Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Feels Like . . .

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. . . a laid-back week to close out the month.

So gear up for a busy Thursday,

which offers a Mad Money review at 2 p.m. in the 2nd floor theater,

followed by our regular Thirsty Thursday respite at 3 p.m. in the bistro

before the Lou Malati’s Pizzeria tasting

in the dining room at 5 p.m.

Check your monthly calendar and fliers in the mail room for further details.

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San Diego Cradles California History

There’s more to San Diego than the zoo.

The history of California and, as follows, that of the western United States is rooted in a promontory overlooking the bay that Spanish conquistadors first sailed into what has become the nation’s southwestern-most metropolitan complex of more than 3 million people.

Whether you drop down into San Diego on I-5 from the Los Angeles megalopolis or slide in along I-8 from the great Southwest, the two freeways meet at the Presidio.

Parked around a solid early-Californio tower is what is now a 40-acre Presidio Park that anchors the 21-mission chain that forms the backbone of the Golden State.

The park is the home of the museum that honors Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra who planted a cross on the hill that might have been intended to be the site of the first U.S. mission but gave way to rebellious Kumeyaay Indians who resented the Spaniards’ iron hand.

The first permanent mission, San Diego de Alcala, was built about five miles up the San Diego River in 1769 to soften relations between the intruders and the natives.

The growth of Alta California grew out of the presidio, however, as the Franciscans accompanied the Spanish soldiers and built the mission chain over the next half century until Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821.

The Mexican government secularized the missions a decade later and rich rancheros came north to claim the spoils. San Diego’s Old Town at the base of the hill crowned by the Presidio became a trade center as Mexico encouraged foreign trade. Today, it attracts both locals and tourists to its shops, restaurants and 19th century shop workers, such as blacksmiths and woodworkers.

Presidio Hill became a military fort and garrison in the nid-1840s after a combined force of Commodore Robert Stockton and Gen. Stephen Kearney won control of Alta California.

The Mormon Battalion Monument honors the Mormon men and women who volunteered to enlist in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War, effectively opening stage routes west and securing those Mexican territories for the States. Brigham Young was looking for help with his westward migration plans and enlisting his followers in the army paid for wagons, horses, and other necessities for his grand exodus.

Accompanying the 550-man battalion were 33 women, many serving as laundresses, and 51 children. They earned the church a total of $30,000 in donated salaries, the only religiously based military unit ever established in U.S. history.

Marked trails all around the Mormon monument take you past ruins of the original structures, a bronzed statue of the Friar Serra, and the Indian – an statue of a Kumeyaay brave with a freshly killed cougar.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 27, 2023 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Travel

It’s Finally Occurred To Me . . .

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. . . that the reason

people give out free advice

so easily is

because they aren’t using it.

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Be a Good Scout at Tax Time

Be prepared. This maxim emblazoned in Boy Scout lore also applies to the thorny annual chore known as “doing my taxes.” A simple system of keeping receipts and monthly statements can save you a lot of aspirin at filing time. It can also cut down on your cost of tax preparation since the less time your tax preparer has to spend on your return, the lower the bill.

Three basic items will help establish a workable record-keeping system:

—  your checkbook register,

—  a clutch of file folders for financial statements and receipts, and

—  a workbook to log any deductible expenses, such as mileage to and from medical appointments. Your tax preparer can advise you on how to make this basic program work best for you. They might suggest that you update your files monthly.

It’s always wise to call your tax accountant early because the rules keep changing. By starting early, you’ll be aware of what you’ll need to wrap up your current year’s tax filing.

Remember that banks, bosses, and brokerage houses — almost anyone paying you an income of any sort — report these transactions to the Internal Revenue Service. The agency gets all these notices and its computers try to match up the information from these sources with the information you prepare and file.

Besides staying ahead of the game by being prepared, keep in mind that the IRS makes mistakes. It’s easy to foul up a Social Security number, for example, and you might get an IRS notice based on garbled data. One tax preparer recounts often an incident in which a bank’s report to the IRS of a customer’s mortgage interest payment was read as interest income. The taxpayer was then notified by the IRS of a disparity in tax owed to the government because of this “additional income.”

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 26, 2023 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Finance, Humor / Quote

Tagged with ,

While Tomatoes and Avocados . . .

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. . . are fruits,

it’s not a good idea to put them in a fruit salad.

And did you know that avocado peel

is extremely healthy but,

because it’s so bitter and chewy,

few people eat it.

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Follow The Doctor’s Orders

Taking medications correctly at the right time and in the right way as prescribed by your doctor can help control any medical issues. While not doing so can some grim consequences, not everyone follows those rules because they’re too busy, feel good without the medications, have pills too big to swallow or any number of other excuses.

About 30 percent of medication prescriptions are never filled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 50 percent of cases studied, patients don’t continue medication as prescribed. This non-adherence to doctor’s orders causes as much as 50 percent of chronic disease treatment failures and 125,000 deaths per year.

One of the two most-common reasons medications are not taken as prescribed is, “I’m feeling better. I can stop taking medication.” Not taking medications as prescribed by your doctor can result in several negative outcomes.

If, for example, you’ve started on a new blood-pressure medication but you’re not taking it regularly, it may not properly control your blood pressure. If your doctor thinks you’re taking the medication as prescribed, they may look at high blood-pressure readings as a sign that you need additional medication.

The other most common reason for not following the prescribed medical course is, “My medication is too expensive. Missing one dose or taking a half-dose here and there to save a little shouldn’t be a big deal.” Your doctor may not notice you’ve missed a few doses here and there. But medications like those for your thyroid or blood thinners may have a huge impact if only one dose is missed.

To help you stick to a required regimen, don’t skip doses or take half doses to save money. If money is a problem, tell you doctor so the problem can be addressed and solved.

Keep taking the prescribed medicine until it’s completed or until your doctor tells you no longer need it. The reason you may be feeling is good is because the medication is working, so keep on taking it.

If you have any questions about the medication you’re taking, talk to your doctor and pharmacist.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 24, 2023 at 8:51 pm

Posted in Health

Tagged with ,

Seems Like Just Yesterday. . .

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. . . but it was two weeks ago that

the Super Supper Shuttle launched its maiden trips.

And it’s here again this Friday.

If you haven’t marked down its schedule, do it now.

It’s free and operates on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month

Departure from Verena at Gilbert is at

3 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5 p.m.

Departure from restaurants is at

3:15 p.m., 3:45 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 4:45 p.m., 5:15 p.m, and final pickup at 5:45 p.m.

Be at the pickup point on time or be left behind and wait for the next one.

Restaurants this month are

Wendy’s Hamburgers,

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Texas Roadhouse

Cafe Zupas.

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When the cops arrest a mime,

do they tell him or her

that they have the right to remain silent?

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Some Things Never Change

With inflation catapulting prices to stratospheric and shoving 401(k)s into the economic mud, it’s a bit comforting to learn that some things have become cheaper.

Take the humble and ubiquitous nail.

A Wellesley College economist has drafted its history from 1695 when it cost about 12 cents, to 2020, when the price per nail was half that. The reasons are a bit convoluted and his history indicates that the price per nail almost hit 20 cents in the late 1700s and sank to a low of 2 cents during World War II.

Until the 1700s, nails were hand-forged by blacksmiths hammering a rod of iron into the proper shape. As late as the 1800s, they could make one nail a minute, compared with modern machines that spit out 2,000 nails a minute.

The first U.S. patent for cut nails – a machine cut them from a thin strip of iron – was issued in 1795. It pumped out 6,000 nails an hour. This mirrored the Industrial Revolution, which saw nail production move from blacksmith to machines progressively powered by water, steam and electricity. 

If you’re wondering why such importance is relegated to such a minor piece of hardware, you might recall how Benjamin Franklin regarded its importance:

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost

For want of a shoe, the horse was lost

For want of a horse, the rider was lost

For want of a rider, the battle was lost

For want of a battle, the kingdom of was lost

…all for want of a nail.

Nails are used to fasten one or more pieces of something together. The most common objects they are hammered into are made of wood. They also are used throughout the construction industry in concert, plaster, plastic and drywall. As proclaimed in the message above, that missing nail would have fastened a metal horseshoe to a horse’s hoof.

What once was a cut piece of metal with one end flattened into a head, has morphed into roofing nails, finishing nails, box nails, flooring nails, masonry nails, two-headed nails and screw nails, among others. But its original design, which has been documented to at least as far back as 3400 B.C. in ancient Egypt, still holds fast.

The description of nails in pennies does not spring from their cost. It denotes their length. For example, a 2-penny nail means its length covers the width of two pennies.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 23, 2023 at 9:44 pm

Bocce . . .

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. . . isn’t just a man’s game.

Women play it very well, too.

So sign up for Friday’s session.

The bus leaves at 11 a.m.

for the nearby courts.

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Never Go to The Grocery Store Hungry

Friends and family have plenty of advice on how to save money shopping for groceries: get less of the fatty types of meat, buy larger packages of breakfast cereal, purchase bigger eggs and get your vegetables at the farmer’s market.

A simple tip I learned all by myself years ago is to never go to the grocery store hungry. You wind up making too many impulse buys. Make a list of what you need and stick to it.

Buy only groceries at a gro­cery store. Most non-food items are more expensive than else­where.

Check the weight of prepack­aged products, such as potatoes. What’s labeled a “10-pound bag” can vary a lot in actual weight. Keep in mind that while the price of your favorite snack may not have gone up, its weight has gone down. Always check the unit price, and the sizes. Just because two containers are the same size doesn’t mean they have the same amount of goods inside.

Don’t buy the larger cuts of meat just because they’re marked on special. Check the per-pound price. You don’t have to pick up three pre-packaged pork chops if there are just two of you at home. Ask the butcher for two chops. You might get better meat buys at a local meat mar­ket. The service probably will be better since the butcher will grind up a pound and a half of lean round steak for you, or cut it into strips for a stir fry.

Check the supermarket prod­ucts on sale. When items you normally eat are offered at clearance prices, stock up by putting them in your freezer. Check the deli for sales items.

If you’re buying sugar for any reason — baking, for example — don’t buy anything pre-sweet­ened because the price for these products is much higher than the sugar.

And check the prices rung up by the cashier on the way out to make sure they’re correct.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 22, 2023 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Finance, News / Events

Tagged with ,

Something . . .

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. . .I never do:

I don’t stand

in front of elevator doors

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Alzheimer’s Toll Also Economic

Call it what you will: senior moments, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or any of several other descriptions of mental and memory meltdown. It still boils down to the emotionally loaded tearing down of a connection with a loved one. And it can take with it a sizeable economic loss that overwrought and overworked caregivers can easily overlook.

Adults who have paid their bills regularly as they matured will become addled by arithmetic if they fall victim to Alzheimer’s so it’s up to the family or friends near him or her to be alert to signs of faltering financial know-how. If a parent, sibling or spouse who’s handled household expenses or investment portfolios over the years begins showing signs of senior slippage, it’s time to move quickly to save the savings accumulated over the years.

Mail and bills piling up is an immediate signal of trouble.

You can conduct a simple test on your own. Go to lunch with the person and suggest you each pay for your own meal. Then observe how much difficulty he or she has figuring out what each owes, how to make change, and how much to leave as a tip. Another warning sign is the inability to recognize and address basic economic terms, such as interest, the difference between checking and savings accounts, and minimum credit-card payments.

Any of these can be signs of diminishing capabilities that can lead to increased dangers, such as a loss of credit standing and being victimized by scam artists by mail, phone, the Internet, or a knock at the door. Whether you’re in the will or not, you should take steps, or alert family members empowered to so do, to protect the slipping senior’s assets.

Recommendations should be discussed with the individual showing signs of shortcomings. He or she can be part of the process during lucid moments and outline his or her wants and likes. One simple step to take is to maintain a small checking account in his or her name so checks can be written on it to purchase Christmas gifts for the grandchildren or pay a bill. This protects the bulk of the assets while giving the person a feeling that he or she still has some financial control.

A team that includes members of the family and an attorney and financial advisor can protect both the economic and emotional, as well as the medical, needs of the person whose memory is being addled by the aging process.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 21, 2023 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Finance, Health

The Follow-up . . .

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. . . to Monday’s introductory session

with the pharmacists from Val Vista Pharmacy across the street

that was planned for later this week

has been cancelled.

Keep your eyes open for the flier announcing its new date.

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Doug and Elie have asked that

anyone wishing to have their Sunday meat grilled

should sign in with the concierge

by the previous Wednesday.

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Check Over-The-Counter Medication

Some over-the-counter medications can make the summer heat more dangerous. Antihistamines, found in cold and allergy medicines, can make the body sweat less, potentially accelerating heat-related illnesses. These medications cause the mucus membranes in the body to dry up. Since sweat is one of the body’s first defenses against heat, this could be serious.

Diuretics and some diet pills can also be potential problems. These drugs make you shed water faster than normal, either by increased urination or sweating. On hot days, this makes the body more prone to dehydration.

Experts recommend people taking these medications be extra cautious during the summer by avoiding strenuous exercise in the heat of the day, drinking plenty of water, and watching for the danger signs of heat-related injuries.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 20, 2023 at 8:28 pm

Our Neighborhood Druggists. . .

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. . . from Val Vista Pharmacy across the road

will be in the 2nd floor theater at 2 p.m. Monday

to answer any and all questions

about your prescription and over-the-counter drugs,

how they interact and

how you can make life easier.

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Don’t Drink and Dive

Medical experts are the first to warn that alcohol and recreational activities on the water don’t mix. Ten people drown on an average day.  Alcohol combined with water recreation is a factor in about one third of the adult drownings.

That’s why it’s important to understand the dangers alcohol consumption can pose, especially near the water. When people drink alcohol, their judgment and inhibitions are impaired. That is a dangerous situation, especially near water. Medical experts recommend you never drink alcohol before or while swimming or boating, so sipping spirits between laps and dips in the pool is not a good idea.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 19, 2023 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Health

Tagged with ,

A Bit O’ Blarney . . .

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. . . may still be in the works

during Sunday evening’s

Irish beer and spirits tasting

beginning at 5 p.m. in the bistro.

Don’t miss it.

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Among the things I was tutored on

while visiting a Tijuana colleague over the years

was a simple dining trick.

I eat my tacos over a tortilla

and whenever I spill anything,

I’ve made another taco.

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Western Attractions Going Electric

If you’re traveling through the western states this summer, there are some handy spots to plug in your electric vehicle while enjoying the views.

You can re-charge your vehicle at Old Faithful and Canyon Village when you drive up to Yellowstone National Park’s Mammoth Hot Springs. You can also charge up on your way south by stopping at Nevada’s gold-rush boomtown of Virginia City.

There are plug-ins at both the North Rim and South Rim of the Grand Canyon, giving you time and opportunity to hike, take a tour shuttle or just enjoy the panorama during your visit.

California’s attractions that offer handy charging stations include Yosemite National Park, Carmel by the Sea, Death Valley National Park and Point Reyes National Park.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 18, 2023 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Auto, News / Events

Tagged with ,

Why Is it . . .

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. . . that the most boring conversations begin with,

“I don’t want to bore you with my problems,

but . . .”

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Everyone seemed to enjoy St. Paddy’s Day doings

so don’t forget the Irish spirits-and-beer-tasting at

5 p.m. Sunday in the bistro.

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3 Little Questions Can Improve Health

If you can read and understand this clearly, you’re already a step ahead of many adults in the battle to stay healthy. Health literacy, which refers to the ability to read, understand, and act upon health information, has been identified as a hidden health crisis that affects all ages, races, and income levels.

This often-overlooked area of the health-care field puts one out of three people at risk for poor health outcomes. Health-care costs for individuals with low literacy skills have been estimated to be four times higher than for those with higher literacy skills. And patients with low literacy skills face a 50 percent higher risk of hospitalization compared with patients with adequate literacy skills.

Research suggests that people with low reading levels make more medication and treatment errors and lack the skills needed to successfully negotiate the health-care system. This affects the elderly because two-thirds of adults 60 years of age and older reportedly have either inadequate or marginal literacy skills.

The literacy problem can stem from poor reading comprehension, the complexity of medical information, the format in which it is delivered, or any combination of these. Studies show that anyone can have difficulty understanding health-care information. Even college-educated people who can understand complicated verbiage prefer to have medical information stated simply.

Medical terms often come across to patients as if the doctor is speaking another language. A sampling of some used by doctors and health-care providers include:

–dysfunction, a medical term that can replace problem;

–landmark, a conceptual term for turning point;

–cognitive, a term that can replace learning, and

–progressive, a value-judgment description that can mean getting worse or getting better._

A tool has been developed to make clear communication easier. It’s available on line at This program promotes three simple, but essential, questions patients should ask their doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health-care provider in every health-care situation.

1. What is my main problem?

2. What do I need to do?

3. Why is it important for me to do this?

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 17, 2023 at 8:53 pm