Aging Well February 22nd

Do you ever have an idea, a thought - nothing earth shattering - something you want to share but you just can’t find the words. Well, that often happens to me when a good idea - at least I think it is – just hasn’t had time to jell, to solidify into something worth reading. And in the background I can hear the sound of the second hand getting closer and closer, ticking louder and louder. But that is life. Sometimes it comes easy, and other times it is like pulling weeds - those really tough ones with the long roots. So until the kitchen timer buzzes, here are a few “happenings” at the Center and in the community.

You probably have an understanding of how the Federal government works - or doesn’t depending upon your perspective. Or even state government. But what do you know about county government? Did you know that because everyone in Oregon lives in a county, counties are often used as the local means of providing state and federal services? And did you know that Wasco County government in its efforts to be more transparent has posted on their website, the agenda and board packets for each Board of Commissioner’s meeting? And a list of all land use actions being prepared by the county planning department? Well, if you are like most folks, including myself, probably not. You can learn more about Wasco County government and how to access county information, on Tuesday March 1st at 11:00 when Rod Runyon and possibly other members of the Wasco County Board of Commissioners will be speaking at the Center. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the closest and most accessible level of government.

Folks will be swinging and jiving tonight to the sweet sounds of the Jazz Generations. And for next Tuesday night, the Strawberry Mountain Band will get your mojo going. It all starts at 7:00 when couples starts swaying to the music like a gentle earthquake rolling through the hills. And it is all good. Shirts and shoes are required but the cover charge is optional, although donations are always appreciated.

You may have read the cover story in the Sunday Chronicle about the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) - a fantastic literacy program that provides opportunities for children to read one-on-one with an adult volunteer. It is one of those community driven programs that can have a tremendous effect on children by instilling the love of reading. And you can help support this program while enjoying a fine afternoon by attending “A Taste for Literacy” at the Sunshine Mill from 2:00 – 5:00 PM on Sunday February 27th There will be wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres (those fancy finger foods with too many vowels), wine, and live music. Tickets are $20.00 available at Klindt’s Booksellers or at the door.

The answer to last week’s question was Paladin - the sophisticated gunslinger for hire from San Francisco and lead character in the TV series “Have Gun - Will Travel”. There were fourteen correct answers including Don McAllister the winner of a free breakfast and who mentioned that Paladin means "champion of a cause". In addition, I had the misfortune of hearing two unnamed Paladin aficionados - on separate occasions, so I had to endure it twice - break out into spontaneous vocal renditions of the title song “The Ballad of Paladin”. It wasn’t pretty.

This week’s “Remember When” question is about another TV western. You may remember the announcer uttering those memorable words on Saturday morning "Out of the blue of the Western sky comes . . . Sky King!" the opening for the popular TV series from the 50’s about the adventures of Arizona rancher and pilot Sky King. But do you remember the name of Sky Kings’ trusted niece? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on a note left on the front seat of a a twin-engine Cessna 310B. You can just leave it in the Centers parking lot - I’ll pick it up in the morning.

Well another week has passed of ducking and dodging - which isn’t getting any easier. Until we meet again, to borrow from the words of Oscar Wilde, even though there may be times when you feel you are lying in the gutter, keep looking up at the stars.

There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed for example that we all get the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in the winter. ~Bat Masterson

Aging Well February 15th

Whether it is talking, conversing, dialoguing or schmoozing, expressing yourself clearly so you are understood can be a real challenge. As George Bernard Shaw once said “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”.

But effective communication is essential for family, caregivers, and spouses to avoid conflicts and help improve and maintain healthy relationships as we age. The following are some helpful tips – condensed for this column - from Working Caregiver. You can find more details at their website

1. Breathe. Start with a deep breath to relax and give yourself time to pull your thoughts together.

2. Ask questions. Find out what is really going on. Don’t take anything for granted - you know what happens when you assume.

3. Really listen. Hear and understand their experiences and opinions, and listen for any fears driving their responses that they may not even realize. And don’t argue.

4. Slow down. Take your time and think before you respond. Silence can be golden.

5. Speak directly to the person. Set aside time to have one-on-one conversations. And avoid multi-tasking.

6. Speak distinctly and clearly. Many of us don’t like to admit, we have trouble understanding conversations.

7. Laugh. When appropriate, humor can help ease tense situations.

But sometimes you still can’t get it right as illustrated by this absolutely, positively true story forwarded to me by John Mabrey.

A man was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching his wife, who was looking at herself in the mirror. Since her birthday was not far off he asked what she'd like to have for her birthday. 'I'd like to be six again', she replied, still looking in the mirror.

On the morning of her birthday, he arose early, made her a nice big bowl of Lucky Charms, and then took her to Six Flags theme park. What a day! He put her on every ride in the park; the Death Slide, the Wall of Fear, the Screaming Roller Coaster, everything there was.

Five hours later they staggered out of the theme park. Her head was reeling and her stomach felt upside down. He then took her to a McDonald's where he ordered her a Happy Meal with extra fries and a chocolate shake. Then it was off to a movie, popcorn, a soda pop, and her favorite candy, M&M's. What a fabulous adventure!

Finally she wobbled home with her husband and collapsed into bed exhausted.

He leaned over his wife with a big smile and lovingly asked, 'Well dear, what was it like being six again?' Her eyes slowly opened and her expression suddenly changed. 'I meant my dress size, you stupid idiot!!!!'

The moral of the story: Even when a man is listening, he's gonna get it wrong.

It has been mentioned several times in this newspaper - and for me, another reminder never hurts - on Saturday, February 19th at 10:00 AM Home-at-Last will be offering rabies shots for only $10.00 and Tags and Microships for $20. That’s quite a bargain. And you may want to ask if they also tag young children and wondering parents.

The musical duo, The Schwartz Brothers, will be performing next Tuesday - Wait a minute! Hold the presses! I got that wrong. They won’t be performing - even though they do play a few musical instruments right fine - but will be at the Center to present the Tuesday Lecture on the 22nd at 11:00. The title of the presentation is “Boning up on the Latest in Orthopedics”. Pretty clever title, eh? So come down and welcome Bruce and John back to The Dalles and also learn a thing or two. And who knows, they may share a few tunes or Alaska fishing stories after the presentation.

The Jazz Generations are back again this month on February 22nd. And tonight the Sugar Daddies will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. The stomping and shouting starts at 7:00 and donations are always appreciated.

The stage name for Richard Penniman, who recorded seven original #1 hits before quitting to enter the ministry, is Little Richard. And the winner of a Saturday Breakfast in March is the lovely Sandy Haechral. This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to vintage TV. The hit western series “Have Gun - Will Travel” on
CBS from 1957 through 1963 followed the adventures of a gentleman gunfighter played by Richard Boone. What was the name of this fancy dressed, opera loving, gun toting, peace-making, gourmet? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a calling card engraved with a picture of a chess knight.

Well that’s another week traveling the seven seas of life. Until we meet again, listen before you speak, look before you leap and think before you act.

“If people were meant to pop out of bed, we'd all sleep in toasters”.

Aging Well February 8th

133 million Americans – almost 1 out of every 2 adults – have at least one chronic condition such as lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, hearing loss or arthritis, according to the national Center on Disease Control and Prevention. (I know someone out there is reading this column and thinking in the nefarious recesses of their mind, we all have a chronic condition. It’s called A.G.E – a persistent condition with no cure. But I digress.)

Okay, we are all getting older but chronic conditions become a national health concern when you learn 34% of Individuals in the 65-74 age group are limited in one of more daily activities because of the chronic condition. And, as we get older it becomes worse, increasing to 46% for the 75+ age group. Because the limiting effects of chronic conditions are so prevalent, Stanford University developed a six session class called “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” which is researched based and proven to help folks manage their condition while living a healthy and productive life.

This class is again being offered by the Area Agency on Aging at the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments offices at 1113 Kelly Avenue starting February 17th from 1:30 - 4:00. You can register by calling 541-298-4101 and asking for Jean Hockman.

The classes are 2 ½ hours long, once a week for six weeks and full of useful information about how to self-manage your condition. You will learn how to exercise and stretch – while enjoying it, how to communicate with your doctors, how to eat healthy, plus over two hundred helpful hints on how to adapt your lifestyle regarding grooming, bathing, waking up, doing household chores and getting around.

And all taught by trained leaders who have been there. It is free, fun and interactive. Healthy snacks and drinks will be provided (although I doubt they will be offering a healthy glass of wine). But if it sounds good but you just aren’t sure, here is the clincher. If you complete the class, you will receive a $25 grocery gift certificate - and now you can buy that glass of wine.

The topic for the Center’s next Tuesday lecture will be StRUT or Students Recycling Used Technology. Several weeks ago I dropped off some old computers at the StRUT facility to be recycled and the program manager, Marty Willie, was kind enough to give me a tour of his operation. I was impressed with his passion and vision for the recycling program and learned that StRUT was more than recycling but also included environmental awareness and computer repair instruction. On Tuesday the 15th starting at 11:00, Marty will explain more about this award winning, state wide program located right here in The Dalles area.

On Tuesday the 16th, The Sugar Daddies featuring Mark Womble on keyboards and vocals will be playing your favorites plus original compositions of modern western swing from their CD “Boys will be Boys” .And tonight to get your feet moving, The Cherry Park Band will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. There is no charge - we want everyone to enjoy the music no matter their financial situation. But we appreciate the many generous donations received every Tuesday night. The music sings from 7:00 - 9:00 and everyone and their little sister is invited.

As Joanne Scott pointed out, there are actually three NFL teams that have lost four Super Bowl games but the Denver Broncos did manage to redeem themselves by winning Super Bowls in ‘97 and ‘98. But it is the Minnesota Vikings from Bob Haechral’s home state that has the dubious honor of losing four Super Bowl games without winning one. And Bob, there is always next year.

But back to pop music for this week’s “Remember When” question. Between 1955 and 1957 the singer, song writer Richard Penniman with his outrageous performances and his frantic keyboard style recorded seven original #1 hits on the R&B charts before he quit performing to enter the ministry. What was this performer’s stage name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a 45 of one of those hits which started with “A wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bop-bop!

Well that’s another week without burning the toast. Until we meet again, don’t see what isn’t there, don’t speak what isn’t true and don’t believe what isn’t good.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy. Author Unknown

Aging Well February 1st

After having been around the block for a few decades, I can’t help seeing different trends and styles disappear, then circle back and become popular again. Look at clothing. In recent years, several styles have found a second life: madras pants, bell bottoms, peddle-pushers and mini-skirts (with all the styles you see today covering just the bare necessities, mini-skirts just don’t illicit the same response as they did in the 60’s). Of course not everything is recycled. I never thought of wearing pajamas outside the house or wearing flip-flops during winter. But I guess each generation has to stretch the boundaries in their own way.

But what about the language of our youth - those words that identified us as being “cool” or ‘hip” in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Do they have a second life? Could we start a national tidal wave resurrecting a few linguistic antiques from the past? Just imagine hearing comments like “Hey, big daddy that cane is “far out”. Or “Man there’s nothing cookin’ around here. Let’s split this nursing home and find some pad where we can crash.” Or, “Hey, baby, if I can find the car keys do you want to go with me to see the submarine races?

So what do you want to bring back to the world stage of slang? Grody? Fuddy –duddy? Or how about ginned-up (which means dressed –up for those who might have had a different idea.) We could bring coolness back to today’s generation and it could all start here. And wouldn’t that be groovy!

The Next Chapter lecture for Tuesday February 8th will be Stephen Jupe - principal of The Dalles Wahtonka High School. He will explain two new initiatives they have started at the High School: Credit Proficiency and S.P.I.R.I.T. And if you have been afraid to enter the halls of “teen spirit”, but still want to know what is happening at the high school, this is your chance.

At the Center, on Tuesday the 8th, The Cherry Park band will be plucking and grinning – just like Buck Owens and Roy Clark - till the lights go out. And if you like to dance (and want to skip a night of Bingo) high step it over to the Cherry Park Grange on the first and third Saturday nights starting a 7:00 PM. Tonight the Strawberry Band will offer up their country sounds for your dancing and listening pleasure. So come on in from the cold - everybody is welcome. And Betty and Janice want me to remind you that donations are appreciated - to keep the floors clean, the lights on and the music humming.

Two weeks ago I crowed that I had the times correct for the AARP Tax Aide program - which is unusual for me. But it appears that Ronelle Currie, the program’s volunteer coordinator, must have heard and just had to prove me wrong and changed the Friday sessions to start at 2:00 - an hour earlier than usual. But I am a big boy and I can handle it. And it does give the volunteers another hour to help more folks. So I am almost, absolutely, positively sure that the hours for the AARP Tax Aide, in the basement of the Center, are from 2:00 - 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 - 1:00 on Saturdays starting this Friday the 4th..

Several folks remembered Gene Krupa as the drummer for the Benny Goodman Band and if you go to the Center’s website at you will find a short video of the Benny Goodman Band with Harry James and Gene Krupa performing “Sing, Sing, Sing”. And the winner was Betty Serna who had seen Gene Krupa perform in Denver with the Benny Goodman band.

This week’s “Remember When” question (thanks to Bob Haechral) has to be the Super Bowl - the biggest event on America’s sports calendar. There are only two teams that have lost four - count them - four Super Bowl games without winning one. One of the teams is the Buffalo Bills but the other is the only NFL football team in the state and has brought pain and despair to its 5.2 million residents. What is the name of this NFL football team? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of an 8x10 glossy of “The Purple People Eaters”.

Well, it’s another day pitching pennies. Until we meet again, be cool, hang loose and don’t be a drag.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.Andre Gide quotes - French writer,


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