Senior Living July 1st

Rumors can be the scourge of any organization or business. We appreciate the positive word of mouth but when it becomes negative and unsubstantiated, rumors can be destructive and hurtful. Vi Grant, a classic teacher of the old school who taught at Petersburg, dealt with rumors in her classroom by telling her student’s parents if they would only believe half of what their children said happened at school, she would only believe half of what they said happened at home.

I started thinking about rumors when a senior center member misunderstood the latest plans for the building expansion. Because the rooms on the plans were not clearly identified, she did not see a kitchen and concluded that Meals-on-Wheels was going to be moved out of the senior center. Considering the past history, I did not want that rumor to start. I called her back, had a nice conversation and clarified that Meals-on-Wheels was definitely included in the future plans for the Senior Center and in fact because what we were planning enhanced their valuable program, Meals-on-Wheels totally supported the expansion.

So for whatever reason rumors travel, misunderstanding, false assumptions, faulty memory (my excuse) or a need for something exciting to share, if you hear something that doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t appear to have any factual support, go to the source. Ask someone who should know. I am always willing to answer your questions and I am sure that is true in other organizations. It is in our best interests and also in the best interest of the community that false rumors are not spread.

Several weeks ago we raffled off a Senior Center Quilt and the winner was Dan and Aggie Adamson from Oregon City. They bought their winning ticket at the Senior Center’s Cherry Festival Breakfast when they came to enjoy the festivities. We now have another quilt to raffle and many have said it is even better than the last one, if that is possible. Stop by to see the new quilt hanging on the lobby wall, and buy your raffle tickets.

You are invited to a festive picnic in the Dufur City Park Saturday July 12th 11:00 am - 1:00, but by July 7th you need to make reservations by contacting Jackie Williams at 541-298-4065. The picnic is co-sponsored by the Dufur Historical Society and the Wasco County Historical Society. The cost is $8.50 per person for the BBQ sandwich, salads, desserts and drinks catered by Kramer's Market. The musical entertainment will be provided by the Dufur Valley String Band. At 1:00 pm, the Dufur Historical Society will offer tours of the Metzentine Exhibit Hall, Endersby School, Schreiber Cabin and the newly renovated Kramer's Market. And don't forget the Dufur Threshing Bee from August 8 through the 10th.

Skip and Janet Tschanz are continuing their “1st Monday Hikes”. Their next hike will be on Monday July 7th and will be a “feast for the eyes and feet”. It is an easy hike starting at Starvation Creek Park and includes Lancaster Falls and a trek along a remnant of the Historic Columbia River Highway. Skip always knows the best places to hike at the best times of the year. It is suggested hikers wear traction soled walking shoes and to bring some water. Again we will carpool from the Senior Center at 10:00 a.m. With the price of gas, donations for the drivers are welcome, but not mandatory.

Once in a while when I am on the Coffeebreak with Al Wynn I get a little flustered (maybe I am just envious of his full head of grey hair) and spout off incorrect information. So to correct myself, the next Network on Aging meeting is Thursday July 10th from 3:00 - 4:30 in the basement of the Senior Center and not the earlier time I mentioned on the radio. The meeting is open to all professionals who help support seniors in order to network, learn more about issues in the field of aging and advocate for seniors. If you would like more information contact Sue Samet at the Area Agency on Aging at 298-4101.

On July 8th the Senior Center’s regular second Tuesday musicians, “The Notecrackers” will be playing their fine dancing and listening music from the 20's through the 60's. And tonight Truman Boler is back playing his Country Gold. Music starts at 7:00 and admission is always free but donations are kindly accepted. Everyone is welcome.

The mission of the Senior Center is to promote healthy aging by sharing and caring which can be summarized in three simple words: explore – connect – contribute. You can improve your health and attitude by exploring new opportunities and taking positive risks - although it may not necessarily mean taking a walk on the wild side – by connecting with others through shared experiences and stories and by contributing back to your community.

And there are so many ways to contribute. We rely so much on volunteers to make the senior center operate, and we are not the only ones. Most non-profits from Meals-on-Wheels to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center; from Big Brothers/Big Sisters to SMART and from our local service clubs to our local churches, all rely on a cadre of volunteers. The need is huge. To try to help fill the need and to provide healthy opportunities for seniors I will try to highlight a volunteer opportunity that just may fit your interests and time commitment. Volunteering is good for the community but it is also good for the soul.

That is it for another week. Until the next time, stay cool and listen before you leap.

“It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper.” Errol Flynn

“There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” Winston Churchill

Senior Living June 24th

The fear of the unknown drives many of our decisions. We may not particularly like our current situation but its familiar and we know what to expect. In Connie Goldman’s book “Secrets of Becoming a Late Bloomer” she discusses the secret of risk taking that has helped folks find fulfillment and satisfaction in the third chapter of their lives. Positive risk taking is about moving beyond the unknown and engaging in life-affirming chances or risks that are reasoned, and appropriate.

The first step is deciding what you really want. What are your goals, your dreams and aspirations? Be honest, but positive. And writing them down will help clarify your goals. You have the best chance of success if you have a clear sense of purpose or a clear goal in mind.

No matter how old you are, everything you want in life requires some kind of risk and as we age this may be the best time to take the risks. We have less family responsibilities, the children have left home and started their own families, and we hopefully have less financial responsibilities with adequate savings and retirement to live modestly. With fewer responsibilities we have the time to be a little self-indulgent and make our lives better for ourselves and for our communities. That is if we want to, and if we are willing to take the risk.

There are many examples of people taking a chance to fulfill a life dream, but one close to my family is my mother-in-law, LaVine Rathkey. She was always interested in writing and ten years ago, retired and in her mid 60’s, she took a writing class offered by Chemeketa Community College at her local senior center. When the class was no longer funded, she and the group kept meeting as she continued to hone her writing skills. She never gave up on her dream and with the support of her husband, her first book, “Chalk Dust and Choices”, was just published.

You may not want to write a book. You may want to be an adventurous traveler and decide to attend Elderhostel classes. You may want to sing and perform in front of a live audience and decide to get your guitar and join the Jammers. Or share your interests and passions by teaching a class at the Senior Center. What do you have to lose? This may be the best time to jump into the unknown, take a risk and fulfill a life’s dream.

Some time in the past (the months all seem to flow together) the Senior Center was fortunate to host the Jammers - a bunch of friends sharing their talent and their love of music - for one of their Sunday afternoon Jam and Pie Socials. The dining room was packed, the music was great and everyone wanted them back. That day has arrived. They will play this coming Sunday, June 29thSenior Center. You never know who will show up but you do know it will be a great afternoon of music and entertainment. from 2:00 – 5:00. There will be pie and coffee for sale to raise a little money for the

On Tuesday July 1st you will have another chance for some fine musical entertainment. For the Tuesday Night Music program Truman Boler returns to the Senior Center to play his Country Gold. And tonight The Jazz Generations will be performing the Big Band sounds of the 20’s – 60’s. Music starts at 7:00 and is free and donations are appreciated. Everyone is welcome.

Today was the last Next Chapter Lecture for the summer. We will start again on the first Tuesday in September with more informative and stimulating presentations. I would like to thank all the folks who presented during this first series including: Jim Bishop, PK Swartz, Heather Runyon and Tara Donivan, Jason Corey, Jerry Jeffers, Jerry Tanquist, Jay Waterbury and Ed Goodman, Pat Case and Tina Castañares, Dean Dollarhide, Ryan LeBreton, Carola Stepper, Dan Ericksen, and Cassandra Mullins. Thanks also to Suzanne Burd, Susan Wolff and Dan Spatz from CGCC and to Joyce Powell Morin with MCMC for scheduling all of the fantastic medical folks including Dr. Stanley, Dr. Hodge, Dr. Matthew Proctor, and Susan Shipman.

I realized from an unnamed source that it is hard to hide your age when you announce you high school class reunion. But those of you from the 1968 class of The Dalles High School, listen up or detention after school. On Friday September 5th at 7:00 there will be a no-host get together at Spookys. On Saturday the 6th, there will be a brunch at 10:00 at the Chat-n-Chew, and then a class picture at noon in front of the High School. The day concludes with dinner and program starting at 5:30 at The Dalles Country Club. For more information visit the web site, or call Darlene France at 467-2371.

What better way to strengthen the gray matter between the ears than learning to play Bridge. Every Friday at the Senior Center from 1:00 – 3:00 the Bridge Club meets and is inviting anyone who wants to learn how to play Bridge as well as those who already know how. They are a supportive group that couldn’t intimidate a two of clubs. Take a chance and enjoy a friendly game of bridge.

I want to thank Dennis Morgan and all the realtors and staff at Windermere Realty for cleaning up the grounds around the Center. They spent a whole morning cutting back the ivy, pulling weeds and hauling debris. Every year Windermere staff takes a day off to work on a community project and the Senior Center was fortunate to be this year’s recipient of their community goodwill. Also thanks to David Zopf for taking care of the rose garden and to Mary McDonald for picking the roses for everyone to enjoy at the Center.

That is it for another week. Until the next time, “Remember that every day God is saying to you, ‘May I have this dance?’ ”

Senior LIving June 17th

Often as we age we settle into our familiar routines. They are comforting and provide a sense of control. We don’t have to think; it’s automatic. When I arrive at the Senior Center every morning, I unlock the basement door, turn off the alarm, unlock both front doors, turn on my computer, and start my daily tasks. When I am interrupted from my regular routine, I usually end up forgetting something. Routines provide a tremendous benefit in our daily lives, but because they are automatic and require very little mental effort, they do not increase the cognitive activity that helps strengthen our brains.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that by engaging in new and novel activities that do not depend on automatice processing we can maintain or even improve our cognitive health. The key is to seek activities requiring cognitive effort where you actively focus on the task and give it enough attention to successfully complete the task.

Instead of engaging in a passive activity such as watching TV, try learning something new: a new card game, a new language, or how about tap dancing (you have to learn to use both your brain and your feet at the same time). Or join a book club, try a new Wii game, or learn how to use a computer - which will keep you busy and frustrated for many years.

It is even suggested you change the way you do simple daily tasks: drive home a different way, and observe the new surrondings; learn to eat with chop sticks and then change hands. Very few things maintain their novelty for very long, so we must constantly pursue new opportunities to challenge our brains. In the simplist terms; you either use it or lose it.

In order to provide a structured and challenging program to strengthen our brains, I would like to establish within the next year a Brain Fitness Gym within the computer lab at the Senior Center. At the National Conference on Aging I saw several computer software programs marketed to senior centers and retirement communities to help maintain cognitive health. If you or someone you know would be interested in helping start a Brain Fitness Gym get in touch with me. And in the mean time if you are interested in learning more about brain health check out the Sharp Brains website at

This coming Tuesday the 24th the Next Chapter Lecture Series presents “Managing your Medications without Mayhem or Mix-up. “ The presenters will be Icey Sheeran and Marcia Medler both RN’s from Visiting Health Services. Since most of all of us take some kind of medications and many on a regular basis, you should find this interactive presentation informative and helpful. This lecture will be the last one until September, so we can take the summer off to plan for the next season of lectures. If you have any suggestions or ideas for lectures or would like to speak about a specific topic, contact us at the Center 296-4788.

The Cascade Singers will present a farewell concert prior to a musical tour of the British Isles on Saturday, June 21, at St. Peter’s Landmark in The Dalles starting at 2 p.m. There is no charge for the concert, but donations will be split between Cascade Singers and St. Peter’s Landmark. The local concert is a “dry run” of the tour program after several weeks of intensive rehearsals.

And later that same day at 7:00 pm at The Dalles High School Auditorium, Maryhill Museum of Art is presenting a Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance production of La Noir, Dance of the Elements, and a preview of the new work, Ghosts, all inspired by the mesmerizing spectacles of Loïe Fuller’s dances. Artistic Director Jody Sperling — a choreographer, performer and dance scholar — combines research with imagination, to craft inventive, visually lush and often humorous dances. Sperling's luminous works in the style of early modern dancer Loïe Fuller are a mainstay of the repertory. General Admission is $10.

On Sunday, June 22, 2008, 5:00pm - 8:00pm you can celebrate the 100 year opening of the Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur. Live music by Hardshell Harmony, catered dinner on the north lawn, and a vintage fashion show 1900's - 1920's with pieces from the Historical Museum of Hood River County. All proceeds will benefit the continued restoration and collection for the museum. Tickets are $40 and available by calling 541-467-2277 Seating is limited. Period dress is encouraged!

On June 24th, Tuesday Night Music at the Senior Center will feature “The Jazz Generations” playing their big band sounds. There is no excuse now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer. Music starts at 7:00 pm and everyone is invited, young and old. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted. And tonight the always popular bluegrass band “Hardshell Harmony” is performing.

This coming Saturday is the third Saturday of the month so you know what that means. You don’t have to cook breakfast! Edna Chandler and Bonnie Lobdell will be cooking up a fine breakfast at the Senior Center for your morning enjoyment. Edna has created four different menus that she rotates though out the year and this month’s menu includes: French Toast, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit and the regular beverages. This month’s sponsor is the Oregon Veterans’ Home and we appreciate their support. I remember when the late Fred Spivey and the Dalles Chamber of Commerce worked so hard to get the legislative support to build the Veteran’s home here in The Dalles. The Veteran’s Home is a real asset to the community and to veterans throughout the state.

That is it for another week. Until we meet again try something new, take a chance and explore new horizons. Your comfort zone is not always the best place to be.

Senior Living June 10th 2008

During the Cherry Festival, I had a chance to talk with Carl and Ruth Long whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while. As we were chatting, Carl mentioned how much fun they have had “geocaching”. They had traveled around Oregon and beyond looking for what one could call buried treasures. A little later I saw Lee Bryant, past director of the Senior Center. We shared the usual greetings and when I mentioned my conversation with the Long’s about geocaching, I found out that she was also an avid “Geocacher”. Within 30 minutes I had two conversations with folks who were so excited about something I had never heard of. I needed to know more.

I found that Geocaching is relatively new. It started in 2000 when the satellites circling the earth were upgraded increasing the accuracy of GPS technology by ten times, and GPS enthusiasts immediately started thinking of ways to use this new capability.

It wasn’t long before a few GPS geeks started leaving items in the woods to test the accuracy of the GPS system and posting the GPS coordinates on the internet. That allowed others to find the items using a GPS unit, an electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 6-20 feet) anywhere on the planet. Soon the word spread over the internet and folks started hiding their own caches and posting the coordinates on the new web site.

Part of Geocaching’s popularity is that it is a simple game: you hide a container (cache) and note the coordinates with a GPS unit, and with simple rules: take something from the cache, leave something in the cache and write about it in the logbook. What makes it intriguing is that a cache can be anything from some cheap trinkets to a $1000 bill. Since geocaching began there are now tens of thousands of caches hidden all over the world (28 caches hidden within 5 miles of The Dalles) with the locations posted on the geocaching website.

This is the modern equivelent of the treasuer hunt we all enjoyed as kids except this is for kids of all ages. You can learn more about this exciting new game, on Tuesday June 17th at 11:00 at the Next Chapter Lecture Series. Cassandra Mullins from Parks and Rec will discuss Geocaching: how to use a GPS unit, tips and tricks for finding your first geocache and how to set up an account on line. Don’t miss this presentation.

The Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music on June 17th will again feature “Hardshell Harmony” who play simple traditional bluegrass music and harmony vocals. Folks really enjoyed them the last time they performed at the Senior Center and I encourage you to take the night off, leave the dishes for another day, and stroll over to the Senior Center for a foot-tappin good time. This energetic group features Clint Miller on the fiddle, KC Kortge on the banjo, Mike Robarge on the lead guitar and Candie Robarge on the bass. And tonight the “Notecrackers” will be playing.The music always starts at 7:00 pm. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted. Music night is for everyone whether you are ten or a hundred years old.

Every Monday night from 7:00 – 8:30 is now Wii bowling night at the Senior Center. We also practice on Thursdays and Fridays after lunch for those who need the practice - although for some of us the more we practice the worse we get. We were honored to have Marc Berry, the mayor of Mosier, dropping by to try out his Wii bowling skills. We hope he will stop in again. Thanks to several donations we will hopefully have another Wii in a couple of weeks so will be able to accommodate more bowlers. Now if we can only get the new Wii “Fit” we can practice surfboarding without getting wet.

The Dalles Wahtonka High School class of 2008 graduated this last Saturday, the first graduating class that completed all four years in the unified district. High School graduation is a time when the whole community comes together; celebrates the end of these young peoples’ high school careers and wishes them the best as they move to the next stage of their life’s journey.

As the summer is a time for high school graduations, it is also a time for high school reunions. The Dalles High School class of 1958 will hold its 50th reunion July 31 through August 3, 2008. Contact Mike Fowler at or 541-980-7662 for more information. The Dalles High Class of 1963 will hold their 45-year class reunion September 19, 20 and 21. You can find more information at their website or contact Dennis Davis at 296-9580. Also The Dalles High School class of 1978 is trying to locate classmates for their reunion this summer. You can find the names of the missing classmates in the Entertainment section on The Dalles Chronicle website. For more information contact Carri at 298-1667.

And there is more. The Dalles High School class of 1988 will have its 20-year reunion during the weekend of August 1-3. Contact Suzy Sato by email at for more information. And The Dalles High School class of 1998 will hold its 10th reunion on June 27 and 28. All events and information can be found on their class website, or contact the reunion committee at

Well that’s a wrap for another week. Until we meet again, you don’t always need GPS because it is when we get lost that we find new wonders.

“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but at least you can prevent them from making nests in your hair." Old Chinese proverb.

Senior Living June 3rd 2008

I often include a humorous quote at the end of this column to lighten things up and to provide an incentive to read to the very end. But last week I ran out of space. So this time I am adding a little humor at the beginning. I shared this strategy with Rose and she asked if I wasn't taking a chance that you wouldn't read any further. Good point! So I am going to scatter a few quotes throughout as you travel the bumpy road to the end. ("An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her." Agatha Christie)

But it also started me thinking about the importance of humor, mirth (which I learned is the positive emotion that accompanies humor) and laughter. Dr. Steve Allen, Jr., son of the talk show host and comedian, said "Laughing, especially at yourself is the most powerful stress-releaser we have." He goes on to suggest that humor not only reduces the body's negative reaction to stress, it helps prevent such stress from occurring in the first place.

Humor is particularly helpful as we age, because it acknowledges the incongruities and absurdities of life and reminds us that we are all in this together. We all deal with the struggles and challenges of aging and yet we all are still alive and kicking and dancing or at least moving. As Bill Cosby said, "If you can find humor in a thing, you can survive it."

The best laugh is always on ourselves (Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can." - Elsa Maxwell at age 75) or as Robert Fulton puts it "It is a matter of laughing with ourselves, not at ourselves." One of these days I will share with you my most embarrassing moment - which still makes me smile and turn a little red- if I can gather the nerve. But what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you? What makes you smile or laugh?

A sense of humor is very individual. Some can be offended while others find a joke hilarious (I left out several quotes because my wife didn't think they were appropriate for such a young audience.) But I hope I have included a quote that made you smile. (Jack Benny, "I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either.")

In June you will have another chance to take advantage of AARP’s Driver Safety Class promotion where two people (one with an AARP Card.) can take the class for the individual price of $10. To make this opportunity possible, the June class has been moved up a week to next Monday and Tuesday, June 9th and 10th from 9:00 – 1:00 each day. Call the Senior Center at 296-4788 to sign up for the class.

The Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday June 10th at 11:00 will feature Carola Stepper, Board Certified Acupuncturist and founder of Cascade Acupuncture Center. She will discuss and demonstrate “Trigger Point Therapy” including practical instructions on how to release neck and shoulder tension. Bring a really stressed partner and learn how to loosen up. ("I heard a woman ask the doctor if it was okay to have children after thirty-five. I said, "Thirty-five children is enough for any women." Gracie Allen)

Next Tuesday, June 10th at 7:00 pm at the Senior Center, the Notecrackers will be performing. We really appreciate their commitment to the Senior Center by performing every second Tuesday. And tonight Harold Gimlin and Friends are playing Country and Western. Show starts at 7:00. Free but donations gladly accepted.

We have scheduled a trip to the award winning Sherman County Historical Museum on Thursday June 5th. We will carpool from the Senior Center at 9:30, visit the museum and have lunch before we return. Their newest exhibit is the Conservation, Cultivation and Clothespins Exhibit which “tells the story of how gasoline and diesel power along with electricity changed the family farm.” We have many more day trips planned for the summer which I will mention in the coming weeks. (This is where I would have added the inappropriate quote by Groucho Marxs.)

It feels like the cost of food is rising as fast as gas which is especially hard on folks with fixed incomes. It also significantly affects Meals-on-Wheels whose federal funding has been fixed for many years. In their monthly newsletter they wrote, “Starting July 1st, 2008, we will be raising the ‘suggested donation’ to $3.50 for anyone over sixty and $5.50 for anyone under 60. We have worked very hard to keep the cost down, but found this is no longer possible with rising food costs. Less than a year ago, dry milk was around $40 for 25 pounds. It now costs $101.00 for 25 pounds. Eggs went from $12.78 for 15 dozen to $28 for 15 dozen. So the increase we are asking for will help pay for the food only. The last time that an increase was put into effect was in 1998.”

Meals-on-Wheels is also looking at possibly choosing a new name for the lunch time meal they serve in the dining room, since Meals-on-Wheels best describes the meals they send out for home deliveries. They would still be called Meals-on-Wheels but with a different name for the on site lunch. If you have any suggestions, call them a 298-8333.

That is it for another week. Until the next time, keep laughing. We can’t take life seriously all the time.

In difference to Elt Fadness the master of all Ole and Lena stories: Ole and Lena were at the drive-in movie. Ole says, “Say Lena, you wanna get in the back seat?” Lena says, “Naw, Ole, I’d just as soon stay up here with you.”


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