Aging Well August 24th

“Exercise the body you have, not the one you used to have or the one you wish you had.” This quote, which I recently saw at The Dalles Fitness and Court Club, reminded me how often our unrealistic expectations get in the way of what we think we can physically do or can’t do.

But with creaky knees, garbled hearing and weak bladders - okay maybe I am just speaking of my own condition - you would think we wouldn’t need to be reminded. We would know there just isn’t as much snap in the old rubber band anymore. But no! There are many - particularly Boomers - who still pursue that grand ideal of “mind over matter” - while many others have accepted reality and understand that “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”.

Even as our bodies are no longer what they were, we do know that it is important to keep moving and exercising because research has shown, over and over again, that an active lifestyle is good for the mind, body, and spirit.

But what kind of exercise is best for you? There are many professional opinions but the simple answer is: whatever you will do that will get you up and moving. And it doesn’t need to be the sweaty exercises you remember from high school.

You can dance. Bill and Neva Reid are again offering a variety of dance classes Monday nights at the Civic from 7:00 – 9:00 starting with an Intro to the Waltz on September 20th. On Thursdays September 16, 23, and 30 they will also be offering free Modern Square Dancing lessons - plus free Ice Cream Cones. Call them at 541-296-1570 for more information. And at the Center there is Tap and Clogging taught by Ardyce Edling every Thursday starting at 10:00. (And I heard they are looking for a few brave men to add some excitement to this all women’s group.)

You can walk. The Sunup Walking Club offers groups walks every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:00 AM along the riverfront. Call 541-296-9533 for more info. And you can join a variety of exercise and movement classes at TDFCC, MCMC and here at the Center.

Our bodies aren’t the same as they were fifty, forty or even ten years ago, but we can keep moving. As Popeye said “I am what I am and that’s all that I am”. And that is a good place to start.

Russell Baker once said “Children rarely want to know who their parents were before they were parents, and when age finally stirs their curiosity, there is no parent left to tell them”. But the Center is trying to prevent this sad truth by providing an opportunity for folks to record, preserve and share your experiences growing up, life lessons learned or just personal stories. Bring a friend, parent or child and we will record your conversations and transfer them to a CD for you to keep. We are still testing the process, but if you are interested call the Center at 541-296-4788.

Dancing is not all that difficult. It is just the “art of getting your feet out of the way faster than your partner can step on them." On Tuesday the 31st you will have a chance to practice this art form to the sounds of the Dufur Boys and tonight to the Jazz Generations. The music starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are appreciated. .

Last week’s answer was the “Platters” the Doo-Wop group that recorded the #1 hit “The Great Pretender”. There were nine entries including Karl “Trivial Minds” Vercouteren and the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on September 18th was Bob Earls.

This week it is time for a country music “Remember When” question and since during my clumsy pimpled face youth, I listened mostly to Motown, I went to someone who knows her country music upside down: Sharyl Doty. With her help, this week’s “Remember When” question is “What early pioneer of country music starred in over 40 “singing cowboy” movies and recorded many top ten country hits including “You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often" and one of Sharyl’s favorites, “Deck of Cards”? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write the answer on the front of a Federal Reserve Note next to the picture of James Madison and slip it under my door.

Well that is the end of another box of cereal – and I still didn’t find the prize. Until we meet again before you start making a big fuss think about what Vic Gold said “The squeaking wheel doesn’t always get the grease. Sometimes it gets replaced!”

Aging Well August 17th

Curiosity had been described as “... the wick in the candle of learning “... the lust of the mind”, “ of the great secrets of happiness”. And because it keeps our minds active, creates an excitement and appreciation for all of life’s wonders and opens new windows to fresh ideas that will challenge and engage us, it is a trait we should continue to nourish and strengthen.

Unfortunately, many of us stop questioning the world around us. We have seen it all, what more is there? But at any age we need to keep asking questions, wondering what if, and keeping our minds open – but not so open our brains fall out. And make it fun! Imagine you are like that curious cat Ralph Waldo Emerson described “lying in wait for every secret”. And then you spring, and in your paws you have a savory new discovery.

But you don’t need gourmet food to feed your curiosity. You can read a book, discuss a new idea with friends, explore your own backyard: the Discovery Center, the Library, The Dalles Art Center, and the many historical sites. And you can attend the new opportunities offered by the Center starting this fall including Wii Fun – learning the Wii games such as tennis, boxing, golf and skiing; Tech Talk - a monthly series discussing various topics such as Facebook; Lunch with TED – discussing a thought provoking video from the website TED; Life’s Lessons – stimulating group discussion of lessons learned; StoryCorp – recording of life memories and experiences; iPhone users group - or support group depending if you think your iPhone is an addiction or not; and Mastery of Aging – a video presentation created and distributed by OSU extension. If you are interested in any of these activities and classes, or if you have any ideas for additional activities, call the Center at 541-296-4788.

As the summer starts winding down so do the free local concerts. This coming Sunday August 22 at 4:00 PM the Dufur Boys will be playing the last “4th at the Fort” Sunday Concert; and on the first of September, “Music in the Park” will conclude with the “Stolen Sweets” - including The Dalles own Erin Sutherland - performing vintage swing jazz vocals. And there is always music at the Center every Tuesday night starting at 7:00 PM. On the 24th The Jazz Generations will be performing their big band sounds. And tonight Andre will be leading the Strawberry Mountain Band. The music is free but the evening is priceless. Snacks are provided and everyone but the dog is welcome.

On the menu for the Center’s monthly breakfast this coming Saturday the 21st is the southern favorite of Biscuits and Gravy, Sausage, Scramble Eggs, fruit and your favorite beverage, all for $5.00 (and $4.00 for Center members). Breakfast is served at 8:00 and continues until everyone is satisfied – usually around 9:30. The breakfast is open to all ages, the old–old, young-old, old-young and for the young-young the Center has added a children’s price of $3.00 for those under twelve. As Jack always said, “Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it”.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question was Peyton Place (of the four entries three were men - and you can take that anyway you want) and the winner was Don McAllister who remembers the book being passed around during freshman science class when one of the girls brought it to school. As a reminder this month’s winners of a free Saturday Breakfast were Terry Emmons, Diana Weston, Sharon Pincock, Sandy Stillings, Donzella Schlager and Jim Ayers; and Sandy Lutgens, but only if she brings her autographed picture of Richard Chamberlain.

This week’s question is back to my favorite category: music. What Doo-Wop group recorded the #1 hit “the Great Pretender” in 1956? Email, call 541-296-4788 or write the answer on the side of a Troy-Bilt Storm 24” Two Stage Snow Thrower – hey, it won’t be too long before we will be trading our sandals for warm gloves.

Well, my stomach’s full and it’s time to take a nap. Until we meet again, keep your eyes open for what can’t be seen.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Aging Well August 10

In Wasco, Hood River and Sherman counties, over nine-hundred folks are residing in state licensed long term care facilities such as nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and adult foster care homes – and many are without close family or friends. Even in the best facilities stuff happens and in many states these residents would have no one nearby to help. But in most of Oregon that is not the case. Oregon’s Long Term Care Ombudsman program works to “enhance the quality of life and improve the quality of care for residents of Oregon's long-term care facilities” by responding to a wide variety of resident concerns - from personal preferences (I don’t like green Jello) to financial abuse - my kids are trying to steal my life savings - and in between: billing, medications, lost property, and guardianship issues.

These concerns are investigated and resolved by a small Long Term Care Ombudsman staff and over 150 trained and certified volunteer ombudsmen assigned to facilities throughout the state who become the resident’s advocates and their “eyes and ears”.

But I said “most of Oregon” because currently there are no trained volunteers in Wasco, Hood River and Sherman Counties. Two volunteers have just stepped forward in Hood River County and Gretchen Jordan, the state coordinator of volunteers for the program, is looking for several more. This is important and serious work requiring five days of training over three weeks (starting August 24th in Hood River) and a commitment of approximately 15 -16 hours a month.

If you have the passion and the commitment to protecting the rights of older adults who live in long term care facilities and would like to become a Long Term Care Ombudsman, call Gretchen at 1-800-522-2602 or email her at And you can always call the Center.

To celebrate these dog days of summer, Meals-on-Wheels’ is having a special Swim Suit contest – with prizes - at their monthly birthday dinner on Tuesday August 17th. But before you get too excited or too fraught with terror (wearing a Speedo doesn’t quite make the same impression as it did 40 years ago. Ask my wife!) the swim suit contest is only for plastic dolls. Here is a chance to imagine yourself as a Jantzen swim suit designer and create your own one-of-a-kind bathing suit for your favorite doll. But if you want to try something a little tamer, there will also be Hawaiian shirt and best Beach Hat contests. All brought to you by the wild and crazy folks at Meals-in-Wheals (sounds like a Betty Harlan idea to me). Join the fun on Tuesday August 17th starting at noon at the Center.

The Senior Center Quilters are looking for a few extra fingers that are itching to stitch. Because several regular quilters no longer can continue because of family obligations, they are now down to four active members and they need to restock the cupboards. They usually stitch two quilts a year to raffle for the Center (you can see their latest work hanging in the Center’s lobby) and they also do custom repairs and quilting jobs for hire. They meet every Monday from 10:00 – 3:00 in the Center’s basemen. For more information you can call Linda Heath at 541-296-6415. As it has been said, “A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars.”

I hear country sounds “coming around the mountain when she comes” because next Tuesday August 17th the Strawberry Mountain Band will be cranking it out for your dancing and listening pleasure. And tonight you can enjoy the sweet sounds of that tantalizing trio - the Notecrackers. The carpet is rolled up at 7:00 so you can “show your stuff”. It is all free although donations are appreciated. And everybody’s welcome.

Last week’s answer was “I Spy” starring Robert Culp and Bill Crosby. And the randomly selected winner of a free breakfast was Terry Emmons. (Sorry Ron - maybe next time!) But this week I want to tack in a different direction for this week’s “Remember When” question. Before there was “Desperate Housewives” there was a novel written in 1956 that was on the New York Times best seller list for 59 weeks. It followed the lives of three women in a small New England village and became a popular expression describing a place where the residents hold seamy sordid secrets. Email, call 541-296-4788 or leave the answer on my desk - engraved on the back of a new iPhone4.

Well it is time to lie down and watch the clouds whisper by as they dance the slow dances. Until we meet again, remember to “always ride a horse in the direction it is going.”

Aging Well August 2nd

These are difficult times. As we gradually pull out of the worst economic meltdown since the great depression, many folks are still struggling. And even though older adults are covered by Social Security and Medicare, for many this publicly supported safety net is not enough as the costly demands of aging increase.

In the past Oregon has been a leader in offering supports for the elderly allowing them to remain independent longer - providing nursing home care (though necessary in many cases) as the last resort instead of the first as was the case in many other states. But the system has over the years unraveled due to budget restrictions. And with the “Great Recession” has come even further reductions and uncertainty. The LIfeSpan Respite program which operated out of the Community Action Program (CAP) and provided relief for families who are caring for someone with special needs such as a disability or a chronic or terminal illness closed on July 1st. But fortunately, although temporarily, Oregon Project Independence (OPI) - a small but valuable program, providing some 2,000 Oregon seniors with housekeeping, shopping and other assistance needed to keep them out of nursing homes and living independently was given a six month reprieve by the Legislature’s Emergency Board.

These are difficult times. And State Representative Bill Garrard from Klamath Falls described the situation the best by comparing it to a shipwreck "We're throwing survivors a life preserver but leaving them in the water.” Until the economy picks up, or we find different structures for delivering necessary services, or the federal government sends a tugboat to the rescue, this may be the best we can afford.

The challenge is we’re also living in different times. The frail and elderly are living longer in a continuing complex society with less support from the tattered safety net of distant family or neighbors who live next door but we don’t know. As government steps back, we as a community will need to step forward - again: more volunteers to help deliver meals, to help folks manage their money or understand the complexity of Medicare and the Health insurance system, or just to visit and chat. We have done it before, we are doing it now and we will need to do it more in the future to help those who are struggling and in need. As the “Happy Warrior” Hubert Humphrey once said “A society will be judged on how it treats those in the dawn of life, those in the twilight of life, and those in the shadow of life”. I you are interested in volunteering you can call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 or the Center at 541-296-4788.

Tuesday Night Music at the Center offers a variety of music from Country to bluegrass; from a bit of “adult contemporary” to the big band sounds with a touch of jazz. But the common denominator every Tuesday night is good music you can dance to. And to make the point, next Tuesday on the 10th the Notecrackers will be performing their classic sweet sounds while tonight Truman will be playing his Country Gold. It is all good. And it all starts at 7:00 PM. The admittance is just a pair of shoes and a little bit of rhythm, although donations are appreciated.

Of the ten entries this last week, Diana Weston was the winner of a free Saturday breakfast by remembering the TV series “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” But several folks had their eyes wide open - including Herm Neuberger who was the first to catch my error – and saw I had mistakenly identified Robert Wagner as the actor playing Napolean Solo instead of Robert Vaughn.

But last week’s “Remember When” question brought to mind another Robert. Under the category of TV secret agents - for one last week - in what ground breaking TV series did Robert Culp and Bill Cosby star as Pentagon secret agents - chasing villains, spies, and beautiful women? Email or call 541-296-4788 or write the answer on the back of a “42” LED flat screen TV and leave it in the dining room at the Center.

Well, it is time to shoot the breeze and see what falls from the sky. Until we meet again, another piece of advice from the Cowboy from Condon, “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.”


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