*Nov Dec 2012 E-zine*

This Month's Highlights:
· Perils of Aging
· Winter Food Without a Garden
· Social Security COLA for 2013

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A1. The Perils of Aging
by Barbara Krueger

Starting with the bottom line, the greatest peril of aging is that every day you are moving closer to your demise. Therefore, how you spend each day is what should be the most important aspect of "aging."

Here are some guidelines and myths not to believe:

Mental confusion is not a natural part of aging.

It may occur more often in the elderly, but many factors can contribute including genetics, diet, and the general state of health. Processing and recall speeds may decline and forgetfulness increase with age, but they are not necessarily signs of serious mental confusion or forgetfulness. And with age, powers of reasoning and analysis don't inevitably decline. Serious confusion and/or signs that mimic dementia can occur from vitamin or mineral deficiencies rather than from other health problems. Only a doctor can determine if treatment can improve symptoms.

Sexual urge may not decrease with age.

And if it does, there are remedies or treatments that can improve these conditions. Never forget the value of loving words and touching caresses in sharing love.

Hearing and visual decline may not catch up with you.

Hearing is the sense most affected by aging, but total hearing loss is rare. Modern hearing devices can usually help. Eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular. degeneration are more prevalent with age, but they do not occur in all elderly, and if detected and monitored may be treatable or their progression slowed.

Large doses of vitamins can slow down the aging.

Megavitamins and antioxidants don't necessarily add to longevity, although a healthy diet and regular exercise add to vitality and overall health. Vitamin, mineral and herb supplements, without healthy food, are not proven to be absorbed. The latest beliefs are that calcium absorption is vital to stave off osteoporosis. Vitamin D and magnesium are needed for that absorption, and since an aging body is believed to absorb vitamin D less efficiently, perhaps an oral supplement may be preferable to more time in the sun. But inclusion of more non-fat dairy products with supplemental D, into your diet, will often be enough.

Retirement from paid employment does not have to be your swan-song. Most retired seniors provide the bulk of volunteer hours worked in America.

To retire successfully, you must not "retire from"but "retire"; something. Retire with a plan for what will make life fulfilling after the job ends. Developing a hobby during your working years is a start toward successful retirement.

For instance, let's say you love golf. How often would you play to have a feeling of fulfillment from the game? I know a man who loves retirement with 300+ games of golf a year. Aside from volunteering, If the idea of contributing your skills, time and attention to society without pay sounds unappealing, can you find a "bit of a job"; at a golf course that lets you spend time in an atmosphere you enjoy and put a bit of green in your pocket? Or, you love nature and you do like to do volunteer work. Will the places you can volunteer for the preservation of open space in your community challenge you regularly? Will planning and taking strenuous hikes do it? As a retired nurse, can you be a volunteer at the hospital.

Everyone ages differently. But if you believe something enough you can make it happen--you can retire if you plan for it.

Focus on what you can do, what you would like to do, and how to get from where you are now to where you would like to be.

Believe that the myths of aging are just that, and if some turn out to be true for you, how can you enjoy the years ahead anyway.

The true peril of aging is not living each day to the fullest: giving up on life before it gives up on you.

Find more aging process information at:

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A2. Winter Food Without a Garden
by Betsy Day

For some of us, autumn and the anticipation of the upcoming winter may bring happy thoughts, but if you're not a Southern Californian or a Floridian, you, as do I, may shudder in anticipation of a seemingly interminable season of shivering cold, rain down the back of the neck, and snow that serves only the ski-lodge industry. With that on the horizon, and with our gardens producing with their final bursts of energy the last of our summer fruits, vegetables and herbs, I bring you a few fall gardening suggestions and a couple of healthy, yet light, good-tasting recipes for autumn foods on these (to me) melancholy days.

While still enjoying my little garden's fall explosion of third-crop tomatoes, it's difficult for me to go back to those pallid balls of Silly Putty foisted upon us during the other three seasons of the year. I've recently rediscovered plum tomatoes for use in sauces and frittatas (the flavor is more intense, less watered-down than regular tomatoes), and as an easily bored cook, I'd rather deal with them canned than have to seed and peel them by hand. You can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

And I'm going to miss the good basil and oregano from the pots on my deck, but you might do what I did this year: freeze the leaves in ice cube trays (three or so leaves to a cube) and store them in the freezer until you need them for sauces. They don't look very pretty when thawed, but they do taste like the fresh stuff, and you'll save a bunch of money.

If you're a garlic-lover with a deep window box or some deep pots, this is the time to sow cloves for winter/spring cooking. Don't try this with supermarket-bought garlic; it's been treated to inhibit growth--you'll get a ton of garlic-scented chive sprouts, but probably no garlic bulbs; I didn't, anyway. Check your local garden center or seed catalog online (I use and for bulb-starters.

If you're nervous about the cholesterol in eggs--though it's said now that there's less of it than we were led to believe--you can try Egg Beaters or any other egg substitute in your omelets and the like. I prefer to use real eggs, but feel free to substitute Egg Beaters in the proportions given here. Please note that "Egg Beaters" is used in this article as an easily recognized brand of egg substitute. There is no intention to advertise the product. Here's a conversion list:

4 eggs = 1 cup Egg Beaters
1 egg = 1/4 cup Egg Beaters
1 egg white = 2T Egg Beaters
1 egg yolk = 3T Egg Beaters

Forthwith, a recipe for a good-tasting, VERY low-calorie (about 105 calories if you use Egg Beaters) cool-day frittata. This makes four large servings and is a meal in itself, though a nice cup of soup and maybe a roll would be a welcome plus here.

Fresh Veggie Frittata
4 servings

  • 2 medium-sized baking potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets (fresh-cooked, or frozen, slightly thawed)
  • 2 scallions, green and white parts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
  • 1 medium tomato OR 2 canned plum tomatoes, chopped, lightly seeded
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 whole eggs OR 3/4 cup Egg Beaters
  • 3 egg whites OR 3/4 cup Egg Beaters
  • 1/4 cup low-fat milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake the potatoes in the oven for about 1 hour, or in a microwave oven on high power for 7 to 10 minutes, until tender. Leave the skins on, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks.
  2. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, scallions, bell pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper, and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables are tender and the potatoes are lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, and milk.
  4. Reduce the skillet heat to medium-low and add the egg mixture. As the mixture begins to set, push the ends slightly toward the center, allowing the liquid to run to the edges of the skillet. Reduce the heat to low, scatter the tomato pieces over the top, and cover the skillet. Allow to cook for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the eggs are set, then slide the frittata out of the pan and onto a serving plate. Cut into 4 wedges and serve immediately.

This is a basic omelet recipe I use all the time. Usually I add something more to it--crumbled bacon or ham, or sour cream and chives on top, along with more sprinkled cheese.

Pretty Easy Omelet
2-3 servings

  • 6 eggs OR 1-1/2 cups egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t Worcestershire sauce
  • dash pepper
  • 1 T butter for pan
  • 1/2cup shredded Cheddar
  • 1/2cup diced fresh tomato (one small tomato) OR 1 diced, rinsed canned plum tomato
  • 2 T fine-chopped green onion
  • 1 t chopped fresh basil or cilantro for topping
  1. Beat eggs until fluffy. Whisk in the milk, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper.

  2. Melt the butter In a 10-inch skillet sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Pour in egg mixture and cook slowly, tilting at the edge to allow uncooked egg to run underneath. When the omelet is almost cooked but still shiny, sprinkle with the tomato and green onion, cover, and continue cooking until the surface dries (about 2 minutes).
  4. Fold in half. Top with grated cheese and herbs. Cut in half and then half each piece.
  5. Say, "Good stuff!"

Here's one last summer-autumn squash recipe I like. These squashes are going out and winter squashes are arriving, but it should still be fairly easy to find zucchini and eggplant in the stores--or in your garden, if you're one of the fortunate. This recipe is a little bit complicated to make, but it's really good, especially nice for when you have guests.

Eggplant-Zucchini Gratin
Serves 6

  • 1 small or 1/2 medium eggplant, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 6T olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 14 oz. rustic French bread, crusts and bottom cut off, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2c torn basil leaves OR 1T + 1t dried basil
  • 3 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick (this dish really deserves the fresh sort)
  • 1t thyme leaves OR 1/4t + a touch more dried
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a colander, toss the eggplant and zucchini with the kosher salt. Let stand 20 minutes. Drain well and squeeze out any extra liquid.
  2. In a small bowl, stir olive oil with garlic. Coat a 9x13" baking pan with about 1-1/2T of the oil. Tear the bread into 2" pieces and line the bottom of the pan, fitting them tightly together. Drizzle with 2T of the oil, season with a little salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half the basil.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the eggplant and zucchini with 2T of the oil. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a little salt and pepper. Arrange the veggies over the bread, overlapping if necessary.
  4. Bake about 40 minutes, until veggies begin to brown and bottom of the bread is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining basil, cut into pieces and serve.

NOTE: This gratin may be baked up to 2 hours ahead of time. Reheat at 350 degrees or serve at room temperature. Well, heck. You could have served it at room temp when it was first baked, couldn't you have? Why didn't they just say so!

Happy autumn, happy eating.

Learn more about eating healthfully.

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1. Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase For 2013
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 62 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2013.

The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2013. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2012.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $113,700 from $110,100. Of the estimated 163 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2013, nearly 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2013, when announced, will be available at For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums

Tax Rate 2012 2013
Employee 7.65*% 7.65%
Self-employed 15.30*% 15.30%

NOTE: The 7.65% tax rate is the combined rate for Social Security and Medicare. The Social Security portion (OASDI) is 6.20% on earnings up to the applicable taxable maximum amount (see below). The Medicare portion (HI) is 1.45% on all earnings.

*The Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 reduced the Social Security payroll tax rate by 2% on the portion of the tax paid by the worker through the end of February 2012. The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 extended the reduction through the end of 2012. Under current law, this temporary reduction expires at the end of December 2012.

Maximum Taxable Earnings: 2012 2013
Social Security (OASDI only) $110,000 $113,700
Medicare (HI only) Medicare (HI only)

Additional insurance information for seniors can be found at:

2. Winter Air Pollution
As the season turns to winter we spend more time home indoors. Unfortunately, this can mean more exposure to less-than-ideal air. Poor indoor air quality can contribute to respiratory disorders and allergies, among other health problems and children, the elderly, and chronically ill people are especially vulnerable.

The Number 1 cause of poor indoor air quality is pollution from sources such as oil, gas, and kerosene; tobacco smoke; and household cleaning chemicals. Outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and air pollution contribute to unhealthy indoor air as well. Signs of poor indoor air quality include moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air-cooling equipment, and mold or mildew.

To improve on this unwanted situation eliminate or reduce the following sources of indoor air pollution:

  • Tobacco smoke. Avoid smoking if possible. If not, open windows, and use exhaust fans.
  • Radon. This gas comes from the soil, well water, or building materials, and can lead to lung cancer. Testing your home for radon is easy and inexpensive. For more information call 800-S0S-RADON.
  • Mold, pollen, dander, and fungus. Vent kitchen and bathrooms and your clothes dryer. Also clean humidifiers, water trays in air-conditioners, dehumidifiers, and refrigerators, and keep your basement dry.
  • Carbon monoxide (CO). Keep gas appliances properly adjusted, install outdoor vents for furnaces and gas stoves, open flues when using your fireplace, and have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune up your heating systems.
  • Formaldehyde. This chemical is found in pressed wood, plywood, particle-board products, and urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. Run the air-conditioner and dehumidifier, and increase ventilation after bringing home formaldehyde-containing products.
  • Asbestos and lead. Keep your home as dust-free as possible. Leave lead-based paint undisturbed if it is in good condition. Use trained and qualified contractors for control, removal, and cleanup

For more information, go to

Find more health information at:

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We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Ted Nugent - "Do you want to feel good, or do you want to do good?"

Liv Ullmann - "If only we could accept that there is no difference between us where human values are concerned. Whatever sex."

Don Johnson - "Once you become famous, there is nothing left to become but infamous."

Chris Matthews - "Keep your enemies in front of you."

Betty Grable - "The woman's vision is deep reaching, the man's far reaching. With the man the world is his heart, with the woman the heart is her world."

Simon Cowell - "lf you've got a big mouth and you're controversial, you're going to get attention."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. Be Alert When Surfing
At this time of year we are eager to make purchases to give to loved ones and friends. It is also the time of year that thieves and criminals turn up their antennas to help you part with your money and identity. Protecting personal data is more important than ever. Use care about what you share and whom you share it with. Here are a few pointers.

  • Don't to give personal information to everyone who asks. The more sensitive the data, the more careful you should be.
  • Be alert for e-mail scams. Don't open unsolicited e-mail messages.
  • Just as in the real world, use care as you venture into a new neighborhood online. Sites set up by thieves may have spyware (to capture personal data) and malware to harm your computer or gather data from it.
  • Make sure your computer and Internet connections are secure and protected with anti-virus software.
  • Be sure to read privacy policies for sites that you visit and/or do business with.
  • If you think you have become an identity theft victim, visit for help on what to do next.

2. Protecting Grandchildren
As seniors; one key role we take on is that of grandparents. As such, many times we are responsible for the safety and wellbeing our little ones. To get some help in this important obligation visit Safe Kids USA (

Safe Kids USA is a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14. They educate families, provide safety devices to families in need, and advocate for better laws to help keep children safe, healthy, and out of the emergency room. More than 600 coalitions and chapters in 49 states bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments, and volunteers to educate and protect families.

Some of the Safe Kids USA Functions:

  • Teach families about child injury risks and prevention
  • Encourage and conduct research on leading injury risks
  • Evaluate solutions for injury risks
  • Work to pass and improve child safety laws and regulations
  • Provide lifesaving devices, such as child safety seats, helmets, and smoke alarms to families who need them.

**Learn about safety related items in your home here:

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1. For Those Who Love the Philosophy Of Ambiguity...

  • If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?
  • If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?
  • Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
  • Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.
  • One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor...

2. Less is Hard to Find
Sam went to the bar the other night and told the 'keep, "A glass of your finest Less, please."
"'Less'? Never heard of it," said the barkeep.
"C'mon, sure you have" Sam insisted.
No, really, we don't stock it. What is it? Some kind of foreign beer?"
"I'm not sure," Sam replied. "It was my doctor who mentioned it. He said I should 'drink Less.'"

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2012, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

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