Senior Living December 9th

I hesitate to start with this next topic because who really wants to talk about feet, because what do you think of? Ugly toenails, disgusting smells and corns and bunions? There ain't nothing sexy about feet. (I always thought a podiatrist was the lowest of the medical professions.) But you live and learn, and I have found that this constantly used by often neglected part of the body is critical to our well being.

Thursday, December 10th at 1:00 at the Senior Center you will have the opportunity to discover more about “Foot Care in Later Life” with Fern Wilcox from Wasco County Extension. During this session of the monthly Healthy Aging Series you will learn steps to prevent foot problems including foot hygiene, how to take care of your toenails and when to seek a doctor's advice. If you think you know all you need to know about feet, try this short true or false quiz and see how smart you really are.

1. Our feet can mirror our general health. Not surprising the answer is yes. Often foot problems are the first indication of more serious problems including arthritis, diabetes, and kidney, heart, circulatory or neurological disease.

2. There is no difference between the number of men and the number of women who experience foot problems. I know women live longer, are smarter and better looking, but I figure when it comes to our feet, men and women should be equal. Right?
Wrong. This is one area where men shine. Women have about four times as many foot problems as men. One reason might be that 9 out of 10 women wear shoes too small for their feet.

3. About one quarter of all bones in the body are in the feet.
True. I was surprised to learn that the human foot contains about 52 bones - 25% of the number of bones in the body. - as well as numerous joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons.
Well, I didn’t so well. Maybe you did better, and even if you did, you will learn much more about this critical part of the body. I believe it was the Greek philosopher Socrates who proposed the first step to personal fulfillment was to “Know thy feet”.

I am not sure it is a lecture because the presentation for the Next Chapter Lecture Series is literally hands-on. Freda Wasson and Robin Fritts, both Licensed Massage Therapists will be at the Center to discuss and demonstrate the “Joy of Massage”. I know there are some of you where just the thought of being touched by some unknown person gives you the willies - like my wife - but even she has learned that massage can provide tremendous benefits. "Joy of Massage" will be informative, relaxing and fun and definitely not one to miss on Tuesday the 16th at 11:00 in the basement of the Senior Center.

With so many pleasant distractions during this time of the year: Christmas cards, holiday bazaars, and where to find a place to park, you may have forgotten about the AARP Driver Safety class this coming Monday and Tuesday. Dennis makes sure the class is informative and interesting with cookies and coffee and bathroom breaks. And if you are really good students, I heard he lets you out early for recess. The class is on the third Monday and Tuesday of every month from 9:00 – 1:00 at the Senior Center. You can call the Center at 296-4788 to sign up.

This holiday season there is music in the air everywhere. Next Tuesday, the 16th, Penny and Small Change will be performing for the Senior Center's Christmas Dance and Music with finger foods, beverages and Santa. The special evening is sponsored by Heart of Gold Caregivers. And tonight the Notecrackers will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Music starts at 7 PM, and is free but donations are appreciated. All ages are welcome.

And there is more holiday music. On Saturday the 13th at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 4 PM, you can hear the Cascade Singers “Shout the Glad Tidings”, at their 2008 Christmas Concert at the St. Peter's Landmark. General admission is $10, $5 for students and seniors, children 10 and under free. Then on Sunday December 14th at 2 PM, The Gorge Winds Concert Band will be presenting their Christmas Concert in the ballroom of the Civic Auditorium. The concert is free but a $5 donation per person is suggested. On Monday, December 15th you can listen to the next generation of musicians at The Dalles-Wahtonka Symphonic and Jazz Bands’ “Winter’s Eve Concert“ at 7:00 PM at the Civic Auditorium. And there is always music and dance at the Cherry Park Grange.

An early reminder that on Saturday December 20th the Senior Center will hold a special third Saturday Christmas Breakfast sponsored by Mill Creek Point. The Sweet Adelines will provide special seasonal music and Santa will make an appearance. Bring all your kids and grandkids for breakfast with Santa.

Will winter finally arrive? Is there snow in the air? Will I again wait till last moment to put on the snow tires? Stay tuned. Until we meet again, enjoy life and keep your feet dry.

Senior Living December 2nd

It was a nice Thanksgiving. The kids were home, Thanksgiving dinner was delicious (which I had nothing to do with), the evening was warm for the Starlight Parade and the best team (Go Ducks!) won the Civil War game. It can’t get much better. I hope you also had an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving. It is a great time to be with family and friends and to start the holiday season full of turkey and good cheer. But not for everyone.

For someone who has recently or even not so recently lost a loved one, the holidays can be particularly difficult. You may be that someone, when those memories of special times together around the holidays come flooding back, along with all of the conflicting questions associated with grief: Shouldn’t I be over this? Am I going crazy? Why can’t I feel happy?

Or it may be someone you know who is experiencing the lost of a loved one; needing your support by listening and being open and present to their quiet and many times silent sadness. It is not a time to offer advice. We all grieve differently and for many deeply personal experiences of loss it takes time and understanding to heal.

Whether it is you or a friend, it can help to find a supportive safe haven where you can cry, share your pain and realize you are not alone. It may be a natural support group such as your church or close friends. Or it may be a professional support group where you can discuss the particular challenges of the holidays.

There are several excellent and compassionate grief support groups open to anyone who has experienced a loss that provide a supportive and caring environment where you learn how to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Hospice of the Gorge (541-296-3228) offers a support group that meets at 10:00 AM every first and third Wednesdays at 751 Myrtle Street and Heart of Hospice (541-386-1945 or toll free 888-882-1942) sponsors a group that meets every Thursday, 10:00 AM in the lower level Community Room of The Commodore II, 312 Court Street.
Everyone goes through the grieving process differently. Father Joe shared with many that the only thing you can do wrong is to get stuck: get stuck in your sense of loss, your grief, your sadness. As life carries on, you will need to move on and eventually you will. But when, is up to you. It takes time. And until then, the rest or your life is waiting for you.
Several weeks ago I suggested you should be wary of the many e-mails circulating making claims that seem so true and believable. But aren't. One such cyber legend circulating for several years states that all cell phone numbers will be soon released to telemarketers. To keep your number out of reach of the telemarketers and avoid an avalanche of unsolicited calls, you will need to register your phone by calling the Do Not Call directory before an impending deadline. Although it is not a bad idea to register your phone, the FCC regulations already blocks the vast majority of telemarketer’s calls on cell phones and contrary to the e-mail, you can register your cell phone with the Do Not Call registry at any time. There is not a deadline. The number to call is 1-888-382-1222 and you have to call from the phone that you want registered. You can get more information at
The Next Chapter Lecture Series will feature John Bailey discussing various aspects of the Cherry Industry in the Columbia Gorge: the changes taking place in the industry, the new innovations and technologies in cherry production and harvest and how cherries are being sold and marketed throughout the world. It is a fascinating story and you will have a chance to hear it next Tuesday December 9th at 11:00 at the Senior CenterMusic can make a cold day warmer, a grey day brighter and a lonely day magical. So if your day has felt a little dreary, and needing a little pick-me-up, try the Center's Tuesday night music program. Tonight, Hardshell Harmony a popular local band is back to play Bluegrass; on the 9th, The Notecrakers will be playing their sweet sounds and then on the 15th, Penny and Small Change will be playing for the Center's Christmas Music and Dance which will include finger foods and treats and maybe even Santa. (And Penny has promised to play some holiday music to get everyone into the spirit.) So far no music is scheduled for the last two Tuesdays in December, but stay tuned because things could change. Admission is free but donations are gladly appreciated. Everybody is always welcome no matter their biological age.
You are invited to attend the Handel's Messiah Community Sing featuring the Community Chorus, orchestra and soloists on Saturday December 6th, 7:00 PM, at the St. Peter's Landmark Church. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. This community event is sponsored by St. Peter's Landmark Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Senior Center was closed for three days, but we got back into the swing of things on Sunday with a group of 19 folks leaving the Center for Portland to see the Singing Christmas Tree and another 100 folks dropping in for an afternoon of music: listening, dancing, jamming and eating pie. (Thanks to everyone who made it such a warm and friendly afternoon.)
Well that is all I have to say this week. Until we meet again, here is quite I want to share again that reminds us there is always hope.
Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops... at all. ~Emily Dickinson


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