Bingo every Thursday and Saturday Nights. Doors open at 4:00 and games start at 6:00. New players encouraged to arrive by 5:30. Minimum buy-in is $10.

Saturday Holiday Breakfast on December 9th from 8:00 - 9:30 sponsored by Dennis Morgan and Dean Dollarhide.

UPDATED 11.22.17

Aging Well December 30

I should learn not to wait until Monday to write this column especially when there is the possibility of spending Monday morning shoveling snow. But all things shall pass, and soon it will be a new year: a time to turn over a new leaf, to open a new door and maybe even find the car keys. It’s also a time to make those New Year’s resolutions that spring from hope and optimism and usually end in defeat and disappointment. But the real lesson is that we keep trying. And each year we identify old and new ways to make ourselves and the world a little better.

Do you have any resolutions for this new year? Trying something new: writing a poem or a song even though it may not be heard by anyone else. Or to start walking or maybe just to get out of the house more often. Or to spend more time with family and friends which according to at least one survey is the most common resolution. They don’t have to be spectacular or memorable. They can be small steps, but steps nonetheless that will help us fulfill our purpose during this sacred and noble stage of our lives.

Thanks to all the folks who gave of themselves to make this Christmas season special for others. There are many examples from the small but meaningful gifts of cookies or special Christmas ties to church and community Christmas programs, to the Christmas Eve dinner; a community effort spearheaded by Tracy and Mark Linebarger that fed hundreds. And Meals on Wheels would like to thank those who made Christmas a little more special for the folks who receive home delivered meals: Mid-Columbia Medical Center and the Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors for providing the Christmas gifts and Gloria Vanderzanden from Regence Blue Cross for arranging the large donation of small live Christmas trees.

Tonight Truman Boler will have the Center bouncing with his “Country Gold” – he was snowed out earlier this month and hopefully it won’t happen again. And next week I am not sure who is playing until I get word from the one who shall not be named who books all the musical talent. All I can say is he always lines up good music. The music and dancing starts at 7:00 and there is no charge although donations are appreciated.

The correct answer to last week's question, “What 1939 Christmas story was put to music and sung by Gene Autry in 1949?” was Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Of the many correct answers, the first name drawn and the winner of a bingo packet for Saturday Night bingo was Diana Weston.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, I am adding a little twist. There will be no wrong answers and all answers will be included in the drawing for either another Saturday bingo pocket or a box of chocolates - which ever sin you prefer. And the question? “What is your favorite New Year's Eve memory?” Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 296-4788 or just drop off your recollection at the Center.

Well that is it; another day, another year and another decade. Until we meet again, tread carefully and keep the faith.

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~Hal Borland

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman

Aging Well December 15

As we experience life we realize there are no absolutes. Though we may strive to be perfect, we are imperfect; we make mistakes; we hurt others intentionally and unintentionally, and we pray "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

At the Center’s lecture last Tuesday, Dick LaFever testified to the power of forgiveness and the benefits it has to our mind, body and spirit. But in many ways forgiveness is misunderstood. It is not about minimizing the hurts and wrongs which are real and painful. It is not about forgetting, but we need not let the offense dominate our lives. It is not about condoning or excusing the act, although there may come a time when reasons are better understood. It is not the same as reconciliation for the offender does need to be a part of our future. And forgiveness is not a sign of either weakness or saintliness, but an expression of human strength.

We carry with us conscious and unconscious hurts that bonds us to the past; unable to enjoy and explore the future with passion and love. And although it is extremely difficult and may take time, forgiveness can set us free. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said "without forgiveness there is no future".

As we get closer to our own sunset and realize the importance of the years remaining, Joan Chittister in her book “The Gift of Years” asks, do we really want to waste any more time on the grievances we hold - no matter how legitimate and hurtful? Do we want to be like the men Alfred Lord Tennyson describes? "Two aged men, that had been foes for life, Met by a grave, and wept - and in those tears They washed away the memory of their strife: Then wept again the loss of all those years."

The answer is no! As Joan Chittister concludes “forgiveness puts life back together again” because "life does not have to be perfect to be perfect; it only needs to be forgiving - and forgiven."

As long as the weather doesn’t turn white or a sheet of ice, there will be music at the Center every Tuesday night in December. Tonight Truman Boler will be playing. And come early because Truman draws a crowd like a cold winter day draws electricity. Next Tuesday you can enjoy an evening of "double your pleasure and double your fun" with the Jazz Generations and the Notecrackers both playing on the same night. The music starts at 7:00 and the cost is zippo, but donations will show Santa what a good boy or girl you are.

The answer to last week's question was Gillette, the company that sponsored the Cavalcade of Sports every Friday night. Marcia Wynn’s name was drawn from the six correct answers that were submitted and wins a free breakfast - but only if she brings Al – to this Saturday’s Christmas breakfast. Mill Creek Point has planned special surprises to go along with a breakfast of Texas French Toast, scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, plus fruit and your favorite beverages.

This week I am going to spice things up a bit by offering a bottle of Bolton Cellars’ fine wine - thanks to Design Structures – instead of a free breakfast. I will see who prefers wine over breakfast - or who considers a glass of wine to be breakfast. So in the Christmas spirit, the question this week is "In what movie was the song "White Christmas" first sung?" Call 296-4788, email to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com or drop your answer off at the Center by midnight on Wednesday.

It’s almost the end of another year. Until we meet again, don’t forget to not only listen with your ears, but also with your eyes, your head and your heart.

“The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.” Thomas S. Szasz

Aging Well December 8 2009

Is it going to snow? How cold is it going to get? And why do Portlanders whine when the temperature gets below thirty - as if it’s really cold? And why do we complain when it gets below twenty as if it is really, really cold? Some believe the Scandinavians – who know a little about cold weather – have the secret to happiness. They have the good sense to know that it can always get worse!

But as we enter this winter season, it becomes more difficult to get out and about for many folks. I know when it is cold and blustery outside, my first thought is to watch a good movie with a cup of hot chocolate inside. And who wants to drive in the snow or ice with the chance of getting stuck. Or after dark when the eyes just don’t adjust as well as they use to.

But although this hunkering down at home may reduce certain risks, it can be harmful if it creates greater social isolation. We as human beings need a social network - however limited - to keep active and engaged, to provide help when needed and to know that someone cares. Some of these connections are provided by neighbors, church congregations and Meals-on-Wheels, but we can do more to help folks who are more isolated during the winter months. On the horizon there are some exciting possibilities including electronic communication: emails and video conferencing, but that technology is too new and too intimidating for many.

But this winter, the Center wants to be a resource for you. We may not be able to help everyone, but we can get you in touch with Marilyn Buchannan and the Friendly Visitor program at the Area Agency on Aging, Scout Troop #395 – they have shoveled snow on an hours notice, or other appropriate agencies and volunteers. So if you need any help this winter, give the Center a call at 296-4788.

The music will continue nonstop through the month of December, because sometimes you just gotta get out there and shake a few tail feathers – with what tail feathers we have left. Tonight the Cherry Park Band will be playing their crowd pleasing favorites and next Tuesday the Sugar Daddies will be back. These bands are so hot, when they play we have to turn on the air conditioner – even in December. The music and dancing starts at 7:00 and the cost is absolutely nothing, although we do appreciate any donations to keep the doors open and the bands happy.

Last week, I forgot to mention the answer to the question, who sang "See the USA in your Chevrolet". It was Dinah Shore and Alex Currie was the winner. This week's winner of another free breakfast was Marilyn Ciranny who still remembers Xavier Cugat, the conductor who was known for holding a Chihuahua in one arm while conducting with the other - and still had time to marry the flamboyant and provocative Charo.

In the fifties, as with Dinah Shore’s show, it was common for companies to sponsor the whole show. One particular sports show my father use to watch every Friday night on NBC was the Cavalcade of Sports from Madison Square Gardens featuring all the great boxers of the time. The sponsoring company even had a popular theme song: “Look Sharp, Be Sharp March”. What was the name of the company? To enter the drawing email the correct answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, call 296-4788 or drop it off at the Center by 5:00 on Wednesday.

Start planning for this month’s Saturday Breakfast on December 19th sponsored by Mill Creek Point with special entertainment and other goodies. Last year’s special December breakfast was canceled because of snow, but the folks at Mill Creek Point have promised the weather on the 19th will be so warm and balmy, Santa will be wearing shorts and flip flops!

Well it looks like it may be one of those “Baby, it’s cold outside” weeks. So until we meet again, keep your hands and heart warm this holiday season.

Aging Well December 1 2009

I hope everyone had as nice a time visiting family as we did, sharing Thanksgiving dinner with my in-law’s side of the family and enjoying good food and nice, careful conversation. We are of northern European stock so when we get together we avoid the usual controversies: politics and religion, and stick to the family safe topics: kids, travels and football. (And how about those Ducks and Beavers?)

Mabel again attended the gathering even though she will turn 100 in January. Her hearing isn't the greatest and she moves a little slow. But then so do I. This may be the last year she is able to share Thanksgiving with us. And yet we didn’t do anything special – it was just another Thanksgiving dinner. I guess we just didn’t want to think about the inevitable – that some day she won’t be with us. But I wonder how often we do that - ignore the importance of each moment believing they are infinite. And then, later, regretting the missed opportunities.

Besides wanting to know the main dish for the Meals-on-Wheels dinner or who is playing on Tuesday night, some folks read this column to answer the “Remember When” question. But remembering events and stories from the past isn’t just fun, it is also another way to keep your brain sharp. One activity included in the Center’s weekly brain Fitness classes is reminiscing as a group about some past experience: raising pigs, favorite trips, past teachers, or old songs. There even is some research to suggest that reminiscing lowers depression and stimulates the hippocampus where memories are stored in the brain.

I have enjoyed my own reminiscing while trying to identify each week’s question. I have stumbled upon entertainers and events I hadn’t remembered for decades. (Does anyone else remember Tom Terrific?) But I know my experiences and memories are different from yours and other folks. So I took advantage of the family Thanksgiving gathering and asked around the dinner table what entertainers, stars or just plain personalities did they remember. And from their many responses, came this week’s question. What orchestra leader was famous for holding a Chihuahua in one hand while waving his baton with the other hand? All correct answers emailed or called in by Wednesday at 5:00PM will be entered in the drawing to win a free Christmas Breakfast on December 19th sponsored by Mill Creek Point.

The Center's Loan closet has been a tremendous success thanks to Visiting Health Services and Hospice of the Gorge. But while we once we were full, our shelves are now practically bare. We particularly need rolling walkers (we have plenty of the regular grey walkers), transfer benches and good condition wheelchairs, because as soon as they come in, they are loaned out. If you have any stored in your basement or stuck under your bed, or hidden in your freezer, we would gladly accept them and make sure they are available to someone who needs them.

Tonight Truman Boler will be playing his “Country Gold” – and usually to a full house - and next Tuesday the Cherry Park Band, another popular group, will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Music always starts at 7: 00. And the admission is just the walk through the door, but donations are appreciated.
Dick Lafever has experienced tragedy that none of us wants to experience, but from that experience he has a story to tell. On Tuesday, December 8th at 11:00 AM, he will discuss his personal testimony about the power of forgiveness.

I am barely crossing the finish line and they are about ready to turn off the lights, so I better bring this to a close. Until we meet again, enjoy the special gift of each other – nothing on this earth is forever.

Aging Well November 24th

Libraries have been described as the “medicine chest of the soul”, “reservoirs of strength, grace and wit”, the “delivery room for the birth of ideas”, and the “cradle of democracy”. Yet when was the last time you visited a library?

We are very fortunate in Wasco County to have access to three fine libraries serving the public. Next Tuesday at the Center from 11:00 until noon, folks from Columbia Gorge Community College library, The Dalles/Wasco County library and Planetree Resource Center will discuss the many resources and services they provide. Learn how to access general interest and professional magazines, both at the library and on a new online database; learn how to find accurate and reliable health information; and learn about story time for your grandkids, the large print book collection, and even knitting groups. As Malcolm Forbes once said “The richest person in the world - in fact all the riches in the world - couldn't provide you with anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local library”.

Every week I mention who is performing on Tuesday night at the Center. But I struggle to say it in a way that isn't same the same old, same old. So this week I am going to challenge you by using the language of millions: sign language. So focus and see if you can understand what I am signing.

Now, did you catch all of that? Since I know not everyone understands sign language and my presentation might have been a little rough, here is the written translation. Tonight, the Notecrackers are back and next week Truman Boler’s one man Country Gold will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. The shows start at 7:00 and admission is free, but donations are gracefully accepted.
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From the five correct answers submitted last week for the “Remember When” contest, Joanne Scott’s name was drawn. She won a free Saturday breakfast by remembering that Bob Keeshan played the title character in the children’s TV show called Captain Kangaroo. (Keeshan was also the first Clarabell the Clown on Howdy Doody.)

This week’s question is a reminder of the US auto industry's better days. What American singer/actress hosted a popular variety show and every week sang the show’s theme song "See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet"?

Each week you can enter the "Remember When" trivia contest by calling the Center at 296-4788, emailing your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com or by the preferred method - writing your answer on a brand new crisp $50 bill and dropping it off at the Center. And don’t forget they have to be in by 5 PM on Wednesday.

It’s that time of year: Thanksgiving week when we gather with friends and loved ones and appreciate all that we have - including this last bit of sanity before the big Christmas rush.

And to provide a little comfort as you plow through Thanksgiving dinner, all the cranberry sauce, bread crust in stuffing, and the cocoa in hot chocolate are loaded with antioxidants which are good for fighting disease and the effects of aging. So when you finish off your third helping of cranberry sauce and stuffing, feel good knowing you have helped your brain health - although maybe not so much your waistline.

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will both be closed Thursday through Sunday for the Thanksgiving holiday (including no Bingo on Thursday and Saturday) but don’t forget the Community Thanksgiving dinner served at St. Mary’s from 12 till 3. The dinner is again organized by the Salvation Army and they can always use volunteers. You can call them at 296-6417.

Another week has passed and all is good. Until we meet again, as you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, you may want to keep in mind the Latvian proverb, “A smiling face is half the meal”.

Aging Well November 17

Once you retire it should be all blue skies and easy sledding: no boss, time to travel, and a chance to return to old hobbies or learn new ones. But again, life gets in the way.

What am I going to do if I can no longer drive? How am I going to manage my chronic illness or care for my spouse who now needs my every minute. And what happened to my body? It moves slower when I need it to move faster - when the bladder calls. You realize why time seems to pass so quickly. Because from here on, it’s all downhill!”

But stress, particularly chronic stress, can speed up the aging process in the body and memory loss in the brain. Thankfully there are ways to live healthier by reducing the stress: stay positive, exercise, eat well, get enough sleep, participate in something you don't find stressful, don't over commit, and don't worry about the things you can’t control such as the weather.

Another utensil in the kitchen drawer is meditation. I first became aware of its benefits when learning about brain fitness and how meditation can decrease memory loss by reducing stress. On Tuesday the 24th at 11:00 at the Center, you can learn more about meditation and its many benefits from Jill Kiefert, a registered nurse at MCMC and instructor for many of the Center for Mind and Body programs. She is highly experienced in facilitating meditation for individuals of all ages and is aware of all types of stress reduction resources.

Tonight the Sugar Daddies will be playing and I’ve said many places where they play charge $7.00 for a glass of wine. We don’t sell wine, but we do have coffee and treats for a donation of a lot less than $7.00. And next Tuesday, the Notecrackers will be back. They are a nice sounding trio playing your musical favorites. Dancing starts at 7:00 and admission is free but for every donation Janice and Betty will show their appreciation by doing cartwheels and jumping jacks.

The Center won’t officially start its 2010 membership drive until after the holidays, but if you jump on the old grey mare now, you can save yourself a few dollars. The Center is increasing its 2010 membership dues to $35 per individual or $60 per couple to help decrease the Center’s annual deficit - the activity at the Center has increased but the revenue hasn’t. But here’s the good news. If you pay your 2010 dues before January 1, it is still only $25 per person. So get moving. According to my calendar you only have about six weeks.

This coming Saturday is the third Saturday of the month and you know what that means, “You don’t have to cook breakfast!” Skip the oatmeal and toast and enjoy a breakfast of Quiche (or scrambled eggs), muffins, bacon or sausage, fruit and the regular beverages. The cost is only $5.00 and $4.00 for Center members. This month’s sponsor is MCMC's mPower Inpatient Rehabilitation, a team of rehabilitation professionals who will help you through your recovery process.

Before Sesame Street there was another popular children's show with the title character played by Bob Keeshan who based the show on "the warm relationship between grandparents and children." What was the name of this children’s show? This week everyone who calls or emails the correct answer by 5:00 pm Wednesday will have their name placed in a coffee can from which the winner of the Saturday breakfast will be drawn. And the answer to last week’s question was the “Peanut Gallery” - the live audience of children on the Howdy Doody show.

And again the sun rose this morning and the day began. Until we meet again, relax. As the Old Farmer from Fossil once said, “Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway”.

"Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace." Robert J. Sawyer

Living Well November 10 2009

Medicare is a hot topic these days. The insurance companies are out in force marketing their Medicare Advantage and prescription plans, several Advantage plans are leaving the state and most are increasing their premiums. And on top of it all is the national debate about the effects of health care reform on Medicare.

Because of this interest and the large turn-out for the “Your Medicare Options” presentation two weeks ago, we have scheduled an encore performance on Tuesday 17th at 11:00 to answer more of your Medicare questions. Hopefully this information will help you make the best decisions for your situation during the annual enrollment period beginning November 15th, when you have the opportunity to make any changes.

Another source of clear and objective information about Medicare - that is about as easy to understand as humanly possible - is the “2010 Oregon Guide to Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans” published by SHIBA. The guides are finally available and can be picked up at the Area Agency on Aging offices in the MCCOG building on the corner of 11th and Kelly or at the Center. And if you are internet savvy you can find an electronic copy at http://www.oregon.gov/DCBS/SHIBA/docs/2010_guide.pdf.

The change from daylight savings time did not keep the music aficionados from last week’s Tuesday night music performance. And I expect the same tonight when the Cherry Park Band performs. And next week, it won't be the Big Mamas or the Gold Diggers, but the Sugar Daddies playing for your listening and dancing enjoyment. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The music starts at 7:00

And speaking of music. The Center’s Young-at-Heart Serenaders are back entertaining folks while stretching their vocal chords and having a good time. They still need a leader, but feel that they can carry on without one while rehearsing for the Christmas season. They practice from 10:00 - 11:30 every Wednesday and everyone is invited to join the fun.

Dick LaFever has suffered emotional pain no one should endure. From his experience, he has written a new book titled “A Testimony of Forgiveness”. Dick will be signing his new book at Klindts this Saturday the 14th at 2:00. And on Tuesday December 8th at 11:00, Dick will share his story as part of the Center’s Next Chapter Lecture series.

This year Diabetes Discovery Day is on Wednesday November 11, 2009, again at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. This annual event sponsored by Mid-Columbia Medical Center and Providence Hood River offers anyone in the Columbia River Gorge region interested in diabetes the opportunity to receive the latest information about this growing disease. Representatives from a number of companies who offer product supplies for diabetes will be on hand to answer your questions. The event is free. Hours are 11:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Last week we had several winners and many misses identifying the bandleader that first hired Frank Sinatra. It was Harry James who soon after released Sinatra from the contract so he could sign with Tommy Dorsey one of the most popular bands at the time.

But enough of Frank Sinatra. Let’s get back to childhood memories of watching Saturday morning TV. You may remember one of the first, Howdy Doody, a children's television program broadcast on NBC from 1947 until 1960 and one of the first TV shows to include audience participation. What were the children called who watched from the on-stage bleachers?

And you can see videos related to the “Remember When” questions – the Beatles tossing their hair on the Ed Sullivan show or Elvis shaking his hips, singing “Heartbreak Hotel” - or listen to Frank Sinatra singing with the Harry James Orchestra, all at the Center’s website at midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.

Well it’s another week throwing spaghetti against the wall hoping something sticks. Until we meet again, it is good - even at our age - to heed the advice Christopher Robin gave Winnie-the-Pooh, “Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Aging Well Novembe 3rd

The Center is not just a Senior Center but an asset for the whole community; a resource for all ages, which was demonstrated this last weekend.

Friday night the Center was filled with ghoulish costumes, scary snacks and Marco the DJ providing the musical entertainment for the ARC’s “Monster Ball”. Saturday afternoon there was a first birthday celebration in the basement with decorations, cake and gifts while upstairs that evening we celebrated Halloween playing America’s favorite pastime – no, not baseball - but bingo. And to finish the weekend off with a flourish, Sunday night the Center hosted the last stop of the Fellowship of Churches’ Progressive Dinner with tasty desserts from the Congregational Church and music provided by the Olde Tymers fine duo of Mike Tenney and John Schulz.

And that was not an unusual weekend. The Center is used for graduation parties, memorials, church services, dances, and coronations, as well as meetings for the Good Sam Club, Union Pacific Railroad retirees, Community Action Board, ARC Board, Teamsters, and Boy Scout Troop #395.

But you may still feel. “I’m not old enough. I’m only 70!” But the Center’s activities and programs are open to the whole community with no age restriction except how comfortable you feel hanging around with us "old folks". The center is where everyone in the community can explore, connect and contribute, because it is the Center’s mission is to “promote healthy aging by sharing and caring” and I don’t know a man, woman or child who isn’t getting older. And that’s life.

Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Monday November 9th but will be open on the 11th for Veteran's Day. That allows Meals-on-Wheels to honor all of our veterans during Wednesday’s noon dinner while also giving their dedicated staff a day off on Monday.

Everyone knows Pat Lucas is a big supporter of the Veterans but not everyone may know I owe her big time and will always owe her big time. So hoping Pat is reading this and hoping to work off some of my debt, I want to encourage everyone to participate in this year’s Veteran’s Parade on Wednesday the 11th. You can join the parade (line up begins at 11:00 at the armory; parade starts at noon) or you can show your support along the parade route. And after the parade you can enjoy food and fellowship at the Community Potluck Lunch at the armory. For more information, call 298-5692 or 298-3377.

Jerry Tanquist will be the speaker for the Center’s Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday November 10 at 11:00. He is our local railroad raconteur sharing the fascinating history and stories of the railroads in the Mid-Columbia. This time he will share pictures and stories of the railroads in the counties surrounding Wasco County.

And tonight don’t let the darkness deter you. Come out and enjoy the rhythm of the night with Truman Boler’s Country Gold starting at 7:00 pm. And next Tuesday the all-stars that form the Cherry Park Band will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. Everyone is welcome and the admission is free but donations are kindly accepted.

It seems like I stumped everyone except Joanne Scott and Bob Thouvenel with last week's "Remember When" question. The wild (at least for their times), screaming teenage girls that followed Frank Sinatra were called “Bobby Soxers” because of the rolled down socks they wore with their poodle skirts.

But I know you can do better, so let's try Frank Sinatra one more time. Who was the first bandleader to hire Frank Sinatra for a one year contract of $75 a week and with whom Frank Sinatra released his first commercial record? Leave a voice message at 296-4788 or email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com

Well, another week has bit the dust. Until we meet again, keep your nose clean and your hands dirty, because as the old farmer from Fossil once said "Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got."

Aging Well October 27

Social isolation can be deadly. The report, “Aging in the Shadows” commissioned by the United Neighborhood Houses of New York, states “If seniors are to avoid institutionalization or hospitalization, they require the social, emotional and physical support of others”.

We all need someone to talk with, to share stories with and to provide a friendly touch. Someone to be there. When you live alone or your mobility is limited, these simple necessities are not always available.

There are many community resources available to prevent social isolation: meals-on-wheels, caregiver support, volunteering opportunities, and gathering places such as the Center. But for many, these supports aren’t enough or possible. To address this need, the Area Agency on Aging has started a Friendly Visitors program, initially serving only Wasco County residents, but hopefully expanding to the rest of AAA service area including Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties. Friendly Visitors will provide companionship and develop relationships through weekly visits with seniors complementing the supports they already receive.

Marilyn Buchanan, who recently returned to The Dalles, has been hired as the Volunteer Coordinator and she is looking for volunteers. If you are interested call Friendly Visitors at 541-298-4101 or toll free at 888-316-1362.

The Center’s terrific “booking agent” (who does not want to be mentioned by name, but Gaby knows who he is) has lined up another month of great Tuesday Night music starting off next week with the popular Truman Boler. Then performing on the following Tuesdays will be the Cherry Park Group, Sugar Daddies and then the Center's fourth Tuesday regulars, the Jazz Generations, who are also playing tonight. Music starts at 7:00 and the fun is open to everyone and anyone. Admission is free, but donations are guaranteed to bring you good luck.

A quick reminder. The Medicare presentation at the Center on Wednesday the 28th at 11:00 is a chance to find answers for many of your Medicare questions. And don’t forget, if your Medicare Advantage plan is leaving the state, you need to enroll in a new plan by December 31st.

And most importantly, don't forget Betty Harlan’s Halloween Retirement Potluck Party this Wednesday at the Center starting at 6:30 pm. She started with Meals-on-Wheels in 1975 and has been an important part of Meals-on-Wheels ever since. Betty will be moving to Bend to be closer to her daughter but she has promised to make regular visits to The Dalles. She is a generous soul and we are a much better community because of her. And be careful if she has her camera – and now her new video camera – in hand. She likes to catch you in the most embarrassing situations.

It took a real Elvis Presley fan to know last week’s “Remember When” question. Fortunately for Tom Sofie, he lives with one, his wife Nancy, who knew Elvis's first #1 hit was Heartbreak Hotel. This week the question is about the singer that some consider the first true “teen idol”, Frank Sinatra. During the 1940’s, he was followed by overzealous adolescent girl fans. What were those screaming fans called? If you know the answer, call the Center at 296-4788 or email the Center at mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

And lastly, there are times when you feel like broadcasting to the world an accomplishment so great you expect a presidential medal; so unbelievable even your greatest enemy will respect you. What was the awe inspiring feat? I successfully programmed both a universal TV remote and a TV remote to play a DVD player, all without the help of a twelve year old. No need for a “good job” when you see me. My own personal satisfaction is all the recognition I need.

So until we meet again, take a chance; challenge yourself - only if by programming the TV remote, because as George Eliot said "It's never too late to become what you might have been."

"Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?" Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Aging Well October 20

Medicare can be a complex labyrinth to navigate. And with the addition of Medicare Advantage Plans - Medicare coverage through private insurance companies - Medicare recipients have more choices but also another level of complexity and uncertainty.

The Medicare Advantage plans are popular in Oregon where 41% of the folks eligible for Medicare are enrolled in them (the highest percentage in the country). Although there are benefits to Medicare Advantage plans, unlike government programs, private insurance companies can decide not to continue covering certain geographic areas. Unfortunately, but not surprising, several plans are leaving Oregon at the end of this year and will not be renewing beneficiaries’ policies. What is unexpected is the estimated percentage of Medicare Advantage recipients needing to find a new plan: Wasco County 39%, Sherman County, 70%, and Hood River County, 43%.

The enrollment period for the Medicare Advantage plans starts November 15th, so if your insurer is leaving or there are any changes in your Medicare Advantage plan you should have received a letter by now. But Jean Hockman, the Medicare specialist at the Area Agency on Aging, is concerned many folks have not read the correspondence from their insurer and are unaware that their Medicare insurance plan is leaving. If your plan is leaving, you must sign up for a new plan before the end of December to insure continuous coverage. That isn't much time and the decisions aren’t simple. (What plans does your doctor accept? What does the plan cover? And what is the cost?)

To answer your questions and provide more information, there will be a presentation at the Center on October 28th at 11:00 to explain changes in the Medicare Advantage plans and what your options are. You can also call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 on Wednesdays - their Medicare help day.

Klea Espy, manager of the Habitat's Restore Store in the old liquor building on 6th street, dropped by the Center for breakfast on Saturday and mentioned she is desperately - as in capital D desperately - seeking volunteers. She needs folks for the two shifts 10-1 and 1-4 on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. She would prefer men; about 6 foot tall, broad shouldered, and chiseled jaw with masculine good looks. But she will take anyone who knows his or her way around a hardware store or a workshop (or anyone who is breathing - she is Desperate!).

Tonight at the Center, the Sugar Daddies, a popular three piece band, will be performing. And next Tuesday on the 27th the Jazz Generations will be back playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. These are talented performers and at many places, you would have to buy a $7 glass of wine to listen to them. But at the Center it’s all free with donations appreciated. The dancing starts at 7:00 pm and everyone is welcome. And next Sunday is the Center’s turn to host the Jammers from 2:00 – 5:00.

Melodi Johnson, Breast Care Coordinator/Clinical Research Nurse at Celilo, will be the speaker for the Center’s Next Chapter Lecture Series on Tuesday the 27th at 11:00. She will speak on breast health for women of all ages - providing information that will be helpful for mothers, daughters, spouses, etc. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, every woman is encouraged to come!

The answer to last week's “Remember When” question was "I Want to Hold Your Hand", the Beatles first #1 hit in America. The first correct answer was from a child of the 60's herself, Sandy Haechrel. This week's question goes back another decade to a musical icon of the 50's. What was Elvis Presley's first number one hit that stayed at the top of the pop charts for 8 weeks and was the best selling single in 1956?

That is enough of the alphabet soup for one week. Until we meet again, here’s a comment I overheard at the Center that many of us can relate to, “My head writes checks, my body can't cash".

Aging Well October 13

Do you really want to stay young? Or let me put in another way. Do you really want to relive middle school? But although staying forever young may not be our goal, we do want to live independently; we do want to see our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren grow and set out on their own paths. And we do want to live caring and meaningful lives, so who we are and what we do matters.

The other day Jan Holt gave me a list of eleven simple rules that although they are titled “How to Stay Young”, are more about achieving those things we do want; about how to live well. Here they are for your consideration - plus my own short observations on each one.

1. Keep learning - see the world with virgin eyes,
2. Enjoy the simple things - as in the Shaker song, “Tis the gift to be simple”,
3. Laugh often, long and loud. - its contagious,
4. The tears happen - the ones we love won't live forever,
5. Keep only cheerful friends - leave the rest alone,
6. Surround yourself with what you love. - not with what others say you should have,
7. Cherish your health - don't take it for granted,
8. Don’t' take guilt trips - life happens,
9. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity - stay current,
10. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second chance - forgiveness shall set you free,
11. Try everything twice - except Brussels sprouts

This Saturday is the third Saturday of the month which means it is your chance to skip your normal breakfast and enjoy a fine delicious meal of biscuits and gravy, sausage, and scrambled eggs, as well as fruit and your favorite beverage. The cost is only $5.00 and $4.00 for Center members. The breakfast is open to the whole community and all ages, so bring your family and friends. The food starts flowing at 8:00 and we don't turn off the spigot until 9:30. And as Jack always said," Breakfast always tastes better when someone else cooks it".

Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday October 20th at 11:00 will feature Roger Luedtke discussing the Portland Classical Chinese Gardens in Portland. The Gardens are described as "an authentically built cultural heritage garden and living museum of Chinese trees and flora". Roger is an avid supporter of the Gardens and his informative presentation of pictures and commentary will be the next best thing to being there.

Because of the talented musicians, Tuesday Night music is the Center’s most popular activity. And the next two weeks are no exception. The always popular and danceable Truman Boler's one man “Country Gold” is playing tonight. And next Tuesday on the 20th, The Sugar Daddies will be back with Mark Womble leading on keyboard and vocals. Dancing starts at 7:00 and everybody is welcome. There is no charge although donations are appreciated.

Last week’s question was a trick one, but you can’t fool Sandy Haechrel who had the first correct answer. Most of us remember William Bendix playing the role of Lester A Riley on both radio and TV, but when the show moved to television in 1949 the first actor to play the role was Jackie Gleason before his “Honeymooners” fame in the 50’s.

This week’s question celebrates the recent release of the re-mastered catalogue of recordings by the Beatles who one critic described as “not able to carry a tune across the Atlantic”. Although the Beatles had several earlier hits in England, what was the Beatles first single (and #1 song) released in America? Email your guess to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com or call 296-4788.

That’s it for another week. Until we meet again, as the Beatles once sang, “Let it be”. Or as the philosopher farmer from Fossil would say, “Don't interfere with something' that ain't bothering you none.”

Aging Well October 6

When was the last time you smelled the sweet odor of sweat-soaked socks and gym shorts? Or stayed up late cramming your cranium with facts about some class subject that you really had no interest in? Been there, done that. Thankfully we can pass those experiences on to younger souls.

But though we may not want to revisit those glory days, we do lose something when we don’t challenge ourselves. Gene D. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., the first director of the Center on Aging, Health & Humanities at George Washington University suggests we need to sweat more both physically and mentally - more mental push-ups and trips around the track - by trying something different. And while exploring new activities, enjoy the experience and satisfaction of learning to do something better without worrying about being good.

On Tuesday, October 13th from 5 – 7 PM, and help our own local curmudgeon, travel guide and literary connoisseur, Phil Klindt, celebrate the 140th Birthday of Klindt’s Booksellers, the oldest continually operated bookstore in Oregon. There will be regional authors, food, music, wine and history at the bookstore to celebrate this anniversary.

Steve Hudson is back teaching line dancing but couldn't resist the big beautiful dance floor at the Eagles. So if you enjoy line dancing or want to learn how, check out the Eagles on Thursday nights. And if Square Dancing is more your thing, Bill and Neva are starting lessons this Thursday, October 8th at the Civic from 7 - 9. For more information about the square dancing call 541-296-1570 or 509-493-1827. And Neva, I promise one of these days I will find my way to the Civic and practice what I preach. But I seem to have more "want to do" than I have "time to do". (Maybe the two-step in November?)

And I mustn’t forget to mention Tuesday Night music. Hardshell Harmony - bluegrass music at its best - is playing tonight and next week on the 13th Truman Boler will be playing his crowd pleasing Country Gold. Everybody is welcome! Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Now is the time to buy your tickets to see and enjoy Portland’s own Singing Christmas Tree at the 1:30 matinee performance on Sunday November 29th. This annual tradition was a big hit last year so we have decided to try an encore performance. The cost is only $65 or $60, depending on the seat locations, and includes comfortable worry-free transportation. But don’t tarry. There are only twenty two seats available. Call the Center 296-4788 to reserve your seat for this afternoon musical delight.

Every third Monday and Tuesday of the month from 9:00 – 1:00, Dennis Davis teaches the AARP Driver Safety class to help folks review the rules of the road and good driving practices. Because the class has been shown to improve your driving skills, many insurance companies give a discount if you complete the class. The cost is only $14 and $12 for AARP members and covers the cost of the materials (Dennis volunteers his time). Call the Center to reserve your seat in the next class on October 19 and 20th.

Bob Thouvenel was the first to correctly answer last week’s “Remember When” question (he was getting tired of Ron Sutherland winning all the time). “Cool Hand Luke” was the movie where the Captain and Luke played by Paul Newman spoke the memorable line “What we've got here is a failure to communicate". This week’s “Remember When” question is about a life of prosperity and contentment. What actor played the bumbling and gullible Chester A. Riley in the first season of “The Life of Riley” on NBC in October 1949?

Until we meet again, get that sweat pouring, warm up the old brain cells and get down and dirty. But please for all the rest of us, don’t forget the deodorant!

"Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness, and just be happy." Appollinaire (French Poet)

Aging Well September 29

Senior Living September 29

It isn’t easy. Living during this time of your life, takes effort, even though you may want to finally recline back in the Lazy-Boy - feet up, with a nice cool one in hand and just watch as life goes by. You’ve earned it. You have seen it all; there’s nothing more left to do. And besides you’re tired.

But this can also be the time of your life: the time when you can discover new dimensions of who you are at a time when you no longer have to worry about who you should be. The stage where you can explore the other parts of your hidden self - the parts you barely touched as you carried the many responsibilities of raising your children or following your career path or both. Now is the time when you can try on the clothes of your forgotten dreams to see if they still fit.

It is possible. I have met folks who have tried on new roles: a writer, a lay pastor or a Sunday school teacher, a foreman for a Habitat project or a musician in a local bluegrass band, an elected official, or if you have the guts - a junior high teacher; folks who have enjoyed a cruise to Alaska or through the Panama Canal, or who have finally taken that trip to their ancestral homeland. And closer to home, folks who have discovered new dance steps at the Civic, enjoyed a variety of new entertainment at the Community Concerts, digested new ideas from the Center's Lecture series and sought new ways of personal expression through art classes. It is an attitude of “Let's give it a try!” and “Why not!” There is nothing you can't do. (Fortunately, there are many stupid things we no longer want to do.)

And with this new attitude, you realize it is not the dreaded “old age” you have encountered, but a “new age” you have discovered. And even though you may have wanted to just coast through this next stage of your life, it is a time to experience new lands, new talents and new relationships with a renewed sense of purpose and possibility.

The country western singer John Michael Montgomery sang on his hit album “Life’s a Dance”, “Life's a dance you learn as you go/ Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow/ Don't worry about what you don't know/ Life's a dance you learn as you go”.
And tonight you can enjoy life and “learn as you go” at the Center by dancing and listening to the popular “The Dufur Boys” from Dufur”. The music starts at 7:00 and everyone is invited. Admission is free, but donations are kindly accepted.

This is the place I usually announce who the speaker will be for next week's Next Chapter Lecture, but I don't know yet. But I can say that some of the coming lectures will include Portland's Chinese Gardens, Genealogy, Railroads and Medicare Part D. All interesting stuff.

Ron Sutherland was the first to answer last week's question correctly. The answer was "The $64000 Question" which was the #1 show in 1955- 1956 before it was dropped in 1958. (Not to be confused with "Twenty One" and the famous Charles Van Doren scandal.) This week's question is from the Category Movie Quotes for one free breakfast, “What movie had the famous line "What we've got here is a failure to communicate."? (And has it really been 42 years since I saw that movie?)

Next Monday and Tuesday seasonal flu shots will be available at the Center from 11:00 – 2:00. And I finally found out the difference between the bird flu and the swine flu. For the bird flu you use a “tweatment” and the swine flu you use an “oinktment”. (I hope that joke - or should I say groaner - doesn’t ruin your day.)

And on that fine note, it is time to close up and call it a day. Until we meet again, Jan Chittister author of "The Gift of Years" suggests that "Growth in old age requires the curiosity of a five year old and the confidence of a teenager".

Does age poison us, or do we poison age? ~Astrid Alauda
“The Flu is coming! The Flu is coming!” is being shouted across the country and as we know from this summer’s outbreak at the Young Life youth camp at the Big Muddy, it can happen here in Wasco County. And it is serious. With the new kid on the block, the H1N1 strain of flu (formally known as the Swine Flu to the ire of the pork industry), there are concerns the flu could affect 20% to 40% of the work force during this flu season.

But the H1N1 seems no more dangerous than the seasonal flu and it is hard to tell the two apart since both have similar symptoms: fever, more painful body aches, dry cough, diarrhea and severe fatigue. But the steps you can take to reduce the risk of getting either one are the same.

The first step is to get your seasonal flu shot. Folks over 65 are at risk for complications from the seasonal flu and need to get the seasonal flu vaccine - sooner than later. Flu shots provided by MCMC's Occupational Health will be available at the Center on Monday, October 5th and Tuesday October 6th from 11 - 2 PM (upstairs and no appointments are necessary). And the seasonal flu vaccines are already available at the local pharmacies.

For folks over 65, the H1N1 vaccine is a different story. Older adults over 64 are not encouraged to get the H1N1 vaccine unless they are a caregiver for those at risk. The theory is that seniors have developed immunity to the H1N1 because of their life experience. (You see there is an advantage to being older.) For those who are at greatest risk, children and young adults from six months to twenty five years old, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, the vaccine will be available through local clinics starting in October.

But the first line of defense is prevention: wash your hands often including before and after touching your face, cover your sneeze or cough but not with your hands (cough into your elbow). And if you use a tissue, throw it away immediately and then wash your hands or use an alcohol based hand cleaner.

As this flu season progresses, you can find the latest information at www.flu.oregon.gov.

Find yourself a partner and whether you want to lead or follow, enjoy the sounds at the Center's Tuesday Night Music with the Jazz Generations playing tonight and The Dufur Boys playing next Tuesday the 29th starting at 7:00 PM. But there’s more! There are free family dances at the Civic on the next two Thursdays from 7 to 9 PM. And this coming Sunday is the Center's turn to host the Jammers - picking and singing from 2 - 5 pm.

The Next Chapter Lecture Series at 11:00 on Tuesday the 29th will be "What everyone should know about Mammograms" plus an update on MCMC's new Digital Mammography which has been a tremendous addition to the community. The speaker will be long time MCMC Mammography Technician, Debra Myers.

The first correct response to last week's “Remember When” question was from Don McKinney who identified Dan Fouts as the University of Oregon quarterback who in 1970 threw the winning pass in a three-touchdown rally at UCLA. And now back to the category” TV in the Fifties” for a free breakfast at the Center on October 17th. What was the top-rated TV show that two years after knocking “I Love Lucy” out of the number one spot was canceled because of scandals? Call the Center at 296-4788 with your answer or email it to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com

That’s it for another week. Until we meet again, cover your head when it rains, your hands when it’s cold, and your mouth when you cough.

"If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is put down the shovel". The old farmer from Fossil

Aging Well September 16

Are you a right brainer: random, intuitive and subjective? Or are you a left brainer: logical, rational and analytical? Or are you in that third category: a no brainer - you lost your mind years ago and haven't been able to find it since? At the Center we provide opportunities for all types of “brainers”.

For the right brainers, the Center is again offering the "Yes, You Can Draw!" class taught by Nancy Russell returning this Thursday, the 17th, from 1:00 - 3:00 PM. The drawing class is for beginners and not-so-beginners and the cost is a suggested donation of only $2 per session plus the cost of some minimal supplies. Nancy has taught at Portland Community College and enjoys encouraging folks who are new to the world of drawing and are looking for a low stress environment to explore their creative side. (And The Dalles Art Center offers various classes with a 6 week beginners drawing class starting this Wednesday, the 16th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm. Call 296-4759 or wwwthedallesartcenter.org for more information.)

And for the left brainers who are more interested in how it works than how it makes you feel, the Center is starting the "Geezer Geeks". This is less a class and more a club where men and women (Are there geezer women?), the curious and the enthusiast can discuss and share what they have learned about computers, the Internet and other technological advances. What is Skype, Hulu or Google Voice? The first group meeting this Friday 11:00 – 12:00 downstairs in the computer lab.

With all the recent news about the flu, the Center has scheduled flu shots on Monday, October 5 and Tuesday, October 6th from 11 - 2 pm. The shots will be administered by MCMC’s Occupational Health department and will be upstairs this year. And this Wednesday at 11:00, Mary Catherine Clites of the public health department will discuss this season's flu outlook and what you can do to protect yourself.

Tonight at the Center’s Tuesday Night Music, Truman Boler's one-man Country Gold is performing and next week the Jazz Generations will be playing dance music of the big band era and more. Admission is always free but donations are warmly accepted.

The Next Chapter Lecture series is back and next Tuesday at 11:00, Lynette Black from OSU Extension Wasco County will discuss how you can prepare for any possible emergency particularly focusing on the needs of folks 60+. I don't imagine we will have too many hurricanes or tornadoes in these parts, but there is always the possibility of power outages, fires and snow events. And as the Scouts say, “Be Prepared”.

Another month has passed and it’s that time again to enjoy a Saturday breakfast at the Center. The Center will open at 8:00 and serve until 9:30 for the late risers. This month's delicious breakfast includes flapjacks, bacon, fruit and your favorite beverages. Enjoy good food, meet and chat with friends, old and new, and help support the Center. And as Jack always said, "Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it".

We had the great response to last week's question. And the winner was Ron Sutherland who correctly answered the last time Oregon State played in the Rose bowl was 1965 under coach Tommy Prothro. (I shouldn't, but I will, remind my beaver friends that Oregon's most recent trip to the Rose Bowl was in 1995). Continuing with the football theme, Who threw the winning pass in what many consider the most exciting football game in University of Oregon history, a three-touchdown rally at UCLA? To win a free breakfast this Saturday, be the first to call in your answer to 296-4788 or email it to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

Well another day, another quarter. Until we meet again, as you follow your path, keep your head up but don't trip over any of those darn rocks you often find in the way.

"Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance." old farmer from Fossil

Aging Well September 8

Sometimes you just make it work. Because Monday was Labor Day, I had to submit this column last Thursday four days ago and only three days after I wrote last week’s column. And three days isn't enough time to recharge my creative juices which is always tough because I am lucky to think of one good idea a month. (A big thank-you to all who have sent me suggestions for this column: Jean, Joann, Alex, Lyn and many others.)

So I thought I would fall back and punt (it is the season for football metaphors) by starting a new Labor Day tradition: listing all the activities offered at the Center for this coming year. So roll the tape and let the show begin.

Entertainment:
Wii Bowling - Mondays 6:30; Tuesday Night Music - Tuesdays 7:00; Pool - Wednesdays 1:00; Movie Night - Wednesdays 6:00; Meals-on-Wheels Bingo – Thursdays 6:00; Learn the Wii - Fridays 10:00; Line Dancing - Fridays 6:00 (starting in October); Senior Center Bingo – Saturdays 6:00; Saturday Breakfast – 3rd Saturdays 8:00 - 9:30; Jam and Pie Social – 4th Sundays 2:00 – 5;00

Exercise/Movement
Seniorcise - Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays 9:15 - 10:00; Yoga – Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30 - 10:30; Tai Chi - Tuesdays 1:00 - 1:45 (Starting 9/22); Tap and Clogging - Thursdays 10:00 – 12:00; Bike Rides Thursdays 11:00 (Starting 9/17); Strong Woman - TBA;

Education
Brain Fitness - Mondays 1:00 – 2:00 (starting 9/14); Next Chapter Lecture Series - Tuesdays 11:00 AM (starting 9/15); Great Decisions - (starting in March '10); AARP Drive Safety – 3rd Mondays and Tuesdays 9:00 – 1:00;

Creative and Performing Arts
Quilters - Mondays 10:00 – 3:00; Yes, You can Draw! - Thursdays for four weeks 2:00 – 4:00 (call for starting date); Serenaders - Wednesdays 10:30 – 12:00 (starting ?);

Technology
Computer Class (4 week classes) - Wednesday 10:00 or Thursday 1:00; Computer Help Lab - Tuesdays 1:45 – 3:00; Computer "How To" Fridays 11:00

Cards
Pinochle - Thursdays 1:00 - 3:30 and Fridays 6:00 – 9:00; Bridge - Fridays 1:00-4:00; Cribbage and Coffee - Saturdays 9:00 – 12:00

Health
Blood Pressure Checks (Public Health) - 4th Mondays 10:30- 12:00; Health Info (Planetree) - 2nd Mondays 10:30- 12:00; Foot Care - 1st Fridays (By appointment)

Nutrition
Noon meal - every Monday through Friday provided by Meals-on-Wheels

Now tape this list to your refrigerator door. And then stop in and take advantage of these many activities. It will do you good.

Quick Reminders: Tonight for Tuesday Night music at 7 PM, the Sugar Daddies are playing and next Tuesday it will be Truman Boler bringing his one-man band to the Center. And Skip Tschanz will be our first speaker for the lecture series resuming on Tuesday September 15th at 11:00 AM.

Last week’s question was a tough one with only one correct answer called in by Katie Wonder. The names of the horses were: Gene Autry - Champion, Roy Rogers - Trigger, Dale Evans - Buttermilk, Lone Ranger - Silver, Tonto - Scout, and Tom Mix - Tony. And now one for the guys. Since the college football season has just started, what was the year of Oregon State’s most recent trip to the Rose Bowl and who was the coach? First correct answer wins a free breakfast at the Center on September 19th. Call 296-4788 or email mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

I know I cheated this week, but I hope you will let me slide this one time. Until we meet again, here is a quote sent my way by Jean Hockman.

“Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Aging We1ll September

How many times have I joked about forgetting things? More than you can remember, right? But sometimes it hits a little too close to home.

Last month I needed to open up the Center at 6 AM to prepare for the Saturday Breakfast. Knowing that there would be breakfast, but not right away, I brought a banana to tide me over. I got busy and around 8:00 AM when I realized I wasn't going to eat till later, I looked but couldn’t find my banana. How many times have we all done that? Where did I put the keys, my sun glasses, my pants?? I looked everywhere - I knew I hadn't eaten it. I would have remembered that – and again I looked everywhere. Knowing the banana would eventually wonder back, I went back to my desk to finish some work. Then for some reason, I inadvertently looked in the waste basket, and behold, there was the banana peel. I had eaten it after all! And I had no recollection. Somebody needs help!

I figure and hope - misery loves company- I am not the only one afflicted (too many balls juggling in my head?). So for those of you concerned about your memory and brain health, the Center has an answer: a Brain Fitness class starting September 14th at 1:00 PM - right after lunch and before the afternoon power nap - which will last about an hour or until our synapses stop snapping.

We will discuss a holistic approach to maintaining brain fitness including exercise (what is good for your heart is good for your brain), stress reduction, good nutrition, volunteering and novelty. But the primary focus is to have fun doing challenging activities and puzzles while giving the many parts of your grey matter a little work out. To register for the class call 296-4788 or email the Center at mcseniorcenter@gmail.com. Don’t forget.

Meals-on-Wheels does more than just serve meals for folks 60+ (and anyone else who would like a delicious, healthy meal). They were also on duty last Friday night at the Center preparing over 250 individual meals in their kitchen for the Red Cross to serve the Mosier residents displaced by the Microwave fire. It was inspiring seeing the Meals-on-Wheels volunteers pull together within an hour’s notice to respond to the emergency. They deserve a big warm thank-you as do all the other volunteers and firemen who helped protect the community of Mosier.

Boyd Jacobsen has scheduled another great line-up of musicians in September for the Center's Tuesday Night Music. The Cherry Park Band will be playing tonight, Sugar Daddies on the 8th, Truman Boler on the 15th, Jazz Generations on the 22nd and the Dufur Boys on the fifth Tuesday of the month. The dancing starts at 7:00 and the cost is zip, but donations are appreciated. And everyone - from “purple people eaters” to seventh graders who often act like they’re from another planet - is welcome.

Dobie Gillis's partner-in-crime was Maynard G. Krebs (befitting the character, the G stood for Walter), and the winner was Sandy "Stitch Niche" Haechrel (who is donating the free breakfast to one of the regulars). This week's “Remember When” question is a little different. What were the names of the horses rode by the following movie cowboys: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Lone Ranger, Tonto, and Tom Mix? Any person who calls in or emails all the correct answers by midnight tonight (Tuesday) will receive a free Center breakfast on Saturday September 19th.

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend – no Bingo on Saturday and the Center will be closed Monday. Until we meet again, keep your eye on the prize and don't forget the banana!

"Learning to ignore things is one of the great paths to inner peace." Robert J. Sawyer
Or as the old farmer from Fossil once said “Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”

Aging Well August 25

Most activities you can do by yourself: running or walking, playing a game of solitaire, reading a book or singing in the shower. I imagine you could even dance by yourself – no broken toes - although you may look a little strange.

But to age well (like a fine wine!) it is best to participate in activities with others, particularly at an age when isolation can be a real concern. The benefits are many: the sharing of ideas and thoughts, stories and experiences, and jokes and anecdotes. And there is also that darn peer pressure to show up – even when you’re too tired or lack the motivation.

The Center is all about doing things together. You can join one of the Center’s exercise classes: Seniorcise, Yoga, Tai Chi, Tap and Clogging. Or take advantage of the entertainment opportunities with music, movies and trips. And if you want more cerebral stimulation how about pinochle, bridge and cribbage or the Next Chapter Lecture series. All are opportunities to join with others to share and enjoy life. The new and returning classes are starting soon, so call the Center for more information or check the Center’s Blog at midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.

For Wednesday Night Movies we are switching genres from screwball comedies to the grand American tradition: the Western. On the bill this Wednesday is the 1956 classic “The Searchers” starring John Wayne and directed by John Ford. It is the story of Ethan Edwards, a middle-aged Civil War veteran portrayed by John Wayne, who spends years looking for his abducted niece. It is considered by many as the best western ever filmed and hopefully that means entertaining too. The show starts at 6:00 pm and there will be free popcorn.

Tonight at the Center the Jazz Generations, a four piece combo composed of Hank and Ann Krum, Bob Fiske and David Fretz will be playing the big band sounds of the thirties through sixties starting at 7:00 PM. And this weekend there will be a “Music in the Park” Jam in Klickitat on Saturday the 29th starting at 7 pm. It may be a little drive from The Dalles but I hear it is a nice outdoor venue to enjoy fine music.

It has been a while since I put in a plug for Bingo, but now that summer is about over why don’t you come down to the Center Saturday night (early birds start at 6:00) and enjoy this great American pastime – there is no better thrill than yelling BINGO!. If you haven’t played since grade school come a little early to find out how the modern game is played. And if Saturday doesn’t fit your weekend schedule, there is Thursday Night bingo which supports Meals-on-Wheels and the good work they do.

The answer to last week’s question was the Hindenburg disaster that occurred on Thursday May 6th 1937 at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station and Don McAllister was the week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast at the Center on September 19th. But since it is not as much fun reminiscing about disasters as it is the radio and TV shows we use to enjoy, this week’s category is “TV shows of the 50's -60's”. What was the full name of Dobie Gillis’s side kick and American television first beatnik? Call the Center 296-4788 or email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

The other day I saw Bob Koch, noted local photographer, and he mentioned how he attended his fifty-year high school reunion to see his high school classmates, but was disappointed because only their parents showed up. Has anyone else had that experience? And should I expect the same at my next high school reunion?

Well that’s another day. Until we meet again, make sure you play well together.

“I would never belong to a group that would accept someone like me as a member.” Groucho Marx

Aging Well August 18

Am I nuts or do I feel “autumn” is in the air? Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

But soon it will be autumn and because either I use to teach or was a student too long, autumn always reminds me of starting anew: new clothes, new classes, and meeting new and old friends.

Although we no longer need to go to school – we no longer need a piece of paper for our career advancement - we can continue learning. And it is such a kick to learn something new: a new language (Japanese anyone?), creative writing or how about another try at algebra? But it can also be a simpler task we learn: using chop sticks, creating formulas on an excel spreadsheet or learning to play the Wii. The educator Mortimer Adler once said “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.”

There are so many avenues to discover new information and gain new insights: from the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and The Dalles Art Center to the History Channel on cable TV; from Columbia Gorge Community College and the Planetree Health Resource Center to your church’s bible study or reading the Economist - or just opening your eyes as if you were a new born child.

The Center can be another source for your life exploration. You can choose from the “tried and true” classes including the Seniorcise, Yoga, Tap and Clogging and the AARP Driver Safety Class, and activities such as Pinochle, Bridge, and the Quilters. In September, the Center will resume the Next Chapter Lecture series, the Computer Basics Class and the popular Computer Help Lab; plus Tai Chi with Corliss Marsh as well as “Yes, You can Draw!” with Nancy Russell. And this is just a sample of the many classes and activities the Center offers.

But every year we want to add new opportunities. We will start offering a weekly “Computer How-To” discussion group to share our knowledge about various topics - from how to download pictures to how to use social networks such as Facebook. We will also start a Brain Fitness class to help keep our brains stimulated while replacing those cobwebs upstairs with snappy neurons.

And if there is any knowledge, skill or hobby you would like to share with others – and you don’t have to have a degree - give the Center a call. We can make something happen.

A couple of quick reminders. Meals on Wheels will be assisting the local firemen’s MDA Sunday Brunch fundraiser at the Center this coming Sunday, August 23rd from 10:00 – 1:00. Enjoy fine food for a good cause. And then stay a little longer and listen and dance to the Jammers at the Center’s Pie and Jam Social from 2 – 5pm.

Tonight at the Center, the Hardshell Harmony will be performing there jaw-dropping, toe-tapping bluegrass sounds. And next week the Jazz Generations will be back to play their big band sounds. Everybody is welcome and the music is free, but since nothing else is, donations are greatly appreciated.

The winner of last week’s “Remember When” question was Alex Currie, with a little help from his son, who called in the correct answer, WC Fields. We now switch to a new category “Current Events - from the Past” for one free breakfast on Saturday September 19th. The question is “What famous disaster occurred at Lakehurst Naval Air Station on Thursday, May 6th, 1937”? Call 296-4788 or email to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

Until we meet again, remember what your teacher always use to tell you, “Pay attention!”

“No matter how one may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science, or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world.” Francis Willard author of “How I learned to Ride the Bicycle”

Aging Well August 11

Many of you who read this column probably have never and will never access the Internet - there are too many better things to do: gardening, reading and visiting the grandkids. But there are a growing number of folks over and under 70 who are finding the benefits of this connectivity to a larger world: 24/7 news access, reliable medical information through sites such as MedlinePlus, and reconnecting with long lost friends. But there is also plenty of misinformation circulating on the Internet particularly from forwarded emails. Before you forward emails of such rumors as the postcard virus warning - true and false; listing guns on your tax return – false; euthanasia counseling – false, check their validity at Snopes.com, the #1 source for checking out various internet rumors and email forwards..

If you want to learn more about Medicare; its benefits and complexities and how to help others become better informed about Medicare, attend the free "Learn the Medicare ABC & Ds" on Wednesday August 19th from 2 - 4 pm at the Senior Center. To register call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101, ext. 218. Seating is limited! This two hour workshop is presented by SHIBA - Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance.

This Saturday Bonnie has cooked up something special for the Center’s monthly breakfast: delicious Quiche. (But if you are not a “real man” there will be scrambled eggs as an alternative.) The menu will also include bacon, muffin and fruit besides the usual suspects for drinks. We are proud that the sponsor this month is Columbia Gorge Community College where “building dreams and transforming lives” is alive and well. And you are never too old to dream.

The Center's Nu-2-U Shop is having a half price sale for one whole week starting tomorrow and continuing through Wednesday the 19th. Because there isn’t much space in the NU-2-U shop, Betty and Martha need to move the clothes out. So this is your chance to add some fine clothes to your wardrobe at give-away prices.

Congratulations to The Dalles’ own P-51 gal, Anna Monkiewicz, who was named the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal. Last Sunday, she was warmly honored by Senator Ron Wyden for serving our nation during WW II as a Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP). As Senator Wyden acknowledged, she was a trailblazer and a patriot.

It has been said that "Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance". So tonight let’s dance! Truman Boler will be playing his country favorites and next Tuesday the Hardshell Harmony will get your toes tapping with their high energy bluegrass music. You just can’t sit still when they play. And each week I have to keep moving the tables back to provide more room to dance - last Tuesday there were twelve couples on the dance floor at the same time. Folks just like to dance.

If you would like to share your passion for a hobby or activity give me a call. We are always looking for folks to teach classes this fall during the day or evening. And for you budding artists, Nancy Russell will be back again teaching her “Yes, You can Draw” art class starting Thursday September 17th. .

The answer to last week's question was the "Schnozzola" Jimmy Durante and the winner of the free breakfast was Jim Goff, King Bing of a couple years back. This week's question is who said "All things considered, I'd rather be in Philadelphia." Email me your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com or call and leave a message at 296-4788.

Until we meet again, remember the words of the venerable philosopher W.C Fields "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."


“We've put more effort into helping folks reach old age than into helping them enjoy it.” ~Frank A. Clark

Aging Well August 4th

The weather looks like it is going to be a little gentler by the end of the week. I know I should appreciate the variety each season brings because as Pepper Giardino said “Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella”. But rain I can deal with. It’s the excessive heat I don't particularly like.

But there has been one benefit. Because of the heat advisory we stayed open every night this last week. And since we didn’t have anything scheduled for Wednesday night, we showed the movie “Singing in the Rain” on the big plasma screen in the dining room - we moved in the stuffed chairs from the lounge to provide some comfortable seating. Only a few joined us, but we have decided to continue the Wednesday Night Movies for the rest of August or longer. But I need some help. I have my favorites – comedies with Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, but I am interested in knowing what movies would bring folks out on a Wednesday evening. Email me your favorite movie classic from the 60's, 50's 40's or 30's or just call. This Wednesday we will show the 1940 movie “His Girl Friday” with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and next Wednesday “Some Like it Hot” with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe - ranked as the #1 comedy by the American Film Institute. Showtime is 6:00 PM.

During the vacation season, it is sometimes hard to get the band together. So tonight Truman Boler and his one-man “Country Gold” will be playing as well as next Tuesday when he was originally scheduled. Admission is free but donations are always appreciated to keep the music flowing and the dancers dancing.

And when it comes to dancing, I think the older generations had it easier, because when I dance with my wife, she forgets who the boss is and always wants to lead. (Or does she know more than I know?) But then it all works out in the end, because I wouldn't know what to do if I did lead.

But there is an answer to my woes. Neva and Bill's Reid’s Social Dance lessons begin again this fall with an Intro to the Waltz, starting September 21 followed by an Intro to the Two-Step starting November 9th. Then next year they have schedule the Tango and the Slo 2-Step. The lessons are held at the Civic Auditorium on Mondays from 7 - 9 PM. There is a charge but it is worth it, because dancing provides four of the ingredients of successful aging: movement, social connections, touch and if you watch me, laughter. For more information you can call 541-296-1570 or email callncue4u@charter.net.

Several weeks ago, I forgot to mention the results of the public health department’s recent inspection of local restaurants. On the last inspection, Meals-on-Wheels and the Pioneer Potlatch meal sites in Dufur and Mosier all earned perfect scores of 100% and the meal site in Tygh Valley was almost perfect scoring 99%. You can’t get much better than that. Congratulations to all the staff and volunteers who work hard to provide nutritious meals and also to ensure that your food is safely prepared in a clean environment.

Can you name the person that signed off his radio show with "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are"? First correct answer receives a free breakfast at the Center’s Saturday Breakfast on August 15th sponsored by Columbia Gorge Community College. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com. Last week’s winner was Sandy Haechrel who was the first one to identify Jim Backus as the voice of Mr. Magoo.

That is it, another day, another possibility. Until we meet again, “Don't worry about avoiding temptation - as you grow older, it starts avoiding you”.

Aging Well July 28th

Could someone turn on the air conditioner outside? Sweating is no longer my favorite kind of exercise and even though the heat is still better than my humid memories of Indiana, my cooling system ain’t what it used to be.

But for us more mature folks, summer heat can cause major health problems particularly dehydration. The Oregon Department of Human Services cautions, “Not getting enough fluids each day can take a tremendous toll on every aspect of bodily functions, including possible changes in memory, vision, and kidney and heart function.” This is especially true for seniors because the percentage of a person’s weight in water changes as we age from about 80% for children to only 43% for women and 50% for men between the ages of 61 and 74. Consequently, any decrease in fluid consumption can cause proportionately more dehydration.

To prevent dehydration, you should drink at least six cups of liquids many times throughout the day and avoid drinking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and caffeinated sodas which act as diuretics. Instead, try drinking flavored carbonated water, or decaffeinated ice teas or just add a slice of lemon to a glass of water.

It doesn’t take an OSU graduate to know to stay cool, but not everyone has air conditioning and with a prolonged heat wave homes can get pretty warm. So take time to check on neighbors and relatives to make sure they are able to handle the heat.

But if you still need a little mental interlude, imagine a cool, late autumn Sunday afternoon; you and twenty others are traveling through the fall colors of the Gorge on your way to Portland to see the matinee performance of the Singing Christmas Tree; the 105 degree summer heat is long past and a lovely holiday performance is ahead.

For the second year, the Center has reserved seats for the holiday tradition, Portland’s Singing Christmas Tree on November 29th at 1:30 pm. The cost will again be around $65 including transportation. If interested, call the Center at 296-4788 or drop in and sign up.. Before long, we will be listening to Christmas music and wishing for the warm days of summer, but maybe not this warm.

If you want a more immediate respite from the heat, come to the Center tonight and enjoy the cool sounds of the Jazz Generations. They are a great dance band and you don't often have the opportunity to dance to the big band sound. Next week the Cherry Park Band will be playing and though several of the regulars will be vacationing, there is plenty of talent in that bunch to fill in. Admission is free but donations are always appreciated.

The Center offers a weekly opportunity to sing with the Young-at-Heart Seranders from 10:00 to 11:30 every Wednesday. But before they start back this September, Shirley Martin is looking for someone to take over as musical director. If you are interested in taking the baton, call the Center at 296-4788 or Shirley at 296-8715.

The only correct response to last week's question was Steve Bungum who listened to the Breakfast Hour when Don McNeil would call the kids “to march around the table”.
This week’s question is a bit easier. Who was the voice of Mr. Magoo? Since Steve said he is no longer a breakfast type of guy, the first correct answer this week will win two tickets to next month’s Saturday Breakfast on August 15th.

Until we meet again, stay cool and think on the bright side, it’s too hot to do yard work.

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.” Kurt Vonnegut

Aging Well July 21

We all know the importance of food as nourishment to the body and soul, and fortunately, in Wasco County there are several meal sites providing that nourishment by serving noon time meals primarily for folks 60 and over.

One such program is Meals-on-Wheels which leases space from the Senior Center. Five days a week, they prepare around 200 nutritious meals - a healthy alternative to frozen prepackaged dinners high in sodium - that are delivered by volunteers or served in the dining room at the Center. (71% of the folks surveyed at the Center said they eat better because of Meals-on-Wheels.)

But Meals-on-Wheels is more than a meal.

Margaret Mead once said "One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night." But for many older folks no one would notice if they didn’t come home. They live alone and do not have relatives or children who keep in daily contact. But the Meals-on-Wheels driver will wonder if you don't come to the door and will find out if all is well. (Several times a Meals-on-Wheels driver has found someone on the floor unable to call for help.)

Meals-on-Wheels also reaches out. Last winter, when drivers found the sidewalks nearly impassable, Meals-on-Wheels contacted Boy Scout Troop #395 who went out that same day to shovel sidewalks and walkways. And for Christmas, Meals-on-Wheels, through generous donations, purchased gifts for the folks on the home delivered routes causing one older gentleman to cry because it was the first Christmas gift he had received in years.

But besides the home delivered meals, Meals-on-Wheels offers a daily meal at the Center which brings folks together to meet and connect with old and new friends. You can join in the fellowship; learn about new activities and find out you are not alone.

The Center supports Meals-on-Wheels because we share a common building, common friends and a common mission - promoting healthy aging - but most importantly because every day we see Meals-on-Wheels and their volunteers doing great work.

And if you want to meet more fine folks and enjoy more good food, visit the Pioneer Potlatch meal sites in Wasco County: Dufur - serving every Tuesday, Tygh Valley - serving every Thursday, and Mosier -serving every Monday and Wednesday.

Tonight the Sugar Daddies are playing for your listening and dancing pleasure and next week the big band sounds return with the Jazz Generations. Admission is always free but to keep the music flowing donations are appreciated. And this Sunday, the Center will be hosting the Sunday Pie and Jam Social from 2 – 5 pm.

The answer to last week’s question was House Party, the television show hosted by Art Linkletter that included the segment "Kids Say the Darndest Things". You can see highlights from the show on the Center's blog at midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.

This week’s question suggested by Joanne Scott is a tough one. What radio host on his morning show called the kids “to march around the breakfast table”?" As a child Joanne use to listen to the show and as she said "was just dumb enough to do it".

And finally my Monday morning editor, Zelta Wasson, is taking a short vacation at MCMC. I can think of less expensive vacation locations, but the service is good. So Zelta, we are thinking of you and expect to see you back real soon. I need all your help I can get.

Until we meet again, in anger, as in chewing, it is best to keep your mouth shut.

“Older people shouldn`t eat health food, they need all the preservatives they can get.” Robert Orben

Aging Well July 14

Remember when Art Linkletter on his daily TV show would interview kids and they would say the “darndest things". Kids still do, well at least one still does, albeit not as young. While my wife and I were setting around the kitchen table my daughter at the ripe old age of 19 asked if we ever felt we were getting old. After we laughed, I answered, “How about every day!”

She was thinking about the sign she saw at the grocery store identifying the birth date after which one could buy alcohol and realized in a year and a half she would be 21: the age of independence, responsibility and adulthood; no longer poppa’s child and soooo old.

There are always events that remind us we are getting older whether it is the store sign, your children’s first day at school, their first swim lessons (and the first time you realized they can swim faster than you) or when they graduate from high school and then land their first job. (But as it has been said, you aren’t really old until your kids are on Medicare.) So “old” is all a matter of perspective and unavoidable. At every age whether we are 19 or 91 we experience the blessings and accept the burdens; discover the hidden treasures and the fool’s gold. And the encouragement I use to give my kids when sending them off to school is probably good for any age: “give it your best”.

“If youth but knew; If age but could.” French painter Henri Estienne II

The Center will be hosting its monthly breakfast this Saturday before the Fort Dalles Pro Rodeo Parade. The breakfast is starting at 7:30 a half hour earlier so everyone can enjoy a nice delicious breakfast (and meet the rodeo royalty) and still have time to watch the parade. It will be a busy morning so why don't you let someone else do the cooking. The breakfast is sponsored by Patti Blagg the Center's Friday afternoon volunteer receptionist and also a promotional products consultant who can find the right item to promote any business.

Tonight Boyd Jacobsen has lined up the Hardshell Harmony to play again because you can never get too much of a good thing. Everyone is welcome whether friend or foe, young or old, blue or green. It doesn't matter as long you love good music and the high energy sounds of bluegrass. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.

A big thanks to all the folks who have responded to the Center's request for donations to help support the expansion project. Every dollar will help make the dream come true. You can learn the latest news about the expansion and the activities for this fall at the Center's Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, July 21st at 1:30 pm. We have just sent out the meeting notices to current members and reminders to those who may have forgotten to renew their membership. It is never too late to join.

Eight folks correctly identified the Shadow as the answer for last week's question including Jim Heitkemper who also identified Lamont Cranston as the Shadow's alter ego. But the first correct answer was from Ron Sutherland. And this week’s question (and the last chance to win a free breakfast) is, "What was the name of the CBS show hosted by Art Linkletter that featured the segment "Kids Say the Darndest Things"? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

That’s it and I’m just a little older. Until we meet again, whether we are young or old or hot or cold “to everything there is a season”.

The best thing about getting old is that all those things you couldn't have when you were young you no longer want. ~L.S. McCandless

And as an added bonus here are some highlights of "Kids Say the Darndest Things"


Aging Well July 7

As we age, we enjoy joking about the challenges and foibles associated with becoming more mature? or is it more experienced? - or as we hate to admit it, just plain older: the nightly bathroom trips, the hearing aids, the stiffness and the all too common "senior moments". But although there is undoubtedly some truth in all of these common perceptions, many of us accept these conditions or limitations as inevitable and unalterable and become our own worst enemies to enjoying our later years to the fullest.

Did you hear about the 83 year old woman who talked herself out of a speeding ticket by telling the young officer that she had to get there before she forgot where she was going?

As we grow older, there are many things we just no longer want to do or have to do. I no longer want to climb up on the roof. You may no longer have to punch the daily time clock. But that is different from avoiding a new experience because we feel we are not capable. It is not healthy to pass up opportunities to explore and contribute because we have accepted the common perceptions and limitations of our own aging.

A man was telling his neighbor, 'I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it's state of the art. It's perfect.' 'Really,' answered the neighbor. 'What kind is it?' 'Twelve thirty.'

Sometimes, when learning a new skill that takes too much time or seems too hard, we think it is because we our too old. But learning anything new is hard and always has been hard whether it was learning to read, ride a bicycle or play the piano. Maybe it is because we have forgotten how long it has taken to us learn all that we know in our 50, 60, or 80+ years, we somehow feel we should be able to learn to use a computer or a new dance step or any new skill in a few short days or weeks or heaven forbid if it takes us several months.

“I don't do alcohol anymore - I get the same effect just standing up fast.” ~Author Unknown

No doubt, there are changes. We don’t rush around as fast, we see more in grays instead of blacks and whites and hopefully we make better decisions based on experience which are all good. But the difficulties in learning we attribute to aging are overstated. At every age and stage in our lives, we are capable of doing more than we think if we allow ourselves to take the risk, take the time and make the effort.

Few quick reminders:
At the Center, The Hardshell Harmony will be performing next Tuesday and tonight Truman Boler will be playing his country classics. The music starts at 7:00 and is over by 9:00, in time to get home before dark. The show is free but generous donations are generously accepted.

The Center will also be holding a rummage sale in the basement on Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th from 9 – 3 pm.

We had two correct answers last week from Joanne Scott and Tom Sofie identifying Gunsmoke, which ran from 1955 to 1975, as the longest running western TV series. To win a free Ft. Dalles Days Breakfast at the Center on Saturday July 18th, be the first to email me at mcseniorcenter@gmail.com the answer to the following question: What radio drama started with this question: 'Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men'?

Until we meet again, keep moving, keep laughing and keep dreaming.

Aging Well June 30

Television is a far cry from when there were only three major television networks, late night television test patterns, and if you missed a show you would have to wait for the summer rerun. Not anymore. With the Internet and YouTube, you can watch a program again at your own convenience or even send a news clip to your friends across the globe. And this is a good thing if you happened to miss seeing the Center and Meals-on-Wheels on CGN7 or Carl Kramer on KATU.

CGN7, channel 7 on cable TV, has expanded their local programming and initiated a new series called "Making a Difference" focusing on non-profits in the Gorge. For their first episode, they chose the programs and activities provided at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center and the Adult Center in Hood River. They particularly highlighted the good work provided by Meals-on-Wheels and their dedicated staff and volunteers who serve between 140 and 180 meals five days a week. Meals-on-Wheels and the Center do make a difference and it is nice to be recognized. The series airs at 8:00 PM on Thursday evenings or you can watch it on the Internet at www.columbiagorge.com.

Also the KATU news crew came to The Dalles to report on our own centenarian, Carl Kramer, who exhibited his usual grace and humor. Several weeks ago someone stole Carl's new scooter which he had recently bought to replace his old "Ferrari" scooter. Many days Carl would ride his scooter to Meals-on-Wheels at the Center for lunch and now he has to rely solely on the bus. If you haven't seen the news clip and want to see Carl or maybe spot yourself in the lunch crowd, you can go to the Center's web site at midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com and click on the link.

The Center is hosting a rummage sale to rid itself of many items that have been stored in the basement for some time. We will try to follow the "two year" rule: if it hasn't been used in the last two years, it goes. But there are several keepers of the history who will make sure I don't toss anything of significance. The sale will be in the Center’s basement on Friday and Saturday July 10 and 11th from 9 - 3 pm. As the saying goes “one man's junk is another man's treasure”.

Truman Boler and his one-man-country-jam will be back next Tuesday Night to perform for your dancing and listening pleasure. And tonight is a special treat with a visit from the Dufur Boys. As I was reminded this Sunday, dancing is good for the body and spirit and helps wash your cares away. Music starts at 7:00 and is free but donations are graciously accepted.

"The Senior Center puts on a great breakfast, but I would rather eat at Alice's Restaurant" was Joanne Scott's correct answer. Alice's Restaurant sung by Arlo Guthrie was released in 1967 but the answer to this week's question started in the fifties. What is the longest running prime time western television series and was number 1 from 1957 - 1960? Email me the correct answer at mcseniorcenter@gmail.com and you too can win a free breakfast at the Center on July 18th before the Ft. Dalles Parade.

That’s another wrap. The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will both be closed Friday and Saturday for the extended Fourth of July weekend, so you’re on your own. Until we meet again, don't forget Carl Kramer’s secret to a long life. “You inhale, then you exhale, then you inhale, then you exhale, then you inhale, then you exhale and if you can keep that up long enough you're going to be a hundred years old."

"Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake." Victor Hugo

Aging Well June 23

We have heard the stories: lottery rip-offs, insurance fraud, and “sweetheart scams”. Unfortunately, seniors are a prime target for such financial abuse because of their trusting nature, large net worth and vulnerabilities. Last March, a study by Metlife found the annual loss from the financial abuse of seniors is a whopping $2.6 billion. The study also found that elder financial abuse can be committed by anyone. It can be as close as a “family member, neighbor, or friend”, or as far away as an “invisible voice on the telephone or an e-mail from the other side of the globe".

It may not be surprising but financial abuse is generally not committed by strangers. More likely it is people who are in positions of trust such as business advisers, caregivers or family members (watch out for the kids). And it will probably get worse. With the number of seniors increasing and technological advances continuing, the number of opportunities for the financial abuse of seniors will rise dramatically.

You can learn more about this serious problem by reading the full study, including the common types and leading signs of financial abuse, by going to the Center’s Blog at midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com and look for the link to “Broken Trust: Elders, Family and Finances”.

If you do need help managing your finances – haven’t balanced your check book in a year – you can get trusted help from the AARP Money Management Program. The program offers money management service to help low-income seniors who have difficulty budgeting, paying routine bills, and keeping track of financial matters. For more information, contact the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

In the same vein, there will be a Medicare Fraud Training, July 13 from 2 - 4 PM at the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments office on the corner of 11th and Kelley. The Senior Medicare Patrol, retired professionals who are trained to help Medicare recipients identify Medicare fraud, waste and abuse, will be providing the training and they encourage anyone who has contact with seniors to attend.

The last Next Chapter lecture before we take a two month summer break will be Tuesday the 30th and will feature Sue Samet, Director of the Area Agency on Aging, discussing the legislation affecting seniors that has passed this legislative session. The legislative leadership is hoping to conclude the session by the 30th, but we will see.

Performing at the Center this coming week will be The Jammers for the Sunday Pie and Jam Social on the 28th from 2 - 5 PM followed by the Dufur Boys from Dufur on Tuesday the 30th. And tonight the Jazz Generations will be playing their favorite standards for your listening and dancing pleasure. Music starts at 7:00 and the music is free but donations are appreciated.

Thanks to Joanne Scott for emailing me the baby boomer spoofing video called “Baby Boomers Battle Hymn” which I have posted on the Center's Blog. It begins with the quote "Barack Obama's inauguration makes 70 million baby boomers older than their president for the first time. Never has a group been so large..... or so clueless". Although we may be clueless we know our music. So the first person who emails me the name of the restaurant made famous by Arlo Guthrie will win a free breakfast at the Center's Ft Dalles Rodeo Breakfast on July 18th.

That's it. It is hard to imagine that the fourth of July is just around the fireworks stand. So until we meet again, celebrate the unexpected even though it can be a real pain in the you-know-what.

"The past is a source of knowledge, and the future is a source of hope..." Steven Ambrose

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