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.
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 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

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

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

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."


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