scared, take a road trip, drive across the country, fall in love, or fight for something they believe in. This is perspective our children need to hear, see, and touch to be better people living better lives. And they don’t have to be adults before they realize it. Slow down. We don’t get do-overs in aging. Not in our own lives—and not in the lives of others. My mom died when she was 48. I spent years of my life running away from her sickness because it was hard. It was uncomfortable. It made me sad—and I was in a hurry with my own life. I wanted to do my own stuff without thinking about hard things. I know the regret of not being there for someone when they needed me. I learned the hard way that slowing down and caring about people around me is the most important thing. Grandparents: you can be that constant reminder in your children and grandchildren’s lives. Indeed, the best way we can teach today’s children that family is forever is to model that behavior ourselves. We need you to show them—not just tell them—that involving, asking, helping, and making space for those we love is essential no matter what age someone may be. Dear grandparents: No matter how forgotten, lost, or insignificant you may sometimes feel in today’s frenetic, fast-paced world, you must refuse to stop teaching us. You must refuse to let go of those you love. Jess Stonefield (pictured here as a child with her grandmother) writes about aging, mental health, and the greater-longevity economy for publications such as Forbes.com, Next Avenue, and Changing Aging. She is a communications expert for the Senior Living Fund.

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Lying About My Age:

I a m seriously t hink ing walked through the mountains about lying about my age. Of of the last century’s corpses. course it’s impossible. The We have seen the stupidities internet has my age engraved of unworkable ideologies, and in perpetuity. the glories of science that have I notice the difference vastly improved our health, immediately after my most longevity, and lifestyles. casual face-to-face social In the U.S., there are six BY WARREN ADLER revelation of the “number”— million of us in the number even if it is merely a reminder category of which I speak. to my f r iend s a nd my Yes, some of our group are children. The change in expression is immediate, and the incapacitated physically and mentally. But millions are still processing in the receiver’s brain, while subliminal, heavily involved in contemporary life, contributing our is obvious. experience, insight, imagination, and creativity to make In a flash, I have changed my status from respectful and positive change in society. collegial to “over the hill,” someone to be tolerated, politely There may be skeptics who believe I am offering and diplomatically endured, but no longer consequential. conclusions based on narrow personal experience, but I am The reaction is typical and understandable. It is built into willing to bet the barn there are millions out there who will the life cycle, a generational flaw that carries few exceptions. testify that I am not alone in my assessment. It is hard to reeducate people to the notion that humans are I am as active in my career as ever. My daily writing not like socks, where one size fits all. habits have not changed. I continue to write my novels, plays, What I have begun to realize, and which has motivated poems, and essays and do what writers do, which is to conjure me to write this screed, is that whether deserved or not, one’s ideas, fashion them into stories, and communicate the results number reveals one’s category. My category and those of my to potential readers. peers sends the message that I am to be tolerated, but I am I do confess that I am not as agile or as f lexible as irrelevant. Unfortunately, this is a form of bias that closes when I was a 23-year-old soldier in the Korean War or the door on the wisdom that only firsthand experience can as formidable as I used to be in other areas requiring convey. more extreme physicality. But I have not yet reduced my The fact is that my “number” and upward is shared by many twice-a-week Pilates exercises and can still claim a robust people who are still very much involved, active participants in fantasy life. busy and arguably important human endeavors. We may be Nevertheless, when I do honestly reveal my “number” merely statistical survivors but we are still out there, a senior to an inquisitive stranger, especially those of a younger cadre of wisdom and experience that cannot and must not demographic, I note an instant revision of their attitude. be consigned to the rubbish bin of contemporary history. I am instantly reminded about every cliché about ageism that We are still climbing the hill and are not yet at the summit afflicts the culture, from Charles Dickens’ Aged P character heading downward. in Great Expectations to the real-life possibility of bureaucrats We have witnessed good and bad choices by politicians, deciding end-of-life options. journalists, academics, and various leaders in other Aged P, for those who don’t recall this wonderful occupations that collude to create our culture. We have masterpiece by Dickens, was the father of John Wemmick observed their many follies and their successes, and we have who instructs Pip how to socialize with his aged father: “Nod

A Reflection on Ageism


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Photo by Amy Mayes

however we manipulate and extend life, however we attempt away at him, Mr. Pip; that’s what he likes. Nod away at him, to change the rules of human engagement, however much if you please, like winking!” we destroy and hopefully rejuvenate our environment, Consider what can be learned from someone who has however long our planet can remain populated by the human lived through the better part of the 20th century and on animal, our basic nature with all into the 21st, a witness to events its contradictions and propensity that would seem to a millennial We may be merely for good or evil will remain the as beyond imagining. Indeed, statistical survivors but we are same imperfect specimen. everything that has occurred still out there, a senior cadre I can hope only that this in the long lifetime my number message resonates beyond the implies—and having seen with of wisdom and experience periphery of the words in this my own eyes the ups and downs that cannot and must not be issue. Perhaps those who bear of the past—offers lessons too consigned to the rubbish bin of my number and beyond will be invaluable to be dismissed. regarded with the frame of “listen, contemporary history. To throw that demographic consider, and learn.” of which I am a proud and lucky Oh yes, my category. I was member on the rubbish heap of born seven months after “Lucky Lindy” made his solo flight irrelevance is a critical mistake. Technology may radically over the Atlantic to Paris. It was a helluva year. You do change many things, but personally witnessed and livedthe math. through experience tells us that human nature,

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3rd Act magazine | winter 2018


Photo by Teri Thompson Randall




We are sitting at a table in the midst of the stacks at University Book Store in Seattle—Dr. Charles Johnson, Sharyn Skeeter, and me. And we are lost.

We are lost in a conversation about spending leisure time in the arts, or perhaps, better put, finding ourselves through the arts—about taking great escapes in reading, writing, music, film, drama, painting, drawing, sculpture, everything. Johnson and Skeeter are making point after point about our capacity as human beings to leap into worlds other than those that demand “face time,” as they say, every single day—the “must-dos,” the messages insistent on some kind of reply, the ubiquitous, screeching headlines, the endless tasks. All of those tasks. So many that few of us make time for even the briefest of pauses, even when those “escapes” are right in front of us. That’s when Charles Johnson, renowned author and professor emeritus at the University of Washington, gets up and takes off. He’s away into the stacks. Where is he going?

Aging with Confidence


To get a book. It’s one of his, The Way of the Writer. He has points he wants to make; not just his, mind you, but those of other writers and artists. And they are right there, in print. In a few minutes, he’s back and has opened the book. He reads from the writings of philosopher Martha Nussbaum: “The point is that in the activity of literary imagining we are led to imagine and describe with greater precision, focusing our attention on each word, feeling each event more keenly—whereas much of actual life goes by without that heightened awareness, and is thus, in a sense, not fully or thoroughly lived.” Johnson smiles; Skeeter nods. It is the focus we bring that lets us transcend, and learn. It doesn’t matter so much where we are or what we’re doing, but the focus we bring to that doing—in this case, to the arts. Skeeter is a teacher, writer, and editor with credits at Essence and Mademoiselle magazines, and she puts it this way: “You have to pay attention. Earlier in my life, I was just reading whatever. Now I’m actually seeking out things that will enrich my life in a certain way. You get to a point where you say I have a certain amount of more years, so I need to be…reading things that have some purpose.” Both have been involved in arts-related endeavors practically all their lives. In fact, it could be said that the arts and humanities are Johnson’s life, with a dossier that (CONTINUED ON PAGE 28)

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we live in the midst of a great mystery.” To Skeeter, it’s all of that and more: “You’ve lived a lifetime, so you’re bringing all of that to your experience.” In that hour or two that you attend a performance or make a piece of art or browse in a museum or write a poem, “you’re getting a full experience of something that you might not have gotten before.” With the laughter of a writer who’s just made a wonderful discovery, she says, “It’s like condensed art!” So, what do we gain? Perhaps this, the very first words Johnson quotes in The Way of the Writer: We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. —T.S. Eliot

Charles Johnson at his writing desk with his grandson.

includes novelist, short-story writer, essayist, cartoonist, illustrator, screenwriter…the accomplishments go on and on. His passion for the arts has never flagged—more than likely, it’s stronger than ever, which is why he remains such an ardent arts proponent and participant. To hear him tell it, what we gain by making sure at least a part of our leisure is spent in the arts in some fashion— movies, music, theater, photography, painting, and more— is vital. It is our responsibility, then, to dive in. But where? There is no shortage of local theater, museums, galleries, and bookstores. And practically every single one of them offers lectures, readings, discussions, classes—many of them free. In all those arenas, the Seattle area enjoys some of the best in the country. Or, here’s a radical idea: Do it yourself. Write, paint, act, sing—opportunities abound. And then, you’ll find, so do wonders. It shouldn’t be hard for any of us to remember a moment in our early years when that “wonder” first happened. Ah, but then we work, we pay bills, we meet deadlines, we slog through. We forget. And now? Well, perhaps it’s time to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear. To remember. “You have to go back to that original sense of mystery and wonder that first drew you to it,” Johnson says. “I think in retirement that’s the time you can do that, if not for any other goal or objective than the love of beauty and the sense that art reminds us and stories remind us that


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Terry Tazioli works part time at University Book Store in Seattle. He left The Seattle Times in 2008 and since then has been serving in various volunteer positions, hosted a national PBS book show called WellREAD, and now co-hosts an online and on-air book club produced by the bookstore and KOMO-TV’s Seattle Refined afternoon program.


Seattle is a consistent number one as the most bookish city in the country—and one of the very few U.S. cities that practically every author with a new book insists on visiting. Bookstores that offer numerous author events: • University Book Store—ubookstore.com, 800-335-7323. The state’s oldest and biggest bookstore; several branches in the area. • Third Place Books—thirdplacebooks.com, 206-366-3333. Three Seattle area locations. • Elliott Bay Book Company—elliottbaybook.com, 800-962-5311. On Capitol Hill. Organizations offering author appearances: • Town Hall—townhallseattle.org, 206-652-4255. Its First Hill location in Seattle is closed for renovation in 2018 so events are held around the city. • Seattle Arts and Lectures—lectures.org, 206-621-2230. Events for readers, writers and thinkers. Top-name authors. • Seattle Theatre Group—stgpresents.org, 206-682-1414. Authors, and arts in general. • Local libraries—get to know them. Author appearances and classes.

Interested in trying a little writing yourself? • Hugo House—hugohouse.org, 206-322-7030. Premier literary organization offering a number of classes. • Pacific Northwest Writers Association—pnwa.org, 425 -673-2665. Where writers meet—including those just starting out.




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Aging with Confidence

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Soothe Your Body and Soul at a Spa or Wellness Retreat Travel for yoga, meditation, and other forms of mind-body relaxation went mainstream during the 1960s, becoming part of our popular culture. Who can forget when the Beatles traveled to India in 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi—or when the 1969 Woodstock music festival kicked off with Sanskrit chanting? Of course, long before the Fab Four escaped to India for a retreat, cultures from Native Americans to the early Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans sought out hot springs for relaxation and therapy. Centuries later, entrepreneurs in Europe and the U.S. built health resorts to entice wellness-seekers, and a new generation of health vacation emerged in the 1950s when resorts including California’s Golden Door Spa began offering weight loss and fitness programs. Spas and retreat centers offer a menu


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“of re-inspiration that keeps mature minds and bodies nimble and open,” says David Seybert, who serves as the qigong and meditation instructor for the Ananda Center at Laurelwood near Portland. “And specific practices like yoga and qigong help with posture alignment and breathing, both important factors in overall well-being as we age.” The International Spa Association estimated there were more than 21,260 spas in the U.S. in 2016—and the Pacific Northwest offers plenty of places to jumpstart or rejuvenate a practice of relaxation and mindfulness. Here are a few of them: Carson Hot Springs Resort, located in the Columbia River Gorge, still takes advantage of the area’s mineral waters with soaks in the original cast iron tubs installed in the 1923 bathhouse. Resort owners say the water’s mineral composition can reduce pain, stress, and the impacts of digestive disorders. A Carson Springs soak is typically followed by a relaxing linen wrap in a darkened room. Guests can also have a massage or take


a sauna. Rustic resort accommodations are available for an overnight hot springs experience. Spa services and accommodations can be booked online at carsonhotspringresort.com or by calling 509-427-8296. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, built on the Olympic Peninsula in the 1880s, offers three outdoor mineral pools of varying temperature and depth. The mineralized water, a combination of rain and snow melt, has long been purported to cure a variety of illnesses. Poolside massages after a relaxing soak are available. The seasonal resort (open March through October) has cabins, RV sites, and a restaurant making it a destination hot springs vacation that can be combined with a walk in the Sol Duc Valley and exploring Olympic National Park. Reservations can be made at olympicnationalparks.com or 888-896-3818. Ananda Center at Laurelwood, located 26 miles west of Portland, is a nondenominational spiritual community based on yogic principles. The center offers personal

Aging with Confidence

Retreats on a Budget A multi-day retreat/spa stay can help you learn to integrate a relaxation practice into your daily routine, and there are ways to do it less expensively. Look for offseason, discount, or seasonal rates. Utah’s Red Mountain Resort offers package deals during its summer low season. Ananda at Laurelwood offers its First Timers’ Weekend Yoga and Meditation Retreat at a discounted price. And Carson Hot Springs extends a senior (over 62) discount as well as a mid-week discount for its hotel and mineral soaks. Or try a staycation retreat. Most health clubs and community recreation centers offer some type of mind/body integration class such as yoga or tai chi. Private yoga studios schedule a full range of classes. If you’re Medicare age, consider plans that offer a Silver Sneaker card, which many local health clubs will let you use to take classes. Or download a meditation app to your smartphone or tablet. Three highly rated apps that will talk you through a meditation session are the Mindfulness App, Headspace, and Calm.

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Previous Page: Steaming, inviting mineral hot pools at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort on the Olympic Peninsula (Photos courtesy of Aramark), Red Mountain Resort (Photos courtesy of Red Mountain) This page from top left: Hikers take in the beautiful red rock vistas at Red Mountain, Scenic Sol Duc Pools, Wellspring Cabin (Photo by Ann Randall)


retreats allowing guests to take part in a daily schedule of meditation and yoga classes, plus workshops devoted to learning qigong, meditation, or movement awareness. Vegetarian meals are communal, taken with guests and staff, and accommodations are simple and comfortable. A description of workshops, retreats as well as registration can be found at anandalaurelwood.org or by calling 503-746-6229. Yoga Lodge on Whidbey Island in Greenbank sits on a 10-acre site that includes four accommodation rooms, vegetarian breakfasts, a sauna, and meditative walking trails. The lodge offers group retreats and workshops as well as a daily schedule of group yoga classes for guests and the community. The lodge’s website describes upcoming workshops with registration links or you can call them for additional information. yogalodge.com or 360-222-3749. For a do-it-yourself experience, Wellspring Retreat and Spa at the base of Mt. Rainier has massages, hot tubs, a sauna, a meditation trail, and the Woodland Labyrinth set at the end of a magical stroll through

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the woods. Accommodations range from small log cabins to a fully equipped lodge and even a treehouse in a peaceful setting near Ashford. Lodging and spa reservations can be made on their website, wellspringspa.com For a full-on destination escape with the added bonus of winter sunshine, head south to Red Mountain Resort near St. George, Utah. The resort, named to Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of the world’s best destination spas, uses the area’s scenic red rock location for many of its activities. One fall day, guests could choose three different types of yoga classes, tai chi in nearby Snow Canyon, qigong, or a lecture on body alignment—or they could opt for a full-day hike in nearby Zion Park, a desert nature walk, bike riding, learning to paddleboard, or a leisurely day of facial and massage pampering in the spa. Get details at redmountainresort.com or 877-246-4453. Our acceptance of spirituality and wellness has turned what could have been a passing fad from our early years into more options for a robust and active life in our later years. And there is no better time than these dark and rainy winter days to stretch our minds and relax our bodies. Ann Randall is an independent traveler and writer who loves venturing to out-of-the-way locales from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. A former educator, she now observes international elections and does NGO volunteer work in India. Her articles have appeared in online and print publications and she maintains two blogs, PeregrineWoman.com and ExploreKitsap.com.


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our next great getaway may be only hours away. What is perhaps your greatest and most important escape happens every night when you snuggle your head (and your brain) into your pillow and gently drift off to sleep. Sleep provides a daily vacation for your hardworking brain, a time for cognitive rest and renewal. And during sleep, you dream. Dreams offer you an opportunity to escape the restrictions of normal reality and exercise the breadth and scope of your mental imagination. Like any good escape, sleep helps you turn away from the concerns of daily living, but it does so much more. Sleep shuts out the demands of the outside world and turns your focus inward. Our mind severs its links to the outside world and helpfully paralyzes our body. During sleep, the brain is concerned only with itself. Sleep frees our mind from the tyrannical demands of environmental awareness and liberates our body from the driving imperative to move and take action.Modern sleep research indicates that we sleep for two critical reasons: First, brain health is impaired without sleep. Your brain and the rest of your body need a chance to rest and renew. Waking activities are exhausting and they devour a massive amount of our body’s energy reserves. Just as you need to rest after vigorous exercise, you also need your nightly sleep to give your brain a chance to repair damage, renew energy resources, and restore balance to systems that are knocked out of kilter.


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Reason two: Learning is impaired without sleep, because it’s when your mind processes memories and learning. Your brain uses the peace and quiet of sleep to sort out what you have learned during the previous day, retaining impressions worth keeping and discarding trivial memories.

PREPARE FOR GREAT SLEEP Try to get eight solid hours of sleep every night. There are some indications that it is OK to break up this stretch into two four-hour blocks separated by a few hours of being awake. Researchers say this “Second Sleep” habit was common before electric lighting. For a good night’s sleep: • Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake at the same time each day. • Manage your sleep environment. Your brain is incredibly sensitive to light. Sleep in a dark room or wear a sleep mask; minimize use of blue-light screens like TVs, computers, smartphones, and tablets before bed; use motion-detection night lights for middle-of the-night bathroom trips. • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and other liquids later in the day. Don’t eat right before going to bed. • Exercise during the day. Stroll in the evening. • Try relaxation practices or meditating before turning in. • Understand and leverage sleep cycles. Most normal sleepers go through four to five sleep cycles per night. Each roughly 90-minute cycle has five stages of sleep that reflect our depth of sleep. Don’t worry about waking up for a while in between sleep cycles.


While all of this essential rest and renewal is going on, sleep also affords us the chance to escape into dreams, both normal and lucid. Of the two dream states, lucid dreaming is the most intriguing. These are the dreams in which the dreamer becomes aware that she or he is dreaming and is able to control the narrative of the dream. It is a safe, altered state in which two disparate states of consciousness (waking and sleep) are operating at the same time. There are wonderful examples of creative insights that have come to both scientists and artists in their dreams. Paul McCartney said he heard the melody for “Yesterday” in a dream. Albert Einstein had an insight about the theory of relativity while dreaming about downhill skiing. The idea for Frankenstein came to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley in a dream. Modern research into lucid dreams suggests that two different brain systems mediate waking and sleeping consciousness. The frontal lobes are in control during waking cognition and more primitive, subcortical areas dominate during sleep. Normally they take turns. But during lucid dreams, both systems operate at the same time, creating a hybrid form of consciousness. So tonight, savor your nightly opportunity to indulge in the great escape of sleep. You will protect and revitalize your brain. And who knows? You may take control of a vivid dream and be transported into a fantastic world created by your own imagination. 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.

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Sometimes the best move is to stay right where you are. At home.


It’s Just a Floatation Pod BY DORI GILLAM

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3rd Act magazine | winter 2018


Floating peacefully. Sensory neutrality. The sole sound is your own heartbeat. According to friends, experiencing a floatation pod is the ultimate feeling of weightlessness, Zen soothiness, a return to the womb. Thanks to a coupon and a few days in Whistler, BC, I was able to try it out. The receptionist showed me the first option: a simple coffin-sized water-filled pod with your choice of lid-open or lid-closed, piped in music or silence. Having watched just enough sci-fi to ruin the idea of lying in a dark death-pod of water, I chose option two: a private room with a four-foot wide shallow pool, no lid. She began her spiel. “Please shower and wash your hair. Cover any abrasions with the ‘special barrier cream.’ Use the earplugs. The water is highly salinated with 650 pounds of Epsom salts so you will float freely. From the pool, you can control the room lights, underwater pool lights, music, and emergency call button.” (An emergency in water two feet Is that the Jaws deep?) “For maximum relaxation, I suggest total darkness and silence. A bell will sound at theme playing in 60 minutes signaling the end of your session. my head? Until then, enjoy your sensory deprivation experience!” She left and closed the door with a And why was soft finality. someone taking a Earlier that day on a hike, a blackberry bush had pricked my ankle, so after showering I cheese grater to applied the “special barrier cream.” (Vaseline!) my ankle? I pushed in the earplugs and turned out the room lights but kept the blue underwater pool light on while I stepped in. I really was floating in two feet of water! I closed my eyes. Ahh. My friends were right. That tiny ankle cut stung a little. Then it began to hurt like someone pouring salt on a…OW! This was not relaxing. I got out, rinsed, dried my ankle, and applied a much thicker layer of Vaseline, pressing it into the pin-prick sized cut and covering it with a Band-Aid. Once back in the pool I enjoyed full relaxation; suspended, without treading water. I turned off the pool lights. It was cave-dark. Nothing but the sound of my heart beating. And beating. Loudly. Annoyed, I noticed I was not in sync with the rhythm of my own heartbeat. It was—off somehow, not timed at the pace of my inner peace. I wished I had listened more in meditation class. Make it stop! The salt began stinging its way into my ankle again. I opened my eyes. No longer comforted by the blackness, I turned the underwater blue light back on. Is that the Jaws theme playing in my head? And why was someone taking a cheese grater to my ankle? The drumbeat of my heart synched perfectly with the Jaws intro. Then my hungry stomach growled, magnified through my bones like a baleen whale sounding from the pool depths. I had to get out. The 60-minute bell must be ready to sound anyway. I showered, dressed, and went out to the bright world of reception. Only 13 minutes had passed. “How was it?” she said. Halfway through my story, she stifled a giggle and a snort. If you try it, go for the coffin-pods, but don’t watch Jaws the week before. Dori Gillam speaks on aging well, aging in community, and planning for a good death. As a Seattle native, she has a bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and has worked for Sound Generations, AARP, and the Center for Creative Aging.

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Love Safely What older adults need to know about sexually transmitted diseases BY TERI THOMSON RANDALL


3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

Sex is so good for us, on so many levels, that it’s tempting to overlook the risks. Nature designed it this way. This is why our species has survived and multiplied. We are sexual beings, and can enjoy sex at any age. Although pregnancy is no longer a concern for older adults, sexually transmitted infections remain a risk any time there is sexual contact—even if a condom is used, and even if no intercourse occurs. No one gets a pass from this biological reality, no matter what our age. Sexually transmitted diseases were once considered rare in older adults, but that is changing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports significant increases in STDs among adults 65 and over. Between 2010 and 2014, chlamydia infections increased by about 52 percent, syphilis infections rose by about 65 percent, and gonorrhea cases increased by more than 90 percent. To put this in perspective, in 2014, the CDC reported 2,616 cases of these three infections in adults aged 65 and older. That’s less than 1 percent of the infections reported in adults age 20 to 24 that year. So while STDs are hardly an epidemic in older people, it’s still an alarming trend. Oral cancers caused by the human papillomavirus are also on the rise for all ages. In fact, the incidence of mouth and throat cancers caused by HPV in men has now surpassed the incidence of HPVrelated cervical cancers in women, according to a recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Oral HPV infections are three times more common in men than in women, and, unlike cervical cancers, which can be detected by a Pap smear, there is currently no clinical screen for HPV-related oral and throat cancers. HPV is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection. Researchers believe that almost every sexually active person has been infected by a strain of the virus at least once. Most infections clear up on their own, but persistent infections can cause genital or oral cancers.

Women now have the option to screen for the presence of HPV in cervical cells during routine cervical cancer screening says HPV researcher Rachel L. Winer, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington. The HPV test, which was expanded into the clinical setting about five years ago, can be used in conjunction with the traditional Pap smear, which detects the presence of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Current guidelines recommend screening for cervical cancer in women ages 21 to 65 years with cytology (a Pap smear) every three years or, for those women who want to lengthen the screening interval, a combination of cytology and HPV testing every five years. The guidelines recommend against screening for cervical cancer in women older than 65 if they have had adequate prior screening and are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer. “Screening with Pap smears and/or HPV testing are very effective for preventing cervical cancers,” stresses Winer. More than half of invasive cervical cancers are diagnosed in patients who are not up to date with Pap screening or have never had a Pap smear, and one-quarter of women who should be screened are not compliant with screening guidelines. “A positive HPV result can cause a lot of anxiety and concern,” says Winer. “It’s important for women and men to know that if the woman tests positive for HPV, it doesn’t mean that it’s a new infection. It could be a reemergence from a prior infection, perhaps from decades earlier. This is important from a relationship perspective. It doesn’t mean that either partner has been unfaithful.” Winer notes many possible reasons for the increased incidence of sexually transmitted infections in older adults. Baby boomers initiated the sexual revolution. We have been, and continue to be, more sexually active than our parents’ generation. We are in better health. Divorce and dating are more common. So is Viagra. Scientists have developed more sensitive screening methods. And even within a long-term, monogamous relationship, a virus picked up decades earlier can resurface. Sex carries risk. That could change in the future with vaccines and other advances—but we already have the capacity to learn the facts, get tested, talk openly with our intimate partner, make love, and be kind. At every age. Teri Thomson Randall is a journalist, photographer, and filmmaker residing in Seattle. Her writing experience spans the arts and sciences, including staff writing positions at the Journal of the American Medical Association and Pasatiempo, the weekly arts magazine of the Santa Fe New Mexican. She holds graduate degrees in microbiology, science communication, and film production.

Aging with Confidence



he development of the human papillomavirus vaccine presents a tremendous opportunity to prevent HPV-related genital and oral cancers in young people. Older adults can play an important role by promoting the vaccine for their children and grandchildren, says Rachel L. Winer of the University of Washington. The vaccine protects against nine types of HPV, including the seven most carcinogenic types that cause most cervical cancers. It also provides protection against some anal, penile, vaginal, and oral cancers, Winer says. The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys, she adds, so “talk to your grandsons, too!” The vaccine protects recipients and their partners. But as of last year, only 65 percent of girls and 50 percent of boys in the U.S. had completed the vaccine, which requires two or three doses (depending on age). The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices currently recommends the HPV vaccine for routine vaccination at age 11 or 12 years. (It can be started at age 9.) The CDC also recommends vaccination for females ages 13-26 and males ages 13-21 who have not been adequately vaccinated previously. Vaccination is also recommended through age 26 for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, and for immunocompromised persons (including those with HIV infection) not adequately vaccinated previously. Ideally, adolescents should be vaccinated before they are exposed to HPV. However, people who have already been infected with one or more HPV types can still get protection from other HPV types. Older adults can also receive some protection from the vaccine, Winer says, even if they were infected with one or more HPV types earlier in life. Insurance does not cover the vaccine in older adults, she notes, but for people who are concerned about exposure to new infections, the vaccine “may still be a reasonable choice.” If you believe you are at risk, it’s worth discussing with your doctor.

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Attitude Fitness with an


Mambo salsa fills the air: all staccato drums, soaring horns, and maracas.Women with sweat-slicked hair shimmy to the beat, movement that’s ecstatically exaggerated by the chatter of coins on their belly-dance skirts. Then comes the chorus—jog in place, arms in air, four hallelujah-I’m-a-believer shouts: “Hey, hey, hey, hey!” And the leader of this high-energy Zumba Gold dance class at Seattle’s Greenwood Senior Center? It’s Penny Fuller, 75. Across town in West Seattle, Harold’s Fitness club reverberates with grunts of exertion followed by the metallic clank of weights released. A woman concentrates on leg extensions. She tucks her ankles under the padded weight and slowly lifts up, forehead shiny from effort. This is Harold Calkins’ domain, his fiefdom of fitness. In black sweats and a jauntily tilted black beret, he puts clients through their paces, as he has for decades— and continues to do at age 80. Fuller and Calkins gleefully defy stereotypes, limits, and conventional expectations. Maybe there’s a thing or two we can learn from them. A Zumba instructor for more than a decade, Fuller was introduced to it on a trip to Mazatlan, Mexico, where she now teaches during the Seattle winter. “I thought it was so cool that when I got back home I took a class. I knew I had to do this,” she recalls. “I think of it as an hour away from your mind. The music sweeps you away. It’s mental freedom and great exercise.” Zumba Gold is different from the original Latindance party, she says. “There’s a longer warm up and cool down. The beat is slower, not as many spins and we avoid jumping. We also work on balance and stretching.”


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What it does have in common with “regular” classes is the joy of dancing with abandon, heightened by those belly-dance scarves laden with coins. Fuller keeps a bag of them nearby for anyone who wants one. “It’s not going to make noise if you’re not moving,” she says, smiling. The dancing is good for bones, heart, and lungs, but it also revives the soul. Pam James, 75, fell ill a couple of years ago with pneumonia. “I couldn’t do much. I was weak. I was depressed.” Somebody told her about a chair-exercise class at the senior center, which she began attending, and she was later encouraged to try Fuller’s class. “I didn’t think I could do it, but Penny said do what you can, take breaks, and keep your arms moving.” Two years later? “I feel Penny saved my life. I’m much stronger, not depressed,” she says, laughing. “It’s hard to be depressed in Zumba.” “Penny brings so much joy to it and brings us together,” adds Jane Irwin, 69. “We’re a community. That can be hard to find if you’re retired or older.” As for Calkins, he was into body-building before there was a fitness industry other than the likes of Charles Atlas or Jack LaLanne. “I’ve stayed with it this long because it gives me personal satisfaction,” he says. “I have a lady here who started working out with me at 56. She’s 93 now.” Yelp reviews show that he’s got a devoted following: “Harold is hilarious, competent and absurdly wellpriced…They don’t make them like this anymore. And that’s a shame.” Another client posts: “Harold will www.3rdActMag.com

keep you motivated and give you ‘the eye’ if you are slacking.” Calkins’ no-nonsense motto for getting or staying fit as you age is printed on the back of his sweatshirt. It reads: “You don’t stop working out because you’re old. You’re getting old because you stopped working out.” He believes his greatest gift to older adults is independence. “I was on a panel and asked what I do for my clients,” he says. “The answer is I give them the freedom of mobility, mobility their bodies need so they can go out and do what they want—golf or just climb stairs.” “I give students the kind of class I want to take,” Fuller says. “Warm me up, work me over, stretch me out, and I’m ready for the day.” By the way, neither Fuller nor Calkins is remotely considering retirement. “I have the best job in the world,” says Calkins. “I get to come here every day with all my friends and help them work out.” Fuller agrees. “I love my life,” she says. “This keeps me going and inspired.”

“Dancing is good for bones,

heart, and lungs-it also revives the soul.”

Connie McDougall is a former news reporter and current freelance writer of nonfiction and personal essays. A lifelong student and proud English major, she has pursued lessons in flying, scuba diving, tai chi, Spanish, meditation, hiking and, most recently, Zumba.

The Zumba Zone

To find a class near you: Go to Zumba.com and click on “Find a Zumba Class.” Type in your zip code, choose the class type you’re looking for (such as Zumba Gold), then hit “Search.” At the top of the page, click on the date you want to attend. A list of classes and a map offers the classes available. Also check your local senior centers, community centers, and gyms for classes. Just a word to the guys: Although Zumba students tend to be women, men are always welcome and many do attend classes.

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Kyle Ciminski is a personal trainer at the Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center in Anacortes. He holds over 30 professional certifications, and you can reach him at kyleciminskitraining @gmail.com or at 360-969-1386. Learn more at trainwithkyle.com.


IT’S WINTER—EVERYONE INTO THE POOL! The latest trend in fitness might sound familiar: It’s water sports. Water-based exercise is becoming more popular as fitness professionals expand their roster of classes and lessons. Your local pool is a valuable resource all year round to keep your workout routine fresh and exciting, and it’s less expensive than a trip to the beach. Water sports can provide a multi-dimensional range of movement that activates different muscle groups while alleviating pressure on the joints. Many people find water activity an enjoyable way to get cardiovascular exercise with a low risk of injury. Water aerobics is growing in popularity, with both shallow and deep water classes, but this is not the water aerobics you might remember. Equipment and routines are all evolving. Rather than using foam dumbbells, many facilities have adopted plastic drag systems for both barbells and dumbbells. These allow participants to challenge themselves to the best of their abilities. Beginners and advanced athletes can work side by side with the same equipment but different levels of intensity. Another new class that’s rising in popularity is aquatic spin classes based around specialized stationary bikes that are designed to be used in the water. (The athlete is submerged in water only up to mid-chest level, so don’t worry…you won’t need to hold your breath!) The activity was developed for rehabilitation, but physical therapists noted that adding resistant fins to the bike can make this a challenging workout. It’s more than just leg exercise; it will work your respiratory system and your core. I instruct my clients to tighten their abdomens as they pedal

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to increase their overall workout on the bike. These bikes might not be at every facility, but I recommend speaking to pool management about availability. While there many new techniques and classes to try at the pool, the most popular swim exercise is still swimming laps. This total body activity challenges your cardiovascular health and strength. Not everyone is a natural-born swimmer, and if you’re not, don’t be intimidated. There are many ways to ease yourself into swimming. If performing arm strokes with kicking feels overwhelming or tiring, hold a kickboard with your arms. This allows you to focus only on kicking while you become more relaxed and comfortable in the water. You can keep your head up or practice exhaling into the water while lifting your head up to breathe when you need to. This kicking exercise will allow you to strengthen your hips, knees, and ankles. Remember to engage your abdominal muscles, too. Don’t think this is a beginner-only routine. Swimmers at all levels practice this technique. Want to work your arms instead? Ask a trainer how to use a pull buoy between your legs to focus on arm movement. Water exercises are some of the most recommended routines by physical therapists. If this is a new form of exercise for you, don’t be afraid to seek out lessons or classes to help improve your technique and learn new moves.




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Aging with Confidence


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The intensity lasts: Hall of Fame ring coming at you on the end of a jab.

In 1973

as he was climbing to the top ranks of welterweights in the world, Armando Muñiz accepted my invitation to speak to a masters’ class for high school Spanish teachers at Eastern Washington University. He was a different sort of fighter, combining a professional athletic career with ongoing college studies. It was very good for us. And the clear air around Priest Lake in North Idaho turned out to be good for him, too. Three weeks later he KO’d the always dangerous Ernie “Indian Red” Lopez in seven rounds. I recently spoke with one of those teachers, who, now retired, can still turn her hand to deliver a proper right cross—the “preciosa derecho” for which Muñiz became famous. She often recalls her discussion with Armando on the irony of old Don Quixote trying to live an ideal life in “modern” society. We’re all still learning from “Mando el Hombre” Muñiz. Chocolate and God in El Paso, 1954

Little Armando was 8 years old and loved the taste of chocolate. His mother sent him to the corner store with just enough money for milk and bread. When the clerk’s back was turned, Armando slipped a Hershey Bar into his pocket. When the man asked, “Is that all son?”, Armando paid and rushed out of the store. He had barely cleared the door—its jingly bell was still ringing—when two cars crashed in the intersection. “I was white as a sheet when I ran into the kitchen,” he recalls. His mother asked, “¿qué te pasó?” and he told her about the wreck. She

Aging with Confidence

said, “I know that scared you, but what’s really wrong?” He had to confess. Josefa Muñiz raised her children to fear an allknowing God, and said the accident would not have happened had he not stolen the candy bar, darted out of the store, and startled one of the drivers. That moral sense has guided him constantly as a boxer, as a high school teacher, and in his community and family life. “But I still love chocolate,” he says with a smile. Courage to Grow Up

Armando’s father, Sabino Muñiz, an old-school construction foreman with roots in Texas and Chihuahua, preached education leads to opportunity, while encouraging his shy second child to grow up and “act like a man!” Armando does a booming impersonation—“¡pórtate como un hombre!, ¡pórtate como un hombre!” Per his dad’s guidance, he did. He lied about his age (he was 13) and entered a regional Golden Gloves competition. He threw himself into training by pounding a homemade heavy bag for hours—and he quit eating candy. When forced to ask for a ride to the evening event (he’d have sneaked out on the bus but they quit running at 10 p.m.—and his mom didn’t drive), his dad pointed out that he knew nothing about fighting and would ¡¡¡get killed!!! This outburst showed he was well aware young Armando was doing precisely what he wanted on his own terms. Dad had been had. But he admired a bold act, so Sabino and his brothers

loaded up the car and took Armando to the fights. Armando’s opponent was 16, much taller and more experienced. “He hit me much more than I hit him, but he had no punch, so I kept moving forward and carried the fight to him inside,” he recalls. Afterward his father and uncles treated him to ice cream—a tradition Armando kept alive with his own kids later. Armando “lost” that fight on points—but he’d “won.” He did far better than anyone thought he would. He learned to love sport. He learned to love training. He’d found a passion that would drive the first part of his life. Acting Like a Man

Dad’s work took the family to southern California where Armando’s skills in football and wrestling at Artesia High School led to college degrees in education, Spanish, and math. (To this day he regrets not taking the final exam in one course for a master’s degree in counseling—but a title fight seemed more pressing at the time). He was 22 years old in 1968, a time of great unrest across the country, with the war in Vietnam. Directions, decisions, risks: career, education, marriage? Armando became a citizen, got his draft notice, and proposed to Yolanda Lamas. His focus stayed firm—he would be a prizefighter, they’d have a family. They did it. Yolanda was and is as fearless as Armando. Private Muñiz fought for the USA, but not in the usual way. Sent to Kentucky to train with the Army boxing team, he defeated the other service branches’ welterweights and

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From the left: With wife Yolanda, Mando and Carlos Palomino during the fight of the year in 1975, Armando in his home office.

went to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. “The proudest moment of my life was representing my country in the Olympics,” he says. Dark Lessons

Muñiz fought four times for the world welterweight title. He “won” in March 1975 by defeating the great Cuban-Mexican champion, José “Mantequilla” Nápoles in Acapulco. Mando’s “preciosa derecha” got lots of work that night—and the doctor stopped the action in the 12th round. Clearly a technical knockout. But then things went sideways. The World Boxing Council president at ringside talked to the referee, who awarded the fight to Nápoles. It was a scandal that rocked the boxing world. Mando was proclaimed “campeón sin corona” by enthusiasts all around the globe. Legendary boxing announcer Jimmy (“It’s Showtime!”) Lennon Jr. has probably witnessed more title fights than anyone on Earth, and he says, “Mando was robbed. It’s not


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idle talk to say he’s the uncrowned welterweight champion.” The last irony was Armando’s. He inducted Nápoles into the WBC Hall of Fame saying, “The two best welterweights in the 20th century were Sugar Ray Robinson and José Nápoles. I had the honor of fighting one of them.” Of course, everybody present knew. The Next Act

The title would have lifted the Muñiz family to a new level of economic prosperity. These days Mando says he’s fine and forgives. But “what ifs” lurk in all of us. He talks of God saving him by not making him world champion, since he’s known successful friends who ruined their lives by giving in to drink, drugs, and fast women. From the beginning Armando knew prizefighting was temporary. He retired in 1978. His trainer insisted it was time. And he listened. Armando accepted a teaching and coaching position at Rubidoux High School in Riverside, California, where he worked for 23 years. Mr. Muñiz

loved the kids. And it was part of community involvement that he and Yolanda have long enjoyed. Yolanda and Armando will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. Armando is in good shape for any 71-year-old. He attributes his health to years of training as a wrestler, to reading, and to studying calculus (his hardest subject in college). “I want to show everybody that an old boxer can do numbers in his head,” he says. Sunday family get-togethers are joyful, with memories of a favorite movie, Nacho Libre with Jack Black, and of the kids being towed up the hot California canyons on plastic sidewalk trikes, and of dad doing the “Rocky-on-the-steps scene” long before Sylvester Stallone did it on the big screen. Now in his third act, Armando continues to go the distance in everything he does. Perry Higman was born in Seattle and traveled by car with his parents and grandparents all around the western U.S. He taught Spanish, English, and creative writing at Eastern Washington University and has also worked as a ranch hand and horseshoer. He loves motor racing, rodeo, and the mountains. See a list of his books at highpeaksbooks.com.




The Longest Journey. The Shortest Walk BY ASHLEY T. BENEM


find myself seated in my favorite comfortable chair looking out at the winter landscape of ice and snow. The fire in the stove warms my cozy cabin. I light a candle on the side table and drop into my practice. Slowly and surely I make my journey into the wildest place I know. This journey is not for the faint of heart. I think it requires devotion to get there. The long journey into self. We have an inherent human need to go home. This biological yearning can be anything from a dull nudge to a full-panic alarm at different phases of our lives. So often we hear of folks who moved back to their childhood or ancestral area later in life. Do we really go home to die? The instinct is documented by poets, filmmakers, psychologists, and spiritual teachers. The defining characteristics of home are different to each person. Yet, some common themes appear: • A place of belonging • A place of unconditional love • A place of rest or recovery • A place where you can collect your thoughts and create a new plan of action • A place of nonjudgment, forgiveness, and compassion • A place of joy and happiness • Landscapes we recognize and feel a deep connection to Have you heard these sayings before:

Aging with Confidence

As within, so without; or microcosm equals macrocosm; or even as above so below? Well, seeker, if you cannot find these characteristics within your own self, you will not be able to find them out in your world either. Home is within. Your true sense of belonging is anchored deeply within you. So going home doesn’t require a long drive over the mountains. It requires you to sit still. Breathe deeply into your own body and physical sensations. Some call it meditation. Some say it’s a spiritual practice. I definitely agree it’s something to practice. This place of stillness asks me to listen only to my own words. Not to replay scenes from the past or entertain (or terrorize) myself with thoughts of the future. It begs me to surrender all my normal patterns and processes and just sit still. In this surrender I feel my heart. I feel my body, my own vitality and that which fans my creativity. We let down our guards, barriers, and our burdens to just feel into the expansion of self. Meditation teachers often say “Let down your burdens and surrender to the flight.” This expansion of ease and delight has been well documented to increase health and wellness. In many cultures the stillness, surrender, release, expansion practice really is practice for the BIG RELEASE at the end of life. I have always found it to be helpful to practice before a test or performance. Why would death be any different? Practice walking that long journey into self and taking comfort in the cozy receptivity of your inner home. Play with surrendering of body, thought, patterns, and responses so that you might explore expansion. Repeat this journey often enough to make a clear path out of it. A well-traveled path free of impingements so that when the final walk down that path comes, it is smooth and well-practiced enough to be a dance. Journey well, seeker.

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Ashley T. Benem is the founder of the non-profit A Sacred Passing: Death Midwifery Service and the creator of the Art of Death Conference. She is an advocate for palliative and end-of-life care issues, empowering and supporting families to reclaim their right to die in congruence with their lives. Contact Ashley at asacredpassing@ gmail.com.

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Cultural Reconnection BY SALLY FOX

Coming Home

“I am African not because I was born in Africa; but because Africa was born in me.” This quote by Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah, speaks to the heart of Cultural Reconnection’s travel missions to Kenya. Since its founding in 2000, the organization has helped participating women of African descent connect deeply with Africa, explore their heritage, and learn about themselves. Dr. Maxine Mimms, the founder of Evergreen State College’s Tacoma campus, went on her first of seven missions when she was in her mid-70s. For her, a Cultural Reconnection mission “...wasn’t a trip. It was an experience. It changed my life.” Mimms, who had been to Africa twice as a tourist, knew what tourists do: see exotic sites, stay in good hotels, take photos, and buy souvenirs. Yet tourists stay detached from the culture and, all too often, exude an attitude of cultural superiority.

A Cultural Reconnection journey, she discovered, is not that. The two-week missions are immersions into Kenyan culture, based upon mutuality, colleagueship, and respect for local rites and rituals. While tourists often go to Africa to see how different it is, mission members go to Kenya searching for commonalities. Through their conversations with Kenyan colleagues, participants make deep friendships and lasting ties. In encountering a piece of their ancestral homeland, they develop a stronger sense of self. Cultural Reconnection was founded by Dr. Marcia Tate Arunga, a Seattle native who spent 11 years living in Kenya with her Kenyan husband and their children. While in Kenya, she started a business supporting local cotton manufacturers. After returning to Seattle with her husband, she began importing colorful cotton and traditional clothes from Kenya that she knew AfricanAmerican women were eager to buy. Through her business, Arunga found herself serving as a cultural ambassador for Kenya, answering clients’ questions about the culture behind the clothes. When her sister-in-law, Phelgona Okundi, visited, Arunga hosted a tea for her with clients and friends and Okundi graciously invited the group to visit Kenya. The idea of Cultural Reconnection was born. Eighteen months later the first delegation of seven women traveled to Kenya. Since then, Arunga has hosted 73 women on 11 missions, with some participants returning multiple times. The spirit of welcome Throughout their visits, delegates continually hear the words “welcome” and “welcome home.” They participate in Kenyan culture, eating the food, participating in local rituals and, if they desire, wearing colorful traditional garments. Each mission starts out in Nairobi to give the groups time to acclimate to Kenya while enjoying the familiarity of urban life, with its congestion and conveniences. Then they travel to the city of Kisumu, where Arunga raised her children, before leaving behind both traffic and conveniences to visit rural sites and villages. Dr. Mimms at The Evergreen State College Tacoma campus (Photo by Dani Winder/The Evergreen State College)


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Throughout the mission, Kenyan and AfricanAmerican women dialogue about their lives, professions, families, and concerns. Mayet Dalila, a community organizer from Seattle, was initially intimidated when Arunga asked her to address Kenyan health leaders. Knowing the trip was stretching her to grow, she made a presentation describing her work with HIV/AIDS. Dalila says, “You get thrown in and you rise to the occasion.” When African-Americans travel to Africa, they sometimes meet a response they don’t understand. To the Kenyans, these strangers are “negroes.” As an elder asked the Cultural Reconnection mission, “You keep calling yourself African-American but where do you come from in Africa?” Kenyans know their lineage, often 10 generations back. Arunga recounts a magical moment during the first mission when her group tried to explain their culture to a group of Kenyan elders, describing how AfricanAmericans had come from many parts of Africa before they were captured, taken to the coast and shipped away, leaving few, if any, records of their lineages Listening to this story one of the elders lit up with an epiphany. She said simply, “Oh, you are the Stolen Ones.” This elder had been taught, throughout her life, to include prayers for the “stolen ones” when she prayed for her ancestors. The Stolen Ones were children who had gone to a village market and never returned. Legend had it that one day a traveler revealed how, when he was on the coast, he had seen hordes of children being boarded onto boats. He suggested to the villagers that their lost children might still be alive. The elder shared that she had never fully understood the significance of the Stolen Ones. Now she did. The descendants of the Stolen Ones were sitting before her. These women were her family. No longer strangers For many in the Cultural Reconnection group, including Arunga, this moment was life-changing. They learned that people had been praying for them for many years. They had been remembered. They were no longer strangers. They belonged. They had a homeland. Now as the groups travel in Kenya, Arunga says

Aging with Confidence

“People treat us as if we’re home.” Delegation alumni have gone on to participate in joint social ventures with Kenyan communities in areas like education, healthcare, water, and income generation. The alumni contribute, not to provide charity, but because they care about their ancestral homeland. When the missions travel, African women leaders often accompany them for portions of the trip. The groups are honored and welcomed wherever they go. In Kisumu, the mayor always greets them. On one visit, she announced a surprise: Barack Obama’s grandmother, Sarah, who lived in a village two hours away, wanted to meet them. Several of the groups have now met with Sarah Obama and she has told them, “I’m so happy to meet Barack’s sisters.” For Maxine Mimms, now 89, watching older African women changed her relationship to aging. In America, Mimms said, older people are “conveniently dependent” and spend a lot of time complaining. In Kenya, elders are not accommodated when they board a bus or walk long distances. Yet they don’t complain. In fact, many live with joy. Mimms says elders are “inconveniently independent,” suggesting that this might be a better model for aging here as well. On her trips, Mimms learned to roll with inconveniences like bouncing over large potholes while riding on buses. Yet in so doing, she experienced her own joy. She made permanent friends. Mimms says, “Kenya is what is helping me live in America.” For her, the most important gift of the missions was personal growth. Cultural Reconnection “caused me to live longer. It gave me life. It’s what has kept me alive.” Even today, when she can no longer travel to Africa, Africa lives in her. In Kenya, she says, “I reclaimed myself.” Sally Fox is a coach, speaker, podcaster, and owner of Engaging Presence and is currently working on a book about finding your creative work in the third act of life.

Dr. Marcia Arunga will take her next mission to Africa in 2019. For information or to obtain a copy of Arunga’s book for children, The Stolen Ones, email craakewo@gmail.com.

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Becoming a Travel Writer A Passion for Seeing the World Finds New Focus


n the brisk March my first adult job, I’d wandered weather, as I stood mostly solo through Europe with pondering Estonia’s an outdated copy of Europe on $5 iconic Song Festival Grounds, a Day as my guide. Later, scraping it was hard to imagine the vast, together money and vacation days, empty stadium filled with the I continued to travel whenever I combined choir of hundreds of could—through jobs, marriage, smaller choirs lifting their voices divorce, single parenthood, solo, in choral defiance of the Soviet with friends, with my son. So it Union’s occupation. But trying made sense that my backpack—now to visualize it was important. I a roller bag—would keep going was there to write a story about when I retired. BY ANN RANDALL Estonia’s Singing Revolution, There was one problem. Despite which helped bring down the Iron Curtain in my economical travel strategies (air mile hacks, 1991. hostels, public transportation, and mostly budget Two months earlier I’d known very little about countries), travel is expensive, particularly if the Baltic country’s story. Now, while standing you’re maintaining a home base. I wasn’t ready there, I tried to recall where the Iron Curtain to abandon my roots for a nomadic lifestyle, no boundaries lay beyond Berlin. What had I learned matter how many baby boomer blogs promote it. from watching Walter Cronkite? My knowledge Facebook friends had appreciated my travel gaps were bigger than I’d thought, which is posts and photos from my trips. I liked to write usually the case in my rebooted life as a travel and was reasonably good at it. I loved to research. writer. However, that’s precisely why I keep doing And I wanted an identity: a business card with it. Travel writing keeps me humble and it keeps a title so I wouldn’t have to admit to my new me learning. seatmate on the plane/train/bus that my job title I’ve always been a journeyer. As a child, I’d was retiree. Travel writing seemed the perfect be first to the mailbox the day the new National fit. Many published articles into my reboot, I Geographic arrived. My bedroom walls had maps can report the transition was filled with lots of instead of Beatles posters. I’d relished family learning. And some ego readjustment. road trips—four kids, our parents, plus gear and I’d been a teacher, but I had to relearn writing sometimes the family dog stuffed into the Ford for magazines and websites. My former careers station wagon. Between the end of college and never expected me to market or invoice my work.


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Though an active Facebook user, I needed to learn other social media platforms (as I did just this week taking Pinterest instruction from a 21-yearold fellow travel blogger). I could take a picture, but not a publication-worthy photo. And learning to take rejection and edits with grace was harder than I thought. It turns out there’s an entire community of support—classes, workshops, online groups for writers, kind editors, and “atta-girl” friends and family to cheer every newly published article. Traveling as a writer changed me as a traveler. Since I depart with writing assignments and a focus, I do far more research before leaving. I travel deeper into a slice of my destination than I would have previously. And because I’m always on the lookout for additional stories to pitch, I engage locals in more conversations and explore with more abandon. My rebooted identity makes me braver. As a card-carrying travel writer in research mode, I do things solo I would have never done previously—bellying up to a cowboy

Aging with Confidence

bar in small-town Montana, slogging through the Amazon jungle on a guided night hike, eating guinea pig. Last July, I saw the Song Festival Grounds again when the stadium hosted Estonia’s quinquennial Youth Song and Dance Festival. A 150-year-old tradition, the performances showcased 25,700 young singers, ranging in age from 4 to 24 from 700 youth choirs singing to an audience of over 10,000. It was the first festival in 76 years in which all the singers were “children of freedom,” born after Estonia’s independence. Though I’d published articles from my earlier trip, sourced from interviews and research, this time the experience was visceral instead of envisioned. It was National Geographic come alive. I’ve discovered that this rebooted version of me is my younger self 55 years later, racing to the mailbox for National Geographic. Now, though, the wall-sized map is no longer just for daydreaming; it’s filled with pins—green for where I’ve been and red for where I’m going.

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Where in the World

are Debbie and Michael Campbell? Everywhere is home for this pair of nomadic former Seattle residents BY JULIE FANSELOW


3rd Act magazine | winter 2018


Where is home? For Debbie and Michael Campbell, the answer is everywhere—at least for now, almost five years into their odyssey as self-described “senior nomads.” These full-time travelers are seeing the world for roughly the same money they’d spend on a frugal retirement in Seattle, where they lived most of their lives. “We’re not on vacation,” says Michael. “We’re just living our lives a week or two weeks at a time in other people’s homes.” This has been going on since July 2013, shortly after the Campbells’ daughter Mary (who lives in France) spied her parents’ bucket-list of dream destinations and asked whether they’d heard of the home rental website Airbnb. They hadn’t, yet they were intrigued by the idea of staying in people’s homes and living like locals. But was it feasible? Once Michael crunched the numbers with the help of their financial planner, the couple decided it was and they set off for six months in Europe. The Campbells enjoyed their travels so much that they eventually wound up selling their Lower Queen Anne home, which they’d rented out the first two years they were gone. “You have to be willing to let go of stuff,” says Debbie. The Campbells look for homestays that cost about $90 a night—less in some cities, more in others. A kitchen is a must, since they save money by buying groceries and cooking their own meals. They also economize by taking public transportation and by shopping for travel bargains—easier to do when your plans are flexible. Before long, their adventures caught the attention of executives at Airbnb, who began championing their quest. In fact, inspired in part by the Robert DeNiro movie The Intern, Debbie and Michael recently spent 10 weeks as “senior interns” at Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters. They’ve also published a book about their experiences (Your Keys, Our Home), and maintain a website listing all their travels (seniornomads.com), plus an active

Aging with Confidence

social media presence. In their professional lives, Michael was an events promoter and Debbie owned a design and marketing business—skills that have served them well in their long-term travels. “I look for what we’re going to do, what we’re going to eat, what we’re going to see and Michael gets us there and keeps us on budget,” Debbie says. The most important thing, they agree, is that they enjoy each other’s company, even after 40 years together. “We’re both rowing the boat in the same direction,” Debbie says. “We both wanted to do this, so the planning becomes fun.” And though the Campbells do take in some sights at their destinations, they spend much of their time as they would if

Start Packing After nearly five years and 70 countries, the Campbells have perfected the art of traveling and living light. Among their tips: One suitcase per person is all you need—and Debbie and Michael even manage to include their own feather pillows in their large roller bags. (They do still have a storage unit in Seattle where they can refresh their wardrobes when they’re back in town.) Debbie is often asked whether she’d do this on her own. She says she would—and that home-sharing is ideal for older single travelers since you’ll have a local host who expects you and is concerned for your safety. If you do travel with a partner, allow time to pursue independent interests. Michael likes to find the local soccer games, while Debbie has taken classes in cooking and painting. The Campbells say extended homestays are a good way to scout out possible retirement locations, too, apt to give you a more realistic view of what a city or neighborhood is like than spending a few nights in a hotel.

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Julie Fanselow is an Airbnb user and host who travels every chance she gets. She writes about Seattle and other destinations for the new travelplanning website BinduTrips.com, and she is the copy editor for 3rd Act Magazine.

they were back in Seattle: reading, watching TV, playing Scrabble, doing laundry, and just hanging out. The Campbells say travel has become even more important since they began. “We have to double down on our diplomacy and be the kinder, gentler American out there,” says Debbie. Adds Michael, “Now’s the time to travel,” without fear and in a humble manner, eager to learn about other cultures and people. “Travel is transformational. It’s growth,” says Michael. “We’re lifelong learners, we’re curious. It’s invigorating—I’m 72, so I’m older—and I’m thankful to be given this opportunity.” By the time you’re reading this, the Campbells will be in Australia—or maybe Japan or China. Their Airbnb internship ended just before Thanksgiving, and they planned to spend the holidays housesitting

for friends in Seattle (where two of their four children still live), then seeing their daughter and her family in France. But after that, they weren’t sure, and that’s OK; they rarely plot their travels more than a month or so ahead of time. The Campbells’ journeys have given them wide geographical perspective and an expansive view of what it means to get older. “One of the real pleasures of what we’ve done is we’re meeting new people all the time,” Michael says. “We have more friends than when we left and that’s really a good feeling.” The Campbells say their Airbnb internship was energizing, and neither rules out going back to work, nor do they discount the possibility that they’ll someday settle down in one place. But for now, they say they’ll keep circling the globe—and finding home wherever they are.



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3rd Act magazine | winter 2018


Kofa National Wildlife Refuge near Yuma, AZ

Weathering Winter, Sunbird Style


Here are a few dry, sunny places to consider Let’s face it: It’s cold and wet here in the winter. Mother Nature’s chill is once again firmly entrenched in the Pacific Northwest. Those of us who wallow in our woolies are in our sweet spot. But for some of us, escaping the dark and damp for a drier, sunnier spot is a necessity. Thinking about flying south for the season? Kathy Edris is a Seattle-area resident who, together with her husband, Jim, has been spending about six months in Oro Valley, Arizona, for the past few years. She recommends that people ask themselves some questions before deciding where and how to head south. For example: Do I prefer an urban, suburban, or rural location? Do I want to make new friends, be part of a certain type of community, or am I looking for solitude? How do I want to spend my days and evenings? What is my budget? Do I need to be close to specialty medical care? For Jim, being able to ride his road bike every day is his top priority. And for Kathy, finding a group of friends with whom she could run is what she needed to feel at home. The “where” debate can be a big one. Perhaps the usual destinations come to mind: Phoenix, Tucson, Palm Springs, or even Miami. All are well known for receiving Northerners with open, sunny arms. Each has a plethora of places where temporary dwellers can live and enjoy the outdoors. But

Aging with Confidence

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES Number of sunny days per year: 290 (double that of Seattle) Average January low/ high temperatures: 57/28 degrees Average rental: $672 Key activities: geothermal pools, fishing, hiking, exploring ghost towns, visiting historical Native American dwellings, geology.

maybe you are looking for a winter nest off the beaten path, somewhere less urban, or perhaps even near a little snow—as long as you don’t need to shovel it. Here are a few spots in the Southwest that might fit the bill for you. Climate information and average prices for a two-bedroom home or apartment are from weather.com and BestPlaces.net. Truth or Consequences, New Mexico Just the name Truth or Consequences elicits intrigue from potential visitors. The town of approximately 6,100 people

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From left: Seattleite Kathy Edris winters in Oro Valley, AZ, The famous Ocean to Ocean Highway in Yuma, AZ, Wine with a view of Las Cruces, NM and the Organ Mountains, Greens and Palms in Desert Hot Springs, CA, Riverside hot springs at Truth or Consequences, NM

changed its name in 1950 in response to a challenge from the game show called Truth or Consequences. Its host encouraged places in the U.S. to change their name in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary—and Hot Springs, New Mexico, rose to the occasion. Truth or Consequences, or “T or C,” as locals call it, appeals to the quirky. This reputation may be based on its brightly painted architecture, or it could be from its focus on the healing arts, which include the town’s abundant and popular geothermal hot springs. The town’s vibe is a hybrid of retro and futuristic. David Pike, a writer LAS CRUCES Number of sunny who grew up in Truth or days per year: Consequences, describes 294 Average January low/ it as a great place to slow high temperatures: down. Las Cruces, New Mexico For sunbirds looking for a somewhat larger landing zone, Las Cruces may be just the ticket. A town of about 100,000, Las Cruces has a thriving arts scene and a robust seniors program, and


59/29 Average rental: $732 Key activities: Bird watching, biking, semi-weekly farmers and craft market, White Sands National Monument, symphony, ballet, outstanding Mexican food.

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it’s close to unique places to explore in nature. One resident of Las Cruces describes it as “down to earth.” Unlike some of the more common sunbird sites, Las Cruces is not thought to be fancy or posh. Like Truth or Consequences, it is considered an affordable place to live and prides itself on its economic and ethnic diversity. Yuma, Arizona With a true desert climate that’s the flip side of winter in the Puget Sound, Yuma is tucked into the southwestern corner of Arizona just across the Colorado River from California. The city’s population of just YUMA under 100,000 nearly doubles Number of sunny in winter as seasonal residents days per year: 308 arrive. Average January low/ Yuma’s historic Main Street high temperatures: has lots of restaurants, an 70/46 Average rental: active arts scene, and plenty $885 of local shops. If you’re in Key activities: Birdwatching, the market for some bargain bicycling, off-roading, dental care or new eyeglasses, fishing, golf, RV living, cross the border to San Luis medical tourism to Mexico, historic sites, Rio Colorado about 30 miles Arizona Winter League away, where medical tourism baseball. is big business. Mexico’s Sea of www.3rdActMag.com

Cortez is just over an hour’s drive farther south, so you can enjoy beach days during a desert winter, too. Desert Hot Springs, California More affordable and working-class than nearby towns like Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs has lovely winter weather (though it can get windy) and views to match. There really are hot springs, too, with day spas galore and a growing influx of winter visitors—especially from Canada—who want to enjoy the waters. Desert Hot Springs’ year-round population is about 26,000, but it’s part of the DESERT HOT SPRINGS Coachella Valley, with about Number of sunny 350,000 people. The region days per year 271 is a good choice if you Average January low/ like plenty of restaurants, high temperatures: shopping, and entertainment 71/45 Average rental: options. But it’s not hard to $880 leave the hubbub behind for Key activities: Mineral spas, golf, natural wonders like Joshua hiking, RV living, Tree National Monument birdwatching, bicycling, and Mount San Jacinto trail rides, Native American heritage, Palm State Park, where you can Springs Aerial Tramway go snowshoeing if you miss to Mount San Jacinto. winter too much. Aging with Confidence

If one of these domestic destinations doesn’t sound like the right fit, you might keep heading south. Mexico is easy to navigate and has myriad opportunities to enjoy a multicultural community. Many Americans flock to the artistic Pacific Ocean town of Todos Santos on the Baja peninsula in winter. Others seeking a genuinely Mexican town enjoy San Miguel De Allende, a historic and creative enclave in the mountains of Central Mexico. There is no one right way to be a sunbird. The key is thinking about what you like to do, what you can afford, and what you need. Know these things, and you will find the right path to fly south in winter. Susan Brandzel is a freelance writer from Bainbridge Island. In high school, she was voted “Most Likely to Be a Talk Show Host.” She subsequently translated her curious compunctions into a vocation that gives voice to the human experience. In addition to writing, Susan is a public health professional and mother to two daughters and a rescue dog from Guatemala. Julie Fanselow provided additional reporting for this article.

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Laughter, Tears, Curtain? A Writer Embraces her Inner Hero (and a New Role at 50+)

Playwright. I always loved to throw pottery, to dance the tango—and an that word. Like shipwright internal voice talking us out of it? or cartwright, a playwright is Like many writers I’m also a professional also a “worker or shaper”— procrastinator, so for me, the difference between taking a naturally growing dream and action is always a deadline or a BY SHANNON BORG form and crafting it into workshop. Otherwise, I’d languish in my comfy something else, something of chair, watching Poldark and eating coffee Häagenuse. Playwrights gather language Dazs. (Not that there’s anything and use it in a new way, shaping wrong with that!) Fortunately, that Interested in it into something that can aid other voice, my inner hero, kept Playwriting? us, carry us through loneliness, pushing. “You have to share that Playwriting classes through joy, through grief. character with the world! You have to and workshops are I’ve made a living as a writer put those words to paper!” held frequently most of my life. I’ve written about throughout the Staging a Coup in my Life many topics, but secretly, I’ve Puget Sound region. When I hit 50, I realized that those always wanted to write plays. I Google “playwriting one-acts weren’t going to write want to make people cry. And classes in (your themselves, so I signed up for a 10town’s name)” laugh. At the same time. But week playwriting workshop. Fifteen to find one near you. there was always a dark, nefarious of us would learn the basics, and character in my mind whispering each of us would submit a 10-minute from the wings of my life, “You’re play. Some of us would even get the not funny enough, you’re not talented enough.” honor—or the slow drip of torture—of seeing I think I’m not alone in this. Don’t we all have a our plays produced at the San Juan Community hidden desire—to live in Europe, to fly a plane, Theatre.


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Every day at the workshop was like playing with my friends when I was a kid. There were 60-somethings, 30-somethings, and 20-somethings who came together as equals, each bringing his or her own experience and particular passions to the task. Our theme was “It Happened in the Park,” to commemorate the centenary of the National Park Service, and San Juan Island National Historical Park in particular. Each of us approached the theme from a different perspective: Carrie Jewett’s Next Stop envisioned a hilarious encounter between two cynical young women and an alien sent to save or exploit (no spoilers!) the planet. Jan Zurcher’s THE National Park imagines a dark future where humans and nature become ones and zeroes. Diana Mancel’s Rabbits on the Rock explored the lives of three rabbits at American Camp, where they must learn rabbity ways. Mine, Shells, was based on a story of Serafina, a 600-year-old selkie, a magical seal that becomes human, lives and loves on land for seven years, then must return to the sea. I had big goals for my play. I wanted it to be funny—no, hilarious. I wanted it to be poignant— no, a real tear-jerker. I wanted it to appeal to our love of fantasy—no, epic mythology. All in 10 minutes. My Characters Take the Lead A 10-minute play is only 10 pages long. Each page is about one minute of dialogue, and my first version was about twice as long as it should be. Keeping it simple was my biggest challenge. As I embraced the process of exploring my characters, how they would talk and move, the arc of the story started to come together. It got shorter, and clearer, and funnier, and more poignant as I let the characters’ movements explain much of what they were feeling. When we turned in our plays, we had no idea what to expect—but, drum roll please, Shells was one of six selected. Next came the casting call, at the height of summer in a tourist town, with two other


(Puzzles on page 64)

Aging with Confidence

Who the What? 1. Bozo the Clown 2. Attila the Hun 3. Dennis the Menace 4. Kermit the Frog 5. Frosty the Snowman 6. Popeye the Sailor Man 7. Billy the Kid

plays in competition for actors. At first, we had only 10 people try out for 30 characters! We announced auditions on social media. We asked our friends. We begged, we pleaded. And we did it: We cast all six plays with wonderful local actors and a few of us playwrights thrown in. I ended up not only writing a play, but directing another, and acting in a third. In the end, our performances and plays weren’t perfect, but they were as perfect as I could possibly want. As I listened through the crack in the door as Serafina said, “We are all shells tossed on the sea of life,” and the audience laughed and maybe shed a tear or two, it felt good to be a wordwright again. I had also been granted access to a totally new world, an amazing place to find fun, a creative outlet, and community. There truly is a place in the theater for everyone—taking tickets, painting sets, helping with marketing, acting, costumes, props.

Break a Leg People have long been saying “break a leg” instead of “good luck” to thespians before a show. Although the origins are obscure, one theory links the superstition to vaudeville, where theaters would hire more performers than they needed—and only those who actually got to perform (that is, break past the side curtain “leg line”) would get paid. To break a leg meant money in your pocket. In community theater, you probably won’t ever break that leg. The only green was green M&Ms served up in the green room. You will gain a sense of accomplishment, make new friends, and have fun while checking many of the boxes of healthy and positive aging.

Now I tell anyone who will listen to listen to that inner voice when it says get involved, try something you’ve always wanted to do. Get on the stage of your life, conquer the villain, and embrace your inner heroine. Are you listening? Shannon Borg is a wine and travel writer living in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Her books include The Green Vine: A Guide to West Coast Sustainable, Organic, and Biodynamic Wines (Mountaineers, 2011).

8. Mack the Knife 9. Blackbeard the Pirate 10. Alexander the Great What a Pair 1. Red Sox and Yankees 2. Meat and Potatoes 3. Bed and Breakfast 4. Fish and Chips

5. Apples and Oranges 6. Cat and Mouse 7. Soap and Water 8. Milk and Honey 9. Arm and Hammer 10. Stars and Stripes 11. Bacon and Eggs 12. Night and Day

What do They Have in Common? 1. They all have degrees. 2. They all have points. 3. They are all spies. 4. They all have scales. 5. They all occurred in 1969.

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6. They all have frames. 7. They are all types of penguins. 8. They all use scoopers. 9. They all have patches. 10. They are all names of U.S. airports.

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In Your Own


It is a fact: Seattle is the arts capital of the Puget Sound region. By virtue of its population size and cultural resources, the Emerald City is our local mecca for live music and theater, art galleries and film centers, with an abundance of facilities and year-round attractions. But what if you live outside the city and would like to see concerts, plays, and dance events closer to home? How about if you want to patronize venues with easy parking, family-oriented fare, reasonable ticket prices, and (if you’re lucky) more manageable traffic? Fortunately, many Puget Sounders are in luck. Our region has a constellation of well-equipped, nonprofit performing arts centers, thanks to a taxsupported building boom of cultural amenities over the past several decades. Most of these facilities book well-known touring acts. But they also provide an important platform for local student, amateur, and professional performing groups worthy of interest and support. Note that Western Washington arts centers sometimes present the same touring artists within a short time period. If you miss a comic or singer in one local venue, you can often catch them at another, so check the artists’ own websites to see all their upcoming shows in our region. Here’s a guide to some of the larger and most active cultural hubs in the extended Puget Sound area:

This attractive, dome-shaped building boasts a curved 397-seat performing space, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Located in downtown Kirkland, KPC has offered a full calendar of imported and homegrown performances since its opening in 1998. Like most of the other facilities listed here, it can also be rented for private and community events. Coming up at KPC in early 2018: Singer-songwriter Marc Cohn and the venerable gospel group, The Blind Boys of Alabama; the children’s company StoryBook Theater in Pinocchio; and a literary evening with Native American author Sherman Alexie. Village Theatre – 303 Front St. N., Issaquah. 425-392-2202; villagetheatre.org. The woodsy

suburb of Issaquah is understandably proud of its resident Village Theatre company. This ambitious three-stage operation presents a fully professional subscription theater dominated by Broadway-style musicals in its handsome Issaquah mainstage facility, the Francis J. Gaudette Theatre, which holds about 500 patrons. In its smaller First Stage Theatre, a former movie house just up the main street of Issaquah, the Village hosts student productions of its KIDSTAGE program and Village Originals, an annual series of informal performances of new musicals currently in development. (Several the company has nurtured have gone on to Broadway, including the Tony Awardwinning Next to Normal.) The Village extends its reach by managing, and sending its mainstage plays and musicals, up to

EASTSIDE Kirkland Performance Center – 350 Kirkland Ave., Kirkland. 425-893-9900; kpcenter.org.


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Tacoma’s Rialto Theater


Patrons greet actors after a performance at the Performing Arts and Events Center of Federal Way.

the Everett Performance Center after their initial Issaquah runs. Arriving soon at both venues are the new musical String, and the Village’s version of the Broadway smash, Hairspray. The Everett venue also presents local groups, including the Everett Chorale. SOUTH SOUND Performing Arts and Events Center of Federal Way – 31510 Pete von Reichbauer Way S., Federal Way. 253-835-7010; fwpaec. org. A strikingly modern new structure with a

window-walled lobby, a 716-seat auditorium, and adjoining event spaces that can host hundreds more, this multipurpose public facility serves an expanding community in Federal Way’s city center, near Town Square Park. In January, Rosanne Cash will sing here with her husband, John Leventhal. In February and March look for appearances by the salsa music masters El Tiempo Libre and the Federal Way Symphony’s program of Big Easy compositions, “Flavor of New Orleans.” Also in Federal Way is the city-owned, 234 seat Knutzen Family Theatre – 3200 SW Dash Point Rd., Federal Way. 253-661-1444; centerstagetheatre. com, home to the Centerstage theater company and

arts conservatory, and other community events.

Broadway Center for the Performing Arts – 901 Broadway, Tacoma. 253-591-5894; broadwaycenter.org. Downtown Tacoma boasts

a cluster of popular performance arts hubs. They Aging with Confidence

The Francis J. Gaudette Theatre in Issaquah.

include two fully restored historic showplaces, the Pantages and Rialto theaters, plus the newer Theatre on the Square and the refurbished Tacoma Armory. An array of arts groups performs here: the Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma Opera, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, and the Tacoma Youth Symphony. And the Broadway Center brings in a full roster of touring shows, with such attractions as troubadours Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen, cabaret star Michael Feinstein, and comedian Paula Poundstone on the schedule for early 2018. WEST SOUND Bainbridge Performing Arts – 200 Madison Ave. N., Bainbridge Island. 206-842-8569; bainbridgeperformingarts.org. Across the Sound

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The iconic Mount Baker Theatre in Bellingham. (Photos courtesy of Mount Baker Theatre and Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism)

on Bainbridge Island, this well-established community arts organization started out as an all-volunteer project way back in 1956. BPA’s current 245-seat main facility is bustling. It houses a theater school for local youths, the EDGE Improvisation group, and the Bainbridge Symphony, as well as a full season of theatrical productions and appearances by guest musical artists, dance companies, and comedy outfits. BPA also produces an annual Shakespeare production at the island’s sylvan Bloedel Reserve public garden.

SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL Passes and ticket packages are on sale now. Renew your membership or become a new SIFF Member to take advantage of our

EARLY BIRD SALE featuring our lowest prices now through March 20!


3rd Act magazine | winter 2018

NORTH SOUND Edmonds Center for the Arts – 410 4th Ave. N., Edmonds. 425-275-4485; edmondscenterforthearts.org. The

handsome new facility opened its doors in 2006, treating the public to cultural events in its 700-seat state-of-the-art theater, plus other community offerings in a full-size sports facility and several multi-purpose rooms. Coming up in early 2018: an international guitar night, classical concerts by the Cascade Symphony, and screenings of Buena Vista Social Club and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (The films are preceded by an onstage cabaret-style happy hour.) Mount Baker Theatre – 104 N. Commercial St., Bellingham. 360-7346080; mountbakertheatre.com. A fully


MAY 17-JUNE 10, 2018

Coming up: the new, politically-charged play Building the Wall by Pulitzer Prize winner and former Seattle resident Robert Schenkkan; the Bainbridge Symphony’s rendition of Franck’s Symphony in D Minor; and Broadway’s all-ages, Peter Pan-prequel, Peter and the Starcatcher.


restored 1927 venue registered as a National Historic Landmark, this Bellingham showplace is the largest arts facility of its kind north of Seattle. The Moorish-Spanish style building, originally designed to present moving pictures and live vaudeville shows, boasts a 1,517-seat auditorium and a mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ. Today it offers a diverse selection of music, films, Broadway musicals, and dance concerts, plus lectures, children’s theater, and magic shows featuring imported and local talent. The winter docket includes concerts by Brandi Carlile, the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra, tributes to rock divas Janis Joplin and Tina Turner, the Northwest Ballet’s “Celtic Legend” program, and more. www.3rdActMag.com



inter is the perfect time to plan an escape to somewhere warm—or start stockpiling road trip ideas for later in the year. These two recent books will help you dream big, both far and near, for places to go and things to see in 2018. They’re both good “armchair reads,” too.

Atlas Obscura

BY JOSHUA FOER, DYLAN THURAS, AND ELLA MORTON Subtitled “An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders,” Atlas Obscura celebrates strange and beautiful sights around the globe. It’s the sort of book you probably won’t read from front to back. Rather, you’ll want to dip into its 450-plus illustrated pages at random to see what you unearth. There’s the Wisteria Tunnel of Kitakyushu, Japan, which blooms fragrantly for a few weeks each spring. A statue of John Lennon sits in Havana, Cuba, dedicated by Fidel Castro in 2000, nearly four decades after he’d banned the Beatles. The Vanishing Lake of Ballycastle in Northern Ireland emerges when a hole in its bottom gets plugged up with peat—and disappears when the peat becomes dislodged. Closer to home, the Nutty Narrows Bridge in Longview offers safe passage for squirrels. Yes, the Fremont Troll is in here, too. I was working at a bookstore when Atlas Obscura came out in late 2016, and we could barely keep it in stock. But the book is really the print annex of an evergrowing website (atlasobscura.com) where travelers share their own finds. Seattle poet and artist Shin Yu Pai and local attorney/history nerd Jared Steed are among those contributing local tips and occasional tours. Atlas Obscura also offers virtual reality experiences via its website and offbeat treks around the world, with 2018 voyages planned to Mongolia, Mexico City, and Newfoundland. Whether you actually travel or not, you can get happily lost for many hours exploring the book and the website. Bon voyage! Aging with Confidence

Walking Washington BY JUDY BENTLEY

Every block of every town in Washington state has a story. To tell them all would require a whole library, but Judy Bentley has collected a generous sampling in this book. Bentley focuses on 10 cities, outlining loop walks of two to seven miles, each accompanied by maps and archival photos. We see Tacoma’s boom as it became the terminus of the Northern Pacific Railway and consider the chaos in Everett when labor unrest held sway a century ago. There’s more recent history, too. Spokane’s Expo ’74, held a few years after the first Earth Day, celebrated a rising tide of environmental consciousness. “They pulled up railroad tracks, restored much of the (Spokane) river’s flow, cleaned up pollution, and invited the world to celebrate the difference,” Bentley writes. Throughout the book, Bentley details the contributions of Washingtonians who’ve been ignored or marginalized, such as the Japanese immigrants who raised crops east of Lake Washington during the 1920s and 1930s only to be sent to internment camps during World War II. After the war, abandoned farmlands became bedroom communities—and today, an increasingly diverse Bellevue is more city than suburb. Ruth Kirk, a fellow Washington author who died last summer, said of Walking Washington’s History, “by guiding our footsteps, Judy Bentley leads us off the couch and away from the TV set to where the events that shaped our state actually took place.” Even if you don’t leave your comfy chair, you’ll learn much more about Washington in this interesting book.

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

Who the What? (easy)

In this game we supply the who, and you must supply the what. For example: Felix the________ Answer: Cat 1. Bozo the _____________________________________

6. Popeye the __________________________________

2. Attila the ____________________________________

7. Billy the _____________________________________

3. Dennis the ___________________________________

8. Mack the ____________________________________

4. Kermit the ___________________________________

9. Blackbeard the _______________________________

5. Frosty the ___________________________________

10. Alexander the ________________________________

What a Pair (harder)

Harvard and Yale, Thunder and Lightning, Coke and Pepsi are all common pairs...but what about Wonder and Perrier? If you redefine Wonder and Perrier correctly, you’ll come up the more familiar pairing Bread and Water. How many familiar pairs can you make from the clues below? 1. Scarlet hosiery and Union soldiers _____________________________________________

7. Ivory and Poland Spring___________________________

2. Steak or chicken and Yukon golds________________

9. Upper limb and nail-driving tool_____________________

3. Sleeping furniture and the morning meal _____________________________________________

10. Movie actors and zebra pattern_____________________

4. Flounder and Fritos____________________________ 5. Macintoshes and navels________________________ 6. Garfield and Mickey____________________________

8. Cow juice and bee juice____________________________

11. Oscar Meyer strips and free-range jumbo hen fruit _______________________________________________ 12. 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. _______________________________________________

What do They Have in Common? (hardest) Each question contains a list of several items. Can you figure out what they have in common? 1. A college graduate, an angle, a thermometer, and a bad burn_______________________________________________ 2. A pen, a decimal number, a sharp knife, and a game score__________________________________________________ 3. Aldrich Ames, Julius Rosenberg, Nathan Hale, and Mati Hari________________________________________________ 4. The doctor’s office, a map, a fish, and music_____________________________________________________________ 5. Nixon succeeds LBJ, the “Miracle Mets” win the World Series, and Neil Armstrong walks on the moon_____________ 6. Eyeglasses, a bed, and bowling scores__________________________________________________________________ 7. Adelie, Gentoo, king, and emperor_____________________________________________________________________ 8. An ice cream parlor, dog walkers, and front loaders_______________________________________________________ 9. A girl scout, a flat tire, and a quilt_______________________________________________________________________ 10. Ronald Reagan, John Wayne, Louis Armstrong, and John F. Kennedy_________________________________________ 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 2018



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