BOOK REPORTS: Beating boredom; trailblazing black women; and Betty White

“Many of my clients confide in me that they fear being bored in retirement,” said Joe Casey, an executive coach and managing partner of Retirement Wisdom. “But it turns out that there’s a valuable benefit to boredom. It’s a signal that it’s time to explore new things. It can be a powerful catalyst for new pursuits. If you put time into it, it can get you moving in a new direction. Casey’s book, “Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy,” has ideas on how to bring your whole brain to retirement, create a second act, and live your best post-work life. They cover cultivating creativity, preparing emotionally, physically and mentally for retirement, navigating common challenges of retirement: and recognizing that retirement isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Casey retired at 52 after working for 26 years at Merrill Lynch as a senior vice president and in human resources.

“Trailblazing Black Women of Washington State” ( chronicles the lives and contributions of women who paved the way for new generations by breaking glass ceilings, organizing clubs, and making history as the first in their fields. From Nettie Craig Asberry, founder of the Tacoma NAACP, to Dr. Dolores Silas, now honored by a school bearing her name, teachers, scientists and politicians forged a path amid adversity, while others made a mark in wartime industry and the Seattle music scene. The author, Marilyn Morgan, is a historian and photographer living in Seattle.

In “Betty White’s Pearls of Wisdom,” author Patty Sullivan, a lifelong confidante and family member, reveals how remarkable the late actress-entertainer was. Patty met Betty in the late 1960s, and “her Sullivans”—Patty; her husband, Tom (whom Betty played matchmaker to); and their two children—became Betty’s adopted family, enjoying a rich relationship and amazing closeness for 53 years, until Betty’s final days. Through the intimate stories Patty shares, readers ee Betty’s fun-loving banter over a game of Scrabble, her wisdom imparted on a moonlit Christmas sleigh ride, and her passionate advocacy for all members of the animal kingdom. Proceeds from sales of the book (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, will benefit the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, one of cherished wildlife conservation efforts of the iconic woman who died in December 2021 at the age of 99.



Seattle a good place to be carless

Transit options such as light rail are a reason Seattle is ranked among the best U.S. cities for life without owning a car.

Prefer to get around on two feet instead of four wheels? In some cities, you can easily ditch your car and hoof it — or bike, take public transit, or share a ride when you need to.

And for those who would rather not have an automobile at all, LawnStarter, a lawncare company that also provides consumer and lifestyle information, has ranked what it believes are the best U.S. cities to live without a car. The rankings, made public in November, compared the 200 biggest U.S. cities based on 19 indicators of car-free-friendliness, including a city’s walkability, transit ridership, climate, and pedestrian safety.

Seattle landed in the top 10, at number 5. Other Washington cities and their rankings: Spokane 50th, Tacoma  60th, and Bellevue 129th.

Joining Seattle in the top 10, from top to bottom, are San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., New York City, Portland, Ore., Fort Collins, Colo., Minneapolis, Madison, Wis., and Sunnyvale, Calif.

By Maura Horton

Getting dressed in the morning is an activity most people take for granted. Opening a drawer and pulling out socks, walking into a closet and selecting a shirt and pants are tasks completed without a second thought. But for people with disabilities and limited mobility due to health conditions or aging, these daily tasks can be impossible without assistance in the traditionally built home.

According to AARP, nearly 90 percent of adults over 65 want to remain in their current homes as they grow older. In 2019, there were 54.1 million people 65 and older, and that number is projected to reach 94 million in 2060. Currently, 40 percent of older adults report having mobility issues, and according to the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one in four U.S. adults has a disability, with mobility ranking as the most common functional disability.

Usually, when a home is being designed for physical accommodations, people first think about making changes in kitchens and bathrooms where a lot of time is spent and people could encounter hazards like wet floors. But one area of the home that is often overlooked when planning for aging in place or adaptive design are closets.

Especially when designing for aging in place, it’s important to plan for future needs. Closets should have wider doorways, enough space to fit a wheelchair or walker without knocking into hangers or running into walls, and b free of obstructions. Doorways should also be free of transitions between flooring types to eliminate potential trip and fall hazards. Instead of a walk-in closet, the design style is wheel-in.

In addition to the structure of the closet, the hardware is also very important. Pulling open a door, even a sliding door, can be difficult if a person has arthritis, an upper-body limb difference, or is recovering from surgery, for example. Doors should be lightweight, hardware large and easy to grip. Self-closing drawers can be difficult to pull open for a person with limited upper-body strength and may need to be avoided. Drawer hardware should also be easy to grip but shouldn’t have sharp edges that protrude from the drawer front and could cause cuts and bruises on limbs.

Instead of stationary hanging racks, closets should be equipped with adjustable racks that can be pulled down manually to a lower level using a rod or automatically using a remote. This option maximizes storage space without limiting accessibility.

Storage at floor level can be as challenging as storage that is located too high if a person has difficulty bending over and balancing. Raised shoe racks and drawers at a mid-level height can help eliminate the need for strenuous movements daily.

Another important design factor for adaptive closets is lighting. Motion-sensing lighting, or placing a light switch outside the closet, can help reduce risks for injury if someone is entering a closet in the dark. Additional lighting along floors and even in drawers can make it easier to locate items if a homeowner has diminishing vision.

Designing an adaptive closet from scratch allows for more accommodations than altering an existing home. Obviously, there are more opportunities to design larger closets, but there are also opportunities to include blocking in the walls to make it easy to add grab bars in certain locations if they are needed in the future. Doorways can also be placed in areas that make it easier to open the door and enter the closet. But any existing closet can also be remodeled to fit the needs of the homeowner. The important considerations to keep in mind are grip strength, range of motion, reachability, and safety.


Maura Horton is an adaptive design expert and president of MagnaReady.



Some twists on poinsettias for the holidays

By Melinda Myers

While enjoying your holidays, a discussion on the proper pronunciation of poinsettia may arise. Some say poinsett-a and don’t pronounce the second i. Others include it and say Poinsett-e-a. You will find both pronunciations in various dictionaries. In other words, either one is considered correct, so no one loses this debate.

And nothing says the holidays like a poinsettia. This year, try some new ways to display this festive plant.

Poinsettias are available in a variety of colors, including white, pink, hot pink, yellow, peach, marbled and speckled. These colorful parts of the plant, often referred to as flowers, are actually modified leaves called bracts. The real flowers are small, yellow, and at the tip of the stem surrounded by the bract.

Look for new places to display your poinsettia. Place a plant on a side or serving table. Remove the foil and set the plant in a decorative container. Try a hot pink poinsettia in a white pot or several different colors set in a serving tray, basket, or unique container. Add a table runner, candlestick, bowl of colorful fruit, or other decorative touches.

Dress up individual or groups of poinsettias. White ones donned with colorful berries, Chinese lantern pods and bobbles may be all you need for an eye-catching display.
Use poinsettias as a centerpiece for your holiday meals. Place several potted poinsettias in the middle of the table. Cover the pots with greens, then add some colorful pepper berries, cranberries, apples, or ornaments. Compact poinsettias like the Princettia poinsettia, with its abundant vibrant flowers, work well for this application. Your guests will be able to see across the table as they visit over dinner.

Look for other ways to include these in your holiday décor. Even one cut poinsettia flower set among a bowl of silver, gold or white ornaments adds a nice holiday touch. Set a few cut flowers aside to use as unique package adornments. Just secure the flower, floral pick and all, with a colorful ribbon to the gift.

Use cut poinsettia flowers in a vase like you would other blooms. Even one of these large blossoms puts on quite the display and is sure to brighten even the smallest of rooms.


Melinda Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books and the host of a DVD series and television and radio programs on gardening.

Compact poinsettias, such as the Princettia, are effective centerpieces for holiday tables. (Photo credit: Suntory Flowers)

Her web site is