Aging Well December 21st

I can’t tell whether time slows down during these snow covered days before Christmas or whether it speeds up as we race to the finish line – preparing for family gatherings and last minute shopping. But whether you are relaxing by the fireplace or braving the shopping skirmishes, this is a time to celebrate our religious traditions and appreciate the generosity of our friends and neighbors. And for this season of peace and understanding, I would like to share a favorite quote of mine from Eleanor Roosevelt.

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed the last two Fridays of the year: Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And many of the Center’s classes will be cancelled during the week between Christmas and New Years, so you may want to call if you aren’t sure whether your class is scheduled or not.

As you may have heard, the organizers of the free Christmas Eve dinner are looking for more volunteers. The dinner is from 3:00 – 6:00 PM at the St. Mary’s gym. If you can help out or if you would like a home-delivered meal, call 541-296-3067.

Tonight’s Tuesday Night Music will feature the country sounds of John Martin and Friends. And next Tuesday the Dufur Boys from Dufur will be playing all your favorites starting at 7:00 PM. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated. And on the Sunday in-between, music from the Pie and Jam Social will be echoing off the Center’s rafters from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.

Thanks again to Mill Creek Point for sponsoring the December Saturday Breakfast. Even though the weather wasn’t the most agreeable, there was a nice turn out of over 65 hardy souls. Mill Creek Point provided nice holiday gifts; carolers to get folks into the holiday spirit and Santa whose lap every woman wanted to sit on – it must be that red uniform and beard! With the help of all the volunteers and Boy Scout Troop #395, everyone enjoyed a delicious breakfast on a snowy Saturday before Christmas.

I have to admit an error in my ways. I don’t want to give the impression I am smarter than I look. (My wife can certainly correct any misperceptions if you ask her. But please don’t ask.) Some of the quotes I use are anonymous - part of the public domain, but one I shared last week about “Some people try to turn back their odometers …” was not a quote of mine, but is attributed to Will Rogers. As Will Rogers once said, “It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so”.

Even though we had only a few entries for last week’s “Remember When” question, I hope it brought back memories of Christmas’s past. And the winner was Sandy Goforth who remembered the special bicycle her father bought her for Christmas. But how about one last Christmas question from the file cabinets of America’s popular Christmas traditions. In 1957 Ted Geisel wrote a children’s story about a green cat-like creature that detested Christmas and stole the neighbors’ gifts and decorations - which in 1966 was made into an animated TV special. What is the name of this green creature that has become synonymous with a “greedy and un-sympathetic” attitude? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a letter postmarked from “Whoville”.

Well that’s another day - spinning my tires on the icy road of life. Until we meet again, let the sleigh bells ring; the treetops glisten; and your heart be light - as we wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas.

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you." John Wooden - UCLA Basketball Coach

Aging Well December 14th

This is another one of those weeks when my mind is only firing blanks. It happens. And wasn’t my advice last week “Not to Panic!” So I will just take a deep breath, enjoy this long and sometimes winding ride and hopefully by next week something useful will creep into the crevices of my mind. Until then, I will share some of the ins and outs at the Center with a few quotes about life to keep it half way interesting.

“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me! I want people to know 'why' I look this way. I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.” Will Rogers

Don’t forget this Saturday the 18th is the Center’s Saturday Breakfast sponsored by Mill Creek Point Bonnie and Edna will make sure the food is good, and the fine folks from Mill Creek Point have guaranteed there will be joyful singing, simple gifts and a hefty “ho-ho” Santa Claus. The food and frivolity begins at 8 AM and will continue through 10:00 with the raffle drawing for the Quilt at 9:00. And - for one last time this year - as Jack always said “Food tastes better when someone else cooks it”.

“When you are dissatisfied, and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.”

The Next Chapter Lecture Series will take a short hiatus over the holidays and will return January 10th which happens to be the day after the BCS Football Championship game. That first lecture just may be a play-by-play analysis of how Oregon slipped by Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers. Or it could be a group grief counseling session for all those wearing green and yellow. We shall see.

"Dancing is the art of getting your feet out of the way faster than your partner can step on them."

The Center’s Tuesday night music will continue through the holidays because you can’t keep the musicians silent when there is an audience to entertain and dancers wanting to dance. Tonight the Sugar Daddies – (and when are the Sugar Mommas going to play?) - will be performing for your listening and dancing pleasure. And next Tuesday on the 21st John Martin and Friends will be back. The screaming and hollering starts at 7:00 and everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

“Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Douglas Adams

Over the years, I have had several inquires about storing and editing digital photographs on a computer. So I have invited Josh Price to finish this year’s “Tech Talk” series with a presentation on Picasa which is free photo editing software from Google that helps you organize, edit and share your digital photographs. The presentation will be at 1:00 on Wednesday the 15th at the Center.

“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”
Will Rogers

Many folks shared their fond memories and family traditions about the movie “The Christmas Story” including what kind of BB gun Ralphie wanted for Christmas. But only Ben Neumeyer and Julie Mann submitted the exact description. And only Ben was the envy of the boys in his neighborhood because he actually owned an official
“Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock”. That must have been pretty cool. But the winner was not Ben - although I am sure if he brought his Red Ryder to the breakfast he would still be the envy of the boys and would surely receive a free breakfast. The winner of a free breakfast was (d-r-u-m r-o-l-l) Sandy Haechrel - but only if she brings Bob.

My wife and I were reminiscing about the Christmas gifts we received as kids and she was a little perturbed when she realized the only gifts she remembered were the ones her older brother received. But when you remember back to your Christmas pasts was there a particular “Red Ryder” type of gift that caused you to lose sleep the weeks before Christmas. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a vintage 1958 Erector Set.

“The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.”

Well that’s another quarter in the parking meter of life – and enough quotes for a day. Until we meet again, keep a smile on your lips, a bounce in your step and a little laughter in your voice.

“As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something.” - Hagar the Horrible

Aging Well December 7th

Change - not that jingle jangle left in your pants pockets or at the bottom of your purse - is one of the constant expressions of life that we depend on, but often a curse as we get older. But adapting to change - the pleasant surprises and the unwanted and unexpected challenges - is a key to aging well. If you haven’t yet encountered any of those curve balls thrown your way, you are fortunate. But I am sure (as I am that Oregon will win the national football championship) you will encounter an event or time that will test you during this next chapter of your life.

But change should not to be feared. In Connie Goldman’s book “The Ageless Spirit” she shares with the reader her conversations with celebrities and friends on the challenges and rewards of aging. One conversation was with Art Linkletter who passed away last May at the age of ninety-seven and who wrote the book “Old Age is Not for Sissies”. He addresses the need to embrace change and its opportunities. “I like to think that every day some experience or some new acquaintance or some new challenge is going to change my life. There’s always one hill higher with a better view, something waiting to be learned I never knew. So till my days are over my prayer is, ‘Never fill my cup, let me go on growing up.” Change can be difficult. It can illuminate our losses and our fears. But change can also be a gift of new beginnings and new opportunities - if we can adapt. As W.R. Inge, English author and Anglican priest, wrote We must cut our coat according to our cloth, and adapt ourselves to changing circumstances.

On the weekend of the 18th and 19th, we have two culinary treats seasoned with good friends and buttered with some good fun for your pre Christmas enjoyment. On Saturday the 18th from 8:00 – 10:00 AM, Mill Creek Point is sponsoring the Center’s Saturday Breakfast. They have always added a good helping of holiday flair to the breakfast with carolers, gifts - and I believe Roxie had enough pull to persuade old St. Nick to take time off and join everyone for breakfast.

And then on Sunday the 19th, Home at Last is having a Bone Soup Feed and Silent Auction from noon till 4:00 PM at the Center. Meals-on-Wheels is offering their kitchen and assistance to help with this worthy event. Home at Last has partnered with Meals-on-Wheels by providing food for the pets of the folks who have their meals delivered so they don’t have to choose between feeding themselves or their four legged companion.

And who’s playing at the Center you ask? Andre and the Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing tonight. And next week the “Sugar Daddies” will raise the heat on the 14th. The fire starts at 7:00 and lasts until the last flame disappears at 9:00. Everybody is welcome and it’s free, although donations are always gladly accepted.

Only one answer, that I know of, came across my desk - from Ron Sutherland whose favorite Christmas song was “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus” by the singing Hoosier, John Cougar Mellencamp. The original recording by Jimmy Boyd reached #1 on the Billboard Charts in 1952.

This week’s “Remember When” question is about the movie “A Christmas Story” based on the short stories of the American humorist Jean Shepherd. And even though it was first released in 1983, this Christmas classic takes place in Hammond, Indiana (Shepherd’s home town) in the 1940’s. Most of you know the plot: Ralphie wants a BB gun for Christmas, but the question is - what kind of BB gun did Ralphie want? E-mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the inside cover of Jean Shepherd’s 1966 book “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”

And before I forget - which would be ironic - I promised I would mention the other three components of Brain Health that Roger Anunsen described in his Brain Health presentations. Besides physical exercise, mental exercise and socialization, the other three are good nutrition, sufficient sleep and stress reduction.

So until me meet again, don’t forget to eat well, sleep tight (don’t let the bedbugs bite), and above all else “Don’t Panic!”

“If you feel you are doing as much at seventy as you did when you were twenty, you must have not been doing much at twenty.”

Aging Well November 30th

The brain works in incredible ways and we are just beginning to understand it. Ninety five percent of what is known about the brain has been learned in the last thirty years. But we only wish we knew more. Because as Dave Barry pointed out in his “Book of Bad Songs” we still don’t know why we can forget the important stuff: our ATM number, location of our car keys and the name of people we have known for years - but permanently stuck in the inner reaches of our brain are songs that we really, really don’t like. If you are of the boomer generation you can probably still hum the tune to “Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I got love in my tummy”. Or can recite the lyrics to MacArthur Park - “Someone left the cake out in the rain/ I don’t think I can take it!/ ‘cause it took so long to bake it/ And I’ll never have that recipe again/ Oh no!” What in the heck did that mean? And why do I still remember it?

Roger Annunsen, a self described translator of the latest brain research, spoke at the Center two weeks ago and shared the six components - that by working together - promote good brain health.

The first is physical exercise - aerobic exercise is the best, but at the very least just keep moving. And what exercise is the best? Whatever you will do!. The second is mental exercise – besides the word puzzles and games, surprise yourself, take the wrong turn, get lost (as long as you find your way back home). Third, be socially active - meet with friends, share stories, ask someone out on a date or eat dinner provided by Meals-on-Wheels at the Center.

And there are three more components of brain health, but I want to “work you brain” by asking you to identify the other behaviors that help promote brain health. Think about it. I will include them in next week’s column or if you can’t wait, you can find all six components on the Center’s web site at

If you are fortunate to be covered by Medicare you have until December 31st to change your Prescription Drug plan or your Medicare Advantage insurance carrier. If you have questions and need assistance, you can call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 and ask for Jean Hockman.

But there are three general rules SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) recommends when making Medicare decisions. First, ask your doctor’s office if they accept the insurance plan you want to use. Second, do a drug benefits check-up every year to determine which plan is best for you. If you are Internet comfortable, you can use the Drug Plan Finder at And third, save all your correspondence (letters, statements and envelopes) and document any phone calls. SHIBA’s excellent user friendly guide to the Medicare system is now available and you can pick one up at the Center or at the Area Agency on Aging on the corner of 11th and Kelly.

If the weather holds, tonight’s Tuesday Night music at the Center will be provided by John Martin and Friends singing good old country western music. The music starts at 7:00 and everybody is welcome. And you don’t have to spend a cent – but donations are appreciated.

Last week, I couldn’t mention it, but I wanted to thank Myrna Kinner for helping me think of the “Remember When’ question when she told me she was named after Myrna Loy - the actress who played Nora Charles in the Thin Man movie series. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast was Sandy Goforth.)

And now that we are officially in the Christmas season with the sounds of carols and Christmas standards coaxing us into the Christmas spirit, we will certainly hear our favorite Christmas songs. Mine is “White Christmas” first sung by Bing Crosby in the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn”. But what is your favorite Christmas song? “Silent Night”, “I’ll be Home for Christmas” or the “Chipmunk Song”? E-mail it to me at, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a $100 Fred Meyer gift card and leave it on my desk.

The Center is back in action after a week in a winter wonderland. And whose idea was it to have snow this early? It certainly wasn’t mine! So until we meet again, I am beginning to realize I am getting to that age when I no longer need studs for my car - because if the weather is that bad, I’m better off staying home.

“Men's minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate” - Alexandre Dumas Père

Aging Well November 23rd

With the air filled with a sense of discontent, this is a good time to slow down, take a deep breath, and just offer that simple prayer – “thank-you”. Thank-you for the many blessings – visible, but often out of focus as we are distracted by our daily activities. Thank-you for the many friends and family who are still with us or the gentle memories of those we have lost. Because during even the most difficult times, this season reminds us there is much to the thankful for.
While we are blessed in multiple ways, there are still many who are also struggling financially and are finding it difficult to make ends meet – if they can find the ends. And with the cost of the basic necessities increasing, it continues to get harder to live on a fixed income. Almost one out of every ten adults over the age of 65 live below the poverty level and even more (31.4 percent) are considered economically insecure according to the National Council on Aging.
To lessen these financial challenges, the Center is starting a new initiative to assist low income older adults find and access benefits from the many government programs available to them – from food assistance programs to Medicare prescription drug assistance. Every Tuesday at the Center between 1:00 and 3:00, Sandy Sargeant has volunteered to help folks identify what benefits they may be eligible for, so they can then decide which benefits to apply for. Navigating the benefit process may not be as bad as driving through Boston, but it is not your Sunday drive. And with Sandy’s help, you may be able to stretch your limited dollars even further.
There is Oregon vs. Oregon State, Hatfields vs. McCoys, Debbie Reynolds vs. Eddie Fisher, and light vs. dark. But now you can add Edna Chandler vs. Betty Harlan. Edna and Betty are competing to see who can sell the most 2011 Center memberships by the end of the year. And if you join by December 18th, the Center has added a little thank-you gift of two free raffle tickets for a beautiful quilt - hand stitched by the Senior Center Quilters. The drawing for the quilt will be on the 18th during the Center’s December Saturday Breakfast. Join and become a member of the Center family for the first or the twenty-fourth time!

The Center will be closed Thursday and Friday so folks can enjoy family and friends – and maybe partake in a little early morning shopping? But by the weekend, the Center will be right back at it. Saturday night the Bingo balls will be dropping as usual - starting at 6:00 PM; Sunday morning at 11:15 AM, the bus will be leaving to enjoy the “Singing Christmas Tree” in Portland (I still have six tickets – call me at 541-980-4645. It gets bigger and better each year!) And from 2:00 – 5:00 PM on Sunday the Jammers will be playing with a little pie and ice cream sprinkled on top.
The last Tuesday Lecture for the month on November 30th at 11:00 AM will feature Corliss Marsh explaining the benefits of the Oregon Cultural Trust. According to its website, The Oregon Cultural Trust was first authorized in 1999 to increase public and private support for Oregon's arts, heritage and humanities. And since 2002, Oregonians have contributed over $17 million to the Trust. Learn more about how to support the Cultural Trust and local non-profits while receiving an Oregon tax credit.

The sounds of feet tapping and the sight of bodies dancing are absent from the Center tonight, but not next Tuesday when the Center will be back waltzing and two stepping to the sounds of John Martin and Friends starting at 7:00 PM. If the roads are clear and engine starts, come on down – it doesn’t cost a thing and everyone is welcome. But friendly smiles and donations are appreciated.

Charles Lindbergh was the American hero whose child was kidnapped and tragically murdered. And of the six entries, Mary Davis (class of ’62) was the winner of a free Saturday breakfast. This week’s “Remember When” question is on a more cheerful note. What movie star played mostly vamps and femme fatales in silent films until she got her big break when cast as Nora Charles opposite Dick Powell in the six Thin Man movies? E-mail, call 541-296-4788 or write you answer on the inside cover of a first edition Dashiell Hammett detective novel.

And a final quick reminder as the winter weather falls upon us, to call the Center or listen to the radio if you are unsure if the Center or Meals-on-Wheels will be open.
Well that’s another twist and turn on the ice rink of life. Until we meet again, for every problem there is an answer - we just may not find it in our lifetime.

“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.” Groucho Marx

Aging Well November 16th

When a person falls and breaks a hip - doctors can mend the broken hip, but the individual may still suffer from the emotional side effects: the fear of falling again, the sense of vulnerability, the loss of control. The break has been cured, but the person has not been made whole.

As humans, we are complex beings: unique physical bodies each with our own fears, dreams, understandings, and perceptions. Doctors have done well focusing on curing our physical ailments -whether an injury or disease, but have generally not done as well healing: affecting the emotional, mental and spiritual conditions associated with the physical ailment.

As a new practicing geriatrician hired by MCMC, Dr. Maria Tomas understands the difference between healing and curing. She knows there are times when the condition may not be cured but the individual can be supported and healed. As a trained geriatrician, she also knows how to promote wellness and preventive care through an interdisciplinary and holistic approach so older adults can maintain their functional independence. Dr. Tomas brings energy, experience and knowledge to the Columbia Gorge and you will be able to meet her and discuss the many health challenges facing older adults at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on November 23rd at 11:00. .

It is time for breakfast at the Center, this Saturday November 20th sponsored by Cherry Heights Retirement Community. This month’s menu includes Biscuits and Gravy, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit with the regular beverages all for $5.00. But last month after my gentle encouragement, I was surprised no one from the class of TDHS ’62 or ’64 showed up. But the class of ’63 explained the reason you won’t see anyone from the class of ’62 is because they are still in deep, deep denial and can’t accept the fact they are some distance past 40! (For the guys, you would think their waistline would give them a clue!) So to help the TDHS class of ’62 on their path to emotional enlightenment, the first two ’62 graduates who arrive for breakfast this Saturday (we are open from 8:00 – 9:30) will receive a free complimentary breakfast – plus some much needed counseling from the class of ’63. You hear that Mel, Ken and Gary?

The Center still has ten tickets left for the Sunday, November 28th performance of the “Singing Christmas Tree” at the Keller Auditorium in Portland. Every year I hear the performance is better than the year before and I don’t expect this year to be any different. The cost is only $65 including transportation in a comfortable 24 passenger bus. Stop by the Center to purchase your tickets or call 541-296-4788.

Next Tuesday the 23rd before Thanksgiving, there will not be no Tuesday Night music. But have no fear, the Center will still offer plenty of music during the rest of November. Tonight the Cherry Park Band will be picking and strumming, and on Tuesday November 30th, John Martin and Friends will return. Then in between,from 2:00 – 5:00 on Sunday the 28th, the Jammers will gather at the Center for a Sunday Pie and Jam Social. On Tuesday nights the music always starts bouncing across the dance floor at 7:00. And it doesn’t cost a thing although donations are appreciated.

A quick reminder: the Brain Health Roundtable is tomorrow Wednesday the 17th from 9:30 - 11:00 at the Center. Roger Anunsen who has spoken nationally on matters of Brain Health will be the speaker, and it should be an excellent presentation. The event is made possible by the local chapter of the Oregon Retired Educator’s Association.

It was Walden Robert Perciville Cassotto, better known as Bobby Darin, who wrote the song "Splish Splash" along with radio DJ "Murray the K" Kaufman, “who bet Darin that he could not write a song that started out with the words "Splish Splash, I was takin' a bath"..And lucky winner of a Saturday Breakfast is Ed Anghilante. This week’s “Remember When” question is from the category: “Crimes of the Century”. As I was discussing with my mother-in-law the dangers facing children today, she mentioned as a young child she was afraid of being kidnapped because of the famous 1930’s kidnapping and subsequent trial described by newspaper writer H.L. Mencken as "the biggest story since the Resurrection". Who was the American hero whose child was kidnapped and tragically murdered? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on back of an air mail letter from 1926.

Well that’s another wet leaf on the slippery slope of life. Until we meet again, chew before you swallow and look before you leap.

“Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.”

Aging Well November 9th

Times are tough. But if you want some free cash, just follow me though the U-scan check out at Fred Meyer and inspect the change dispenser after I leave. More times than I care to admit, I have provided $20 jackpot to an unsuspecting soul who happened to be following this forgetful mind.

But if you have similar experiences or just have a curious mind, you will want to attend the “Jump Start Aging Brains” presentation at Hawks Ridge Retirement Community in Hood River from 1:30 - 3:00 on November 17. The featured speaker will be Roger Anunsen, who has spoken nationally including several Aging in America conferences and the 1st Global Conference on Aging at the University of Oxford in 2009. He also has been a Brain Wellness program consultant for AARP, GenCare and Oregon Retired Educators. Roger will discuss the latest research and findings about memory and aging brains and how you can maintain your brain health so you can continue to live an active and vibrant life. You can find more information about Roger Anunsen at

And as a preview and for those who may not be able to travel to Hood River, Roger will also be speaking at a “Brain Health Roundtable” at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center on the same day, November 17th, from 9:30 - 11:00. These two presentations in the Gorge are made possible by the Oregon Retired Educators’ Association.

Meals-on-Wheels lost one of its regulars: Charlene Morrison. Most every day the taxi would drop her off at the Center around 11:00, so she could visit with friends before lunch and help fill the ice pitchers. And after lunch when most everyone else had left, the taxi would come by to take her home. Charlene lived independently but was supported by the whole community. And since she did not have any family in Oregon, Denise Patton, director of Meals-on-Wheels, has arranged a memorial service for Charlene on Thursday the 11th at 1:30 PM with Jim Hazlet officiating. My wife and I have decided make a donation in Charlene’s name to Meals-on-Wheels which was such an important part of Charlene’s life. And The Dalles Taxi, which Charlene often used, has generously paid for a head stone, Charlene did not have the advantages many of us take for granted, but she was a good person and will be missed.

Starting November 15th - and continuing through December 31st - you may add, drop or switch your prescription drug coverage. During that same period, if your current Medicare Advantage plan is leaving the area, you may change to a new Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare. (In 2011, there will be three Medicare Advantage plans available in Wasco County: Clear One, ODS and Regence.)To help answer any remaining Medicare questions, the Center has invited back Jeff Eagan for the 11:00 lecture on Tuesday November 16th. Jeff has worked in the Medicare Insurance business for years and will help you better understand your Medicare options.

Music is alive and well at the Center. Next Tuesday on the 16th the Cherry Park Band will be playing and tonight Truman will croon a few tunes for your listening and dancing enjoyment. The music starts at 7:00 and there is no charge but donations are appreciated. And whether you are in pajamas and flip flops or a tuxedo and spats, everybody is welcome.

Don’t forget to attend the Veteran’s Day Parade to honor the "Past, Present and Future Members of the Military" this Thursday the 11th. It will begin at 11:00 starting at 6th and Weber and continue through downtown. And following the parade will be a Community Potluck Lunch at The Dalles Armory. And Meals-on-Wheels will be open on Veteran’s Day to recognize the Veteran’s during lunch, but will be closed on Friday the 12th. But the Center will be open on both Thursday and Friday.

The U.S. Senator - and at the time “I Like Ike” Eisenhower’s vice-presidential running mate - who gave the famous Checkers speech was Richard Nixon. And of the four entries, the winner of a free breakfast was Jerry Taylor. But enough politics and scandal, let’s escape back to show business. This week’s “Remember When” question is “What Grammy award winning artist, also nominated for an Academy Award for Best supporting Actor, co-wrote and performed the hit song “Splish Splash?” E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on back of a poster for the 1961 movie “Come September”.

Well that was another busy signal on the switchboard of life. Until we meet again, as you ask yourself, “What the heck was he thinking?” remember, what makes us different, also makes us human.

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” Douglas Adams

Aging Well November 2nd

I confess. I am a procrastinator. I know Mae West said "He who hesitates is last." And American writer, Don Marquis wrote "Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.", but didn’t Mark Twain say "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow”?

But there comes a time when you realize there may not be many more “days after tomorrows”. And you decide it is time to take charge; grab the bull by its horns - if only you could find your misplaced glasses to see the bull. (Some of you may have the urge to add a comment here, but I will hold my pen.)

To take control you need to decide what you want – what are your goals? It may be losing weight, visiting family, moving more, sending emails or just climbing 20 steps without stopping. You decide. But “someday isn’t another day of the week”. How do you move from “want it” to “done that”?

By creating an action plan: dividing your long term goal into doable weekly short term action steps. Remember the adage? “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The book “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions” lists the following characteristics of a successful action plan. Is it something YOU want to do; are the steps reasonable (something that can be accomplished in a week; are they specific behaviors (losing weight is not a behavior; not eating after dinner is; does the plan answer the questions: What? How much? When? How often? And are you confident you can fulfill the entire plan.
Now that you have sliced your goal into smaller doable bites, start eating. Along the way you may need to make some adjustments - a little more salt here, another vegetable there. And finally, as you accomplish each step reward yourself: a pat on the back or maybe an after dinner glass of wine?

Two musical favorites are returning to the Center this month. Truman’s Country Gold, Silver and Bronze - he plays them all - will be the headliner for next Tuesday night on the 9th. And tonight the Strawberry Mountain band will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. The price is right - if your pockets are bare, but donations are appreciated. Music starts at 7:00 pm and everybody is welcome - whether you have two left “foots” or one.

You may have noticed the new look on the Center’s corner at 10th and Cherry Heights. Thanks to Jack and Alvena Smith who generously coordinated and paid for the landscaping, replacing my feeble attempt from last year, the corner now looks as nice as the Center’s neighbors

The Center’s November 9th Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 will feature Lynette Black, 4-H Extension Faculty, discussing the exciting opportunities 4-H and its many volunteers offer our youth so they can “learn, grow, and work together as catalysts for positive change”.

Last week I forgot to mention the Center’s second Tech Talk scheduled for this Wednesday the 3rd at 1:00 pm. Josh Price will demonstrate how to set up and use Skype - the most popular free software program that allows you to make phone and video calls over the Internet. It is a great way to see and talk to family and friends - and all you need is a computer and a webcam for the video calls.

The Center still has seats available for what has become an annual trip to Portland for the 1:30 matinee performance of the “Singing Christmas Tree” on Sunday November 28th. Call or stop by the Center to pay (only $65 including transportation) and select your seats.

I heard several touching stories of how families reacted to the Cuban Missile Crisis that almost brought the United States and Russia to a nuclear showdown in October of 1962. Fortunately for all, cooler heads prevailed. And of the seven correct entries the winner of a free breakfast was Jo Ann von Borstel. Since it is Election Day, let’s go with one more political history question. What person, at the time a U.S. Senator, gave a half hour television address defending himself against alleged improprieties and stating, regardless of what anyone said, he was going to keep one gift: his children’s dog named Checkers? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on back of a 1952 Presidential campaign poster.

Well, that is another night looking for the silver lining in all the wrong jackets. Until we meet again, in life there are always ups and downs or as John Lampe reminded me “sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug”.

Aging Well October 26th

You probably know the melody to this standard from Bye, Bye Birdie, “Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face; Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a happy face.” How often are we offered that advice: buck up; think positive - and by the way, stop the whining! As we grow older we are urged - and you have heard it here many times - to focus on the bright side, appreciating the blessings we experience every day. And that is good advice – to a point.

Because if this “positive attitude” mask is used to avoid recognizing and addressing your deep and personal feelings, it can have a detrimental effect on your emotional health. Michael Learner, PhD, co-founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program says “It is much more healthy and healing to allow yourself to feel whatever it is that is coming up in you and allow yourself to express it and to work with the anxiety, the depression, and the grief. Then you can learn a positive way to live with all of those feelings.”

Many days it is a struggle and you feel -shall we say - like “dirty diapers”. You may be scared, anxious, depressed - and you wonder “is it worth getting out of bed?” You know it is and you will, but it is tough. And when someone tells you it is not as bad as it seems, you just want to slap them across the back of their head and scream “You have no idea how terrible I feel!”

While you do the hard work that you must: recognizing and dealing with these feelings and emotions, it is easy to get stuck and forget to also let go of those things causing stress and tension, to spend more time doing what makes you happy, and to take care of yourself by eating well, sleeping enough and exercising often. Not every day has to be or will be a “good day” – but there will be many times when “grey skies will clear up” and you can honestly “put on a happy face”.

Diabetes Discovery Day is a free event and will be held from 11:0 – 3:00 at the new Water's Edge Facility, at 551 Lone Pine Blvd. in The Dalles. It is an opportunity for those with diabetes and their families to receive the latest information on diabetes. Come hear experts from various fields discuss the latest advances in research and treatment.

On Tuesday nights, the Center is “alive with the sound of music”. And although tonight you won’t find Julie Andrews or Christopher Plummer, you will find the Jazz Generations playing the sounds you use to dance to when you were just a young buck. And next week on November 2nd, Andre Lamoreaux and the Strawberry Mountain Band will be pulling the fire alarm because the dance floor will be ablaze. It’s all free although donations are appreciated to keep the lights on and the musician’s fed.

It isn’t that I have forgotten the speaker for next Tuesday’s Lecture, I just haven’t confirmed it yet. But stop by the Center at 11:00 and be surprised.

I heard several folks enjoyed the “vocabulary test” last week. But I should have disclosed that I didn’t create the test (It was too clever for my pea brain) but I stole it from a website or errant email that I can’t seem to remember.

But for last week’s “Remember When” question I received several more expressions I hadn’t heard for quite some time. Sandy Goforth remembers “Jeez Louise” and “Jumpin Jehosafats”, Marilyn Sarsfield offered “stuffed to your eyelashes” and Bob Haerchral’s answer was “You’re Welcome” since it is now often replaced by “No Problem”. But the winning entry and one that stumped me was from Sandy Haechrel who remembers “How’s Tricks” meaning “How’s things?” Does anyone else remember it?

This week’s question goes back to October of 1962. I remember my parents stocking up canned goods for reasons they didn’t explain and I didn’t ask (It was October - I was more interested in football) which was their response to what international confrontation occurring over several days and brought the cold war close to a nuclear conflict? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on back of a box of Habanos S.A cigars.

Well, that is another mile down the dusty road on these bald and worn tires. Until we meet again, as my wife often reminds me “when you find barking dogs at the door, step over them.”

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours” Swedish Proverb quotes


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