Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, February 15, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page 12

Mountain Views News Saturday, February 15, 2014 
12 THE GOOD LIFEMountain Views News Saturday, February 15, 2014 

Dear Savvy Senior:
What are the IRS income tax filing requirements 
for seniors this tax season? My income dropped way 
down when I retired last year, so I’m wondering if I 
need to even file a tax return this year.
Recently Retired 

Dear Recently:
Whether or not you are required to file a federal income tax return this year depends on your gross 
income, as well as your filing status and age. Your gross income includes all the income you receive 
that is not exempt from tax, not including Social Security benefits, unless you are married and filing 

To get a detailed breakdown on federal filing requirements, along with information on taxable and 
nontaxable income, call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail you a free copy of the “Tax 
Guide for Seniors” (publication 554), or see 

In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the IRS filing requirements for this tax season. If your gross 
income from 2013 was lower than the amount listed in your filing status, you probably won’t have to 
file. But if it’s over, you will. 

• Single: $10,000 ($11,500 if you’re 65 or older by Jan. 1, 2014). 
• Married filing jointly: $20,000 ($21,200 if you or your spouse is 65 or older; or $22,400 if 
you’re both over 65). 
• Married filing separately: $3,900 at any age. 
• Head of household: $12,850 ($14,350 if age 65 or older). 
• Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child: $16,100 ($17,300 if age 65 or older). 
Special RequirementsBe aware that there are some special financial situations that require you to file a tax return, even if 
your gross income falls below the IRS filing requirement. For example, if you had net earnings from 
self-employment in 2013 of $400 or more, or if you owe any special taxes to the IRS such as alternative 
minimum tax or IRA tax penalties, you’ll probably need to file. 

To figure this out, the IRS offers a resource on their website called “Do I Need to File a Tax Return?” 
that asks a series of questions that will help you determine if you’re required to file, or if you should 
file because you’re due a refund. You can access this page at
Return%3F, or you can get assistance over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040. 
You can also get face-to-face help at a Taxpayer Assistance Center. See or call 
800-829-1040 to locate a center near you. 

Check Your State 
Even if you’re not required to file a federal tax return this year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also 
excused from filing state income taxes. Check with your state tax agency before concluding that you’re 
entirely in the clear. For links to state and local tax agencies see – click on “State Agencies/
Links” on the menu bar. 

Tax Prep AssistanceIf you find that you do need to file a tax return this year, you can get help through the Tax Counseling 
for the Elderly (or TCE) program. Sponsored by the IRS, TEC provides free tax preparation and 
counseling to middle and low-income taxpayers, age 60 and older. Call 800-906-9887 to locate a 
service near you. 

Also check with AARP, a participant in the TCE program that provides free tax preparation at more 
than 5,000 sites nationwide. To locate an AARP Tax-Aide site call 888-227-7669 or visit
findtaxhelp. You don’t have to be an AARP member to use this service. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.
org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. 

KATIE Tse.....................This and That 


 KPCC aired an interesting story last week. Here it is in a nutshell: a woman met a 
man who she wasn’t sure about, although he pursued her with gusto from the start. 
One day she noticed his journal left conspicuously on a table. Her curiosity got the 
better of her, and she opened the book. After reading lurid details of his current 

exploits with other women, she broke up with him immediately. Her sister relayed a similar account 
of finding her boyfriend’s journal lying out in the open. Discovering that he intended to break up 
with her, she used the opportunity to beat him to the punch.

 The lesson in these stories is that satisfying the urge to know what someone really thinks of you 
will likely leave you wounded in the end. But with all this talk of journals, all I could think of was 
--how many men really keep journals? We all know “journal” is just a masculine name for “diary.” 
And “diaries” conjure up images of hard bound, floral print books fastened with dainty clasps. I 
also wondered, how did these women 
know the books were diaries? 
(Assuming they didn’t have ruffles or 
rhinestones) Perhaps men’s journals 
have some sort of clasping devise, a 
rugged leather cord fastened through 
a buckle. Sorry, I don’t care if it’s raw 
hide with metal studs, diaries are still 

 Stereotypically speaking, men are 
also less verbal than women, so the 
thought of them chronicling their 
daily lives seems unusual. And why 
were these men leaving their diaries, 
containing their most intimate 
thoughts, exposed to possible prying 
eyes? It’s as if they were screaming 
“Read me! Read me!” They seemed 
to be using the journals as a passive 
form of exhibitionism. Which brings 
us to question the actual purpose of 
journaling. Often people talk about 
journaling as a cathartic means of 
getting through rough times in life. 
Such as: “My counselor told me to 
journal my feelings as my divorce was being finalized.” Few people are disciplined enough to make 
daily entries if life is hunky dory. So, keeping a diary implies some specific needs on the part of the 
writer. Either you’re afraid you’ll forget all the interesting things that happen to you, or you need 
some sort of record if you’re ever called to testify as to what you were doing on February 18, 2009. Or, 
as with passive exhibitionism, you might be mildly egocentric and believe that your daily experiences 
are more interesting and relevant than those of everyone else. (These are the people who Tweet about 
the cute way their cat crawls in a circle before going to sleep.)

I recently started a very informal diary of my own. Informal, in that it’s a Word document; putting 
pen to paper is just too much effort. And since I plan to read it at some later date, I’ve decided to 
record only majorly happy or extremely funny events. And because these don’t happen regularly, I’m 
not obligated to make daily entries. One of my latest entries was about a blond Labrador crossing 
Baldwin as I was driving north. Its owner got to the middle of the road, and then his dog hunkered 
down right in the middle of the street. No amount of cajoling, yelling, or jerking of its leash made 
a bit of difference. At last, the owner had no choice but to drag him across, in an upright seated 
position. That dog must have a calloused bottom or have been just really stubborn. See, this is the 
sort of thing I’ll laugh about in my twilight years, even if I don’t recall the actual incident. 

(Originally published in February, 2012) 


By Pat Birdsall 


 I’ve enjoyed doing this weekly column for, it seems like eons. Unfortunately, I have to put an end to 
the time it consumes and put equal or more time into something I have been woefully neglecting…
myself. I was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Wow! For me, that is really a tough pill 
to swallow. I guess I should be doing a “happy dance” because at first it was thought I had ALS or 
Lou Gehrig’s disease. However, I’m not in the mood for dancing. I have done some reading about 
Parkinson’s and must do a lot more. My first instinct was to be an ostrich and ignore it, but I can’t, 
I have constant reminders. I have to change my entire lifestyle in order to live with this and that 
requires time. So to my faithful reader or readers, wish me well…Thanks for putting up with my 
atrocious punctuation and grammar. 

 I want to take this time to thank a few people who have helped me tremendously: Linda Boehm, 
accompanied me to several doctor’s appointments therefore, I didn’t have to hear the bad news by 
myself; in addition, Linda calls me every week to see how I’m doing. Ann Luke has been emailing 
me for weekly updates on my condition for a long time despite her busy schedule, thanks, Ann. 
To Amy Putnam for emailing me important facts about Parkinson’s and excellent and needed 
advice. To my wonderful neighbors who not only give me moral support but help with things I can’t 
physically do for myself any more. To Dr. Ray Baran, for taking my trash cans out every week and 
for giving me vitamins and advice. His wife Cindy, is just an email or a phone call away with help 
and/or encouragement. I also can’t express how grateful I am that my next door neighbors are Anthe 
Wosczyna and her husband, Carlos Gomez. I feel so blessed and safe having them next door. The 
reasons are too numerous to list. Thanks too, to Shirley Williams for offering me some of her home 
cooking! The list is thankfully long, and I’m sure I’m omitting or forgetting to list people that I 
should. Forgive me…Lastly, I want to thank Susan Henderson for giving me the opportunity to even 
write this column and more importantly, for her friendship. 


HELPFUL HINT: In an emergency, and we seem to have many, a crayon will burn for 30 


FOR YOUR FUNNY BONE - A Michigan man was stopped by a game warden in 
East Michigan recently with two ice chests full of live fish in water, leaving a river well known for its 
fishing. The game warden asked the man, “Do you have a license to catch those fish?” “No, my friend, 
I don’t have a license. These are my pet fish.” “Pet fish?” “Yep, every night I take these down to the river 
and let ‘em swim around for a while. Then I whistle and they jump right back into ice chest and I take 
’em home. “That’s a bunch of BS! Fish can’t do that!” 
The man looked at the game warden for a moment and then said, “It’s the truth. I’ll show you, it really 
works” “Okay, I’ve GOT to see this!” The man poured the fish in the river and stood and waited. After 
several minutes, the game warden turned to him and said, “Well?”… “Well, what?” said the man. 
“When are you going to call them back?” “Call who back? “The FISH!” “What fish?” 

~ ~ ~ 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … February Birthdays 

Hilda Pittman, Anne-Marie Stockdale, Ann Luke, Susan Henderson, Jan Reed, Peter 

Lippincott, Georgia Lippincott, Allie Attay, Ursula El-Tawansy, Gladys Moser, Sylvia 

Lorhan, Jan O’Day, Ana Ptanski, Winifred Swanson , Marian DeMars, Vickie Vernon, Mary 

Beth Knox, Sharon Lefler, and, a very special 90th Birthday to a very special guy… GORDON 
CALDWELL! Happy Birthday my friend. * To add your name to this distinguished list, please 
call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required, however you must be 60 years old or 


Quote of the Week: “The greatest wealth is health.” Virgil 

ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park 
House (Senior Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

 YMCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café: Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon 

(Participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.)
All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation of $2.00 
for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are necessary as space is 
limited. Please call 24 hours in advance...626.355.0256 

Free Balance Class: Monday, January 27th 11:00 to 11:45 with Shannon Vandevelde. A variety of 
balance exercises are practiced; all ability levels are encouraged and welcomed. 

Free Blood Pressure Testing: Held Second Tuesday of the month from 11:00 am-12:00 pm: No 
appointment necessary. 

Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: 11:00 to 11:45 Every Wednesday morning. Join Paul Hagen for this free class that 
focuses on senior yoga techniques. No reservation is necessary! 

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Lem Makupson volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of 
the month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law. 
*Appointments are a must! Please call: 626.355.7394 to make yours 

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays of 
our patrons at 12:30 pm. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.) 

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00pm. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. 

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 pm -1:45 pm Conducted by long-time 
volunteer, Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. 

Senior Citizens Club: Every Saturday at the Hart Park House (Senior Center). Brown bag lunch at 
11:30am; Club meeting at Noon; Bingo 12:30- 3:30 pm. Only .25c per card. 

Lunch and Learn- “The Story of Old Pasadena”
Wednesday, February 26th- 12:00- 1:00 pm Hart Park House Senior CenterPresentation by The Pasadena Heritage will give an overview of the original downtown, which is now 
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pasadena was incorporated in 1886.During the 
next 14 years the population of Pasadena exploded to more than 30,000 inhabitants. Learn why many 
of old Pasadena buildings have split personalities, hear the story of the Castle Green and the snake 
oil salesman who built it. And experience the real Old Pasadena with its fascinating array of historic 
buildings. Mark your calendars and don’t miss this great presentation. If you would like to have lunch 
during the talk, please make a lunch reservation with the Senior Lunch Café at 626.355.0256 or bring 
your own. 


Feline Conservation Center (Rosamond, Ca.) Date: Thursday, February 27, 2014 

Time: 9:00 am- 4:00 pm Meeting Location: Hart Park House Senior Center

 Cost: $15.00 (does not include lunch)
Home to over 70 of the world’s most endangered felines; the Feline Conservation Center is a breeding 
zoo and research facility. Cat lovers of all ages are fascinated by the cats (and the peacocks) and unlike 
a zoo, the Conservation Center has no moats so visitors can get as close as 5 feet away from these 
beautiful (but dangerous) cats. Following the one-hour tour is a visit to the gift shop and lunch at a 
nearby restaurant. It is recommended to bring $10-15 for lunch. Last day to register is Wednesday, 
February 19th. Level of Walking: Light to Moderate 

Whale Watching (Long Beach, Ca.) Date: Saturday, March 22, 2014 
Time: 10:00 am-3:30 pm Meeting Location: Community Recreation CenterCost: $31.00 (does not include lunch)
Don’t miss the Community Services Department’s annual whale watching excursion. The 2014 
excursion will visit the same whale watching Charter Company as 2013, which features a narrated 
cruise by Aquarium of the Pacific staff and with indoor and outdoor seating. Participants can bring 
their own lunch to enjoy on the boat, or purchase snack items on board. Children 2 and under are 
free. Last day to register is Tuesday, March 11th. 
Level of Walking: Minimal 

*Registering for Excursions can be done in person at the Hart Park House Senior Center and the 
Community Recreation Center or online at Cash, checks, and credit 
cards are accepted. Make checks payable “City of Sierra Madre”. Payment must be made at the time 
of reservation. 


Senior Cinema: FREE movies are shown this month, on the 3rd and 5th Wednesdays. ~Shown in 
Sierra Madre’s City Hall Council Chambers 

February 19th: The Great Gatsby (1974)

It follows the life and times of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his neighbor Nick, who recounts his 
encounter with Gatsby at the height of the Roaring Twenties. Rated PG Start time: 1:00 pm (run time 
144 minutes) Featuring: Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. 

Call Patricia at 626-818-2698 Today!