Living Well December 20th

I remember this time of the year as a special time with young children playing around the house, excited and full of anticipation waiting for Santa’s arrival. But since my own kids have grown, left their safe harbor for college and careers beyond, it just isn’t the same. No longer is there time for the whole family to search for that perfect Christmas tree, judging and debating which tree would look best in the living room corner – and afterwards spending the evening decorating it with our children’s handmade ornaments saved from elementary school Christmas projects.
Seldom do we drive around town after the Christmas Eve church service to “ohhh” and “ahhh’ at the houses illuminated with festive colors, first began when it was the only way to get the little ones asleep on the “night before”. And no longer do we frantically wrap the presents after the children fell asleep so they could magically appear under the Christmas tree - just as Santa would had left them. Now it is gift cards and frantic after Christmas shopping - looking for those special bargains on items too expensive or frivolous to purchase during the rest of the year.

But it is not all lost traditions. There are new ones. Now every Christmas day the family Skype’s with sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles living back east - while still learning the social protocols of visiting long distance in this strange and curious way. Then afterwards we help serve dinner with friends at Community Meals which always reminds us of the special meaning of Christmas.

And whether traditions are lost or gained, my wife and I can be thankful our kids will again be home for Christmas, because we know some day they will be far away creating Christmas traditions with their own families. And we will be left with memories, although faded and torn around the edges, of the wonder and joy of many Christmas pasts. Then one day - maybe, just maybe – it will all return with the sound of little feet once again running around the house as the grandkids come to visit their grandpa and grandma during this special time of the year.

The Hardshell Harmony will be playing their entertaining brand of bluegrass next Tuesday the 27th for those who are looking for something to do between Christmas and New Years. And tonight if you have all your Christmas shopping completed, wrapped and shipped, Truman will be playing his country favorites.  The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and you can skedaddle home by 9:00. Everyone is invited and donations are always appreciated.

During the week after Christmas most of the activities at the Center are cancelled, leaving time to catch up on some painting, cleaning and basic maintenance (and for one of Santa’s elves - or maybe a whole crew - to clean out my office before someone gets hurt.) More specifically, there will not be Bingo this Thursday night the 22nd or on Christmas Eve. Also Meals-on- Wheels will not be serving lunch this coming Friday before Christmas, but will be serving on the Monday after Christmas. The Center will be open both days. And on Monday, January 2nd, both Meals-on-Wheels and the Center will be closed to watch the Rose Bowl and root for the home team! (But no predictions this year - my cockiness has not done me well in the past!)

George Gipp, who is purported to have said “Win one for the gipper”, played for the University of Notre Dame and was portrayed by Ronald Reagan in the movie “Knute Rockne, All American”. (From the ten correct responses, Jess BIrge was the winner of five quilt raffle tickets)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, how about a Christmas quote and a chance to win a $10 bingo packet for Saturday Night Bingo. What was the name of the 1954 movie where two army buddies try to save the lodge run and owned by their WWII commanding officer? (In the movie Phil Davis says to Bob Wallace “When what's left of you gets around to what's left to be gotten, what's left to be gotten won't be worth getting, whatever it is you've got left.” and Bob replies “When I figure out what that means I'll come up with a crushing reply.”) Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or bring it to the Center with a box of phonograph record of songs written by Irving Berlin”.

Well, it’s been another week counting my many blessings. Until we meet again, may all of you have a very merry Christmas.

Aging Well December 13th

Often I am asked, “Is it hard to come up with something new each week?”  And I answer “Heck yes!” (or something close to that.) And it ain’t getting any easier!” Since I started writing this column, I have a greater empathy for preachers who have to write a sermon every week that both inspires and keeps the congregation awake. (I wonder if anyone uses this column as an antidote for insomnia.) But my point is - help! If you have any ideas, I have my baseball glove ready to catch anything you throw my way. And I will take no offense, because as my parents told my wife before we were married “He can use all the help he can get.”

During this season of hope and peace on earth, Tracy and Mark Linebarger, and their many volunteers are once again serving a free Community Christmas Eve Dinner from 3 - 6 PM at St, Mary’s Academy. But unfortunately, as you may have heard, someone is going door to door, asking elderly and shut-ins if they would like a home delivered meal on Christmas Eve and then asking for donations.
But Tracy would like everyone to know – that is not the way it works. The only way to request a home delivered meal (or if you have any questions) is to call Tracy at 541-296-3067. And donations to the Christmas Eve Dinner can be made at Columbia State Bank - not by door to door solicitations.
But this is an unfortunate reminder that during any time of the year – winter, spring, summer or fall, it is good advice to never subscribe, donate or “sign on the dotted line” from anyone who is going door-to-door. You don’t need to be a victim of another unscrupulous rip-off.
You may have missed the Cascade Singers but there are several more musical delights you can savor this coming weekend. Two are scheduled at St. Peter’s Landmark including the annual Community Concert of Handel’s Messiah starting at 7:00 PM on Saturday. Then the next day, Sunday the 18th starting at 7:00 PM, the musical group Barley Draught will create an evening of “unabashed holiday sentimentality” with old-fashioned Irish ballads, Christmas carols, fiddle tunes and stories. For both events, admission is by donation and all proceeds go to the Landmark Preservation Fund. And also on Sunday, but earlier in the afternoon at 2:00 PM, the Gorge Winds Concert Band offers their own brand of holiday cheer with their 11th Annual Christmas Concert at the Civic Auditorium. This is also a donation affair.

It is time for the Center’s annual Christmas Breakfast this coming Saturday. Once again the breakfast is sponsored by Mill Creek Point who have lined up “Harmony of the Gorge” to provide the musical entertainment and of course Santa and his mischievous little helper: Linda. The menu will be flapjacks with fruit topping, scrambled eggs, ham, fruit and your favorite beverage all for only $5.00. Serving starts at 8:00 and will end a little later at 10:00.
Because of the success of the last holiday bake sale, Meals-on-Wheels is hosting one more delicious goody sale Thursday the 15th - before, during and after lunch. Every dollar from the bake sale helps support the important work of Meals-on-Wheels. And yes they still could use more drivers.

If you haven’t heard the Strawberry Mountain Band you are missing a barn-raising good time. And tonight is your chance starting at 7:00 PM. Then next week you can dance to the smooth sounds of Truman and his Country Gold. Donations are appreciated and everyone is welcome.

The book written in 1923 by the Lebanese American artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gabran was “The Prophet”. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Mary Davis - class of ’63.) But switching from the sacred to the worldly world of football, the college football season will soon be concluding with a crescendo of bowl games. And in football lore it is often heard “Win one for the Gipper.” What school did the Gipper play for and who played him in the movie that made the quote famous? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop it by the Center with an original picture of college football’s “Four Horsemen”.

Well, it’s been another week looking for one of those three hundred days of sunny skies the chamber of commerce promised. Until we meet again, keep riding herd on life’s little pleasures.

Generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do, but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.” Khalil Gibran

Living Well December 6th 2011

This month the Center is kicking off its 2012 Membership Campaign. And I am inviting all of you who have never been a member to cross the threshold and join. And this time I don’t want to hear you have an aversion to getting older (I hate to spill the beans, but you are!), or are too busy to add one more activity (join the crowd!) or are just a long time procrastinator. Whether you use the Center once a month, twice a week or every day - or if you just read this column, become a member and join an extended family of three hundred engaging, inspiring and adventuress souls (sometimes it is just an adventure getting out of bed). Membership is $35 for an individual or $60 per couple. And for the very first time, we are offering you the opportunity to become a Super-Duper member for $50 or $90 per couple. But you ask, “What special benefits do Super-Duper members receive?” Well, all I can say is the Super-Duper benefits are so Super-Duper secret we cannot even tell the Super-Duper members what they are! You will have to wait and see. Thanks to Patti Blagg for being the first Super-Duper member.

I just received this notice from Joyce Powell Morin about a local group for Women Widows of Veterans. All interested women are encouraged to attend an initial Veteran's Widow Support Group meeting on Tuesday, December 13th at 11am at the Veterans Service Office at 201 Federal Street in The Dalles. Several of the topics that will be discussed include Your Entitled Benefits, Grief Support and Moving Forward after a Loss. If you have any questions, please call support group facilitators and members of "Keep the Home Fires Burning," Barbara Thomas (541-467-2651) or Joyce Powell Morin (541-296-7266.)

You have only until December 17th to buy that winning raffle ticket for the beautiful hand stitched quilt hanging in the Center’s lobby. You can buy ten chances for $5.00 or one for a dollar. And think of it this way. Instead of buying your friends a fruit cake, buy them a raffle ticket. There is a greater chance they will win the quilt than anyone of them eating the fruit cake. You can purchase raffle tickets at the Center’s front desk or at the December 17th Saturday Breakfast.

If you are interested in the ins-and-out and the reasons why of county planning, the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on December 13th will feature John Roberts, the Wasco County planning director, who will try to demystify the planning process for you. It starts at 11:00 and afterwards you can enjoy dinner prepared by the Meals-on-Wheels crew.

When it’s too tough to make a decision, what do you do? In the grand political tradition, you pass the buck! Well at least that is what we do at the Center every winter. When the snow falls or the freezing rain sticks, instead of deciding whether to open or close the Center, we rely on the good folks at School District 21. So as your annual reminder - if D-21 closes school all the activities at the Center are cancelled, and if there is a two hour delay only the morning classes are cancelled. And even if there are no activities, we will still try to have someone at the Center to answer the phone and offer assistance.

Tonight the Sugar Daddies are back at the Center playing adult contemporary hits and a few of their own originals. And next week the Strawberry Mountain Band will set a match to the dance floor playing the well known as well as the hidden gems of country. Donations are appreciated, everyone is welcome and the music starts at 7:00.

It wasn’t hard for Al Wynn or Elt Fadness (this week’s winner of five quilt raffle tickets) to remember Les Cunningham the owner and DJ of the first FM radio station in eastern Oregon - and who I am told followed the beat of his own drums. But for this week’s “Remember When” question you may need to scan your library or rummage through your attic once again. The Lebanese American artist, writer and poet Kahlil Gabran wrote in 1923 a book of twenty-six poetic essays that was popular in the 1960’s. What was the name of the book? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a bottle of Patchouli oil.

Well, it’s been another week keeping hope alive in a dense forest of cynicism. Until we meet again, keep your light on and the noise out.

Aging Well November 29th

Once again with enthusiasm - December 7th is the end of the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare! I want to mention this once again because there is the fear that since this date is three weeks earlier than usual (so any changes can take affect at the beginning of the new year), there will be many folks who will miss the chance to review and change their current Medicare plans.

So it is not too late. And if you or anyone you know has questions, there is still help available. You can go online at the Open Enrollment Center, you can schedule an appointment at the Center with a SHIBA volunteer from 1:30 - 4:00 on one of the next two Wednesdays or you can call Jean Hockman at the Area Agency on Aging (541-298-4101). And if you are the type who just can’t ask for directions even when lost, there are SHIBA and Medicare booklets available at the Center.

Now that we all have traversed the slippery slopes of Black Friday, Shop Local Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, here are three community-centric ideas for your Christmas gift list. Do you remember going upstairs at the Original Wasco County Courthouse and viewing one of their slide or tape presentations? Those presentations have now been professionally re-mastered from the original 1970’s era slide /tape presentations including The Craft of Wheelwrighting; Farewell to Celilo; Early Wasco County; To See and To Do in The Dallles and Wasco County Cherries; and Raising Wheat by Horsepower. You can purchase one for $20 or the set of five for only $80. For more information call and leave a message at 541-296-4798 or go online at

Nowadays it seems like the safest present to give is a gift card. The School District 21 Education Foundation is selling a wide assortment of gift cards from Amazon to Wendy’s and including Cabella’s and Casa El Mirador. And here is the cool part. Even though the card doesn’t cost you anymore than buying it at Fred Meyer, the foundation receives up to 15 % on the value of each card sold. If you are interested in this win-win, PK Swartz will be at the Center during lunch on Thursday taking orders. Or you can call Marion at the District offices at 541-506-3420.

And finally, the Center is starting its 2012 Membership Drive celebrating 25 years since the Center opened its doors in January of 1987. So for that newly retired someone or that loved one you just have to get out of the house, you can purchase a 2012 membership gift certificate at the front desk for only $35 per person of $60 per couple.

Tonight “For the Good Times” will be playing your favorite country hits for their first time at the Center. Then the following Tuesday the Sugar Daddies will be making one of their once-in-a-while special appearances. And you know the song - the music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated. Also on Friday night the folks from the Mid-Columbia Concerts will be presenting “A Pops Evening with Mike Strickland and Clipper Anderson” at the TDW High School on Friday, December 2nd at 7:00 PM.

At the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on December 6th, Roger Wagner will discuss the basics of financial planning. And on the following Tuesday the 13th, John Roberts, Wasco County Planning Director, will discuss the importance of the county planning department and the challenges they face.

The name of the catalog (which Steve Jobs described as the paperback version of Google in the 60’s and 70’s) published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972 was the Whole Earth Catalog. (The winner of five quilt raffle tickets was Rosalie Clarke who still has a copy somewhere - as does Don McAllister and Joann Scott) But this week’s “Remember When” question brings it back home. According to an article in The Dalles Chronicle on March 14th 1968, the Federal Communications Commission approved the first FM radio station in eastern Oregon with the transmitter atop the Klickitat Hills. Who was the owner/disc jockey of radio station KCIV which broadcast at 104.5 megacycles?” Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a mint condition 1960’s SONY TFM-6100W AM/FM transistor radio - and don’t forget the original headphones.

Well, it’s been another week asking myself “How many ways can I use leftover turkey?”. Until we meet again, after thirty five years the Whole Earth Catalog’s farewell message is still good advice: “Stay hungry, stay foolish”.

Aging Well November 22nd

Ever since we were kids in school, we have been reminded during the holiday season to be grateful for what we have. But as we get older I don’t believe a holiday is necessary because every day we experience why we are thankful. Every day we can appreciate living with a wonderful husband, because we see friends who are living alone. Or if we are living alone, we can be thankful we can drive because we know many who cannot. And if we no longer can drive, we can still be grateful for the LINK and friends who take us to the many places we need to go. Every day we see and live the ways we are blessed. And as long as I can wake up each morning – and my feet touch the floor, the hot water is running and I hear the sweet sounds of my wife asking “When are you going to take out the trash?”, I know I can be thankful for another beautiful day.

For those who have lost a loved one, the holidays can be a difficult time - bringing back special memories of special times. Next Tuesday at 11:00 on the 29th, Debby Livingston, chaplain for Heart of Hospice, will speak on the timely subject – “Grief during the Holidays”. Whether you find the holidays difficult or if you know someone who does, this presentation will be helpful.

If you missed the St. Mary’s Holiday Bazaar there is plenty more in the next several weeks including an Historic Christmas Open House from 12:00 – 4:00 PM at the Rorick House, 300 W 13th, on Saturday December 3rd; the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center’s Annual Holiday Open House from 9:00 – 5:00 with cookies and cider, Prime Rib Buffet, sale items, Christmas carols and more, and The Dalles Area Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (If you would like to reserve a sales table, or can donate soup or pies for their soup & pie lunch, or baked goods for their ever popular baked goods table, please contact the Habitat office at 296-8817.) And don’t forget the Community Thanksgiving Dinner from 12:00 – 3:00 at St. Mary’s Academy. If you need a meal delivered, you can call 541-296-6417.

If tonight you aren’t getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner or on your way out of town to visit family, you can turkey trot your way down to the dance floor and enjoy the sounds of the Strawberry Mountain Band. And since this month there is an extra Tuesday, on the 29th you can enjoy “For the Good Times”. The music starts at 7:00, anyone (including turkeys) are welcome and donations are always appreciated.

The Center’s Nu-2-U Shop will finish off this month with a half price sale. That is half-off already ridiculously low prices. And because of the many generous donations, every month there is new stuff to browse through. So stop in and see what Martha, Betty and Anita have in store for you.

Many folks remembered Frick and Frack - the two Swiss comic ice skaters who joined the original Ice Follies in 1937. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is the P51 gal - Anna Monkiewicz.) But this week’s “Remember When” question is a little more recent - only forty years ago! So for the Boomers out there “What was the name of the catalog published by Stewart Brand between 1968 and 1972, which listed where you can purchase products such as clothing, books, tools, machines, seeds but also included ideas for the counterculture lifestyle?” Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with all the materials for a geodesic dome.

And as I promised here are the remaining answers to the Brain Rattler from two weeks ago.
13.) 8 = Sides on a Stop Sign; 14) 3 = Blind Mice (See How They Run); 15.) 4 = Quarts in a Gallon; and 16.) 24 = Hours in a Day, 17). 1 = Wheel on a Unicycle; 18). 5 = Digits in a Zip Code; 19) 57 = Heinz Varieties; 20.) 11 = Players on a Football Team; 21) 1000 = W that a P is W; 22) 29 = Days in February in a Leap Year; 23) 64 = Squares on a Checkerboard; 24) 99 = Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

Well, it’s been another week searching for the right answers to the wrong questions. Until we meet again, as you gather with family you may want to remember the advice of Miss Manners “If you can’t be kind, at least be vague.”


Blog Archive