Senior Living June 28th

Lets’ face it - we aren't getting any younger (or better looking - although I have noticed I find grey much more attractive these days!) And at some point in our lives, we will likely have difficulty caring for ourselves. It may be foreseen or unexpected; short term or unending, because life happens and not always the way we wish.

But do we plan or even discuss how to deal with these possibilities? Rarely. Maybe we think if we ignore the possibility it won’t happen - like believing if you don’t buy snow tires, it won’t snow. But no matter our current health or living situation, we should plan ahead to make sure our wishes are known and to avoid the problems and confusion that may occur when something does happen.

During the June 18th workshop “The Talk” held at the Center presented with the help of Heart of Hospice, Rev. Kathleen Flynn referenced a planning guide for families called “Prepare to Care” produced and distributed by the AARP Foundation. (Copies are available at the Center or you can find the guide at the AARP Foundation website.)

Since “Prepare to Care” offers too much useful information to share in this one column, I would encourage you to read the Planning guide. But here are several points I found particularly helpful.

First, don’t try to avoid these difficult conversations by making decisions unilaterally. If you are the adult child, you should never make a plan affecting your parent without their knowledge and consent - both to protect your parent and also to protect you - the caregiver - from allegations of abuse and fraud.

Secondly, it is never too early to start the conversation. Ideally this conversation should take place over a period of time before there is an immediate need - to nurture trusting relationships and to create a plan agreeable to all.

Lastly, use the following ground rules to help navigate these or any difficult conversations.

1. Don’t start with preconceived ideas. You can’t assume what your loved ones will think or how they will respond. 2. Enter into the conversation with the idea of listening instead of telling. No one wants to be told what to do. 3. Be direct with the facts of the situation. Don’t hide or sugar coat them but also don’t embellish them to fit your point of view. 5. Ask questions so that your loved one can draw their own conclusions and make their own decisions. 6. Allow for anger and upset feelings. But respond calmly and with respect. 7. Don’t push for a decision. You can always come back to the conversation which also allows everyone time to think about it. 8. Make sure everyone participates in the planning. You may need to coax a response out of the more reserved members of the family.
9. End the conversation on a positive note. Do something fun together - reminding everyone you are all family with common experiences and close relationships.

When the future may not seem as appealing as when you were twenty one, discussing and planning may be difficult, but even more necessary. Start the conversation, sooner than later, and with respect and understanding, so you will be prepared when life does happen.

Tuesday Night music at the Center on July 5th will feature Andre and the Strawberry Mountain Band. And tonight the Jazz Generations will play a variety of Big Band sounds for your listening and dancing pleasure. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is invited and donations are alwys appreciated.

The “Pueblo” commanded by Lloyd M. Bucher was the intelligence gathering ship captured by North Korea on January 23rd 1968 and which is still officially commissioned in the US Navy.(And the winner of a Cowboy Breakfast on July 16th is “runnin and gunnin” Bob Thouvenal.) And now back to the regular broadcast. NBC’s nightly news program that aired from October 29, 1956 through July 31, 1970 was the top news program in the 1960’s. Who were the two news anchors and for bonus points from what city did each report? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of the March 12, 1961 cover of Newsweek which described them as “One is Solemn, the Other Twinkly”.

Well it’s been another week trying to sleep while the evening skies are still lit. Until we meet again, it’s hard to drive down the freeway of life when always looking in the rear view mirror.

“Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer, but wish we didn’t.” Erica Jong

Aging Well June 21st

Walking is one of the best and simplest forms of exercise, (just put on your sweats and walking shoes and out the door you go - or just for the fun of it wear only your walking shoes and see what kind of excitement you can stir up in the neighborhood!). But if you are one who finds it easier to achieve your fitness goals with the support of a group, you may be interested in joining the Riverfront Walking Club. Organized by Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreations for fun and fitness, the walking club meets every Tuesday and Thursday mornings starting at 8:00 AM. (And starting in July for the early risers in the audience, Anya has added a 6:30 AM starting time.) The routes vary each week: first week of the month starts at Suefert Park near DMV; second week at Riverfront Park /Marina; third week at Klindt’s Cove; the fourth week at the Discovery Center. And if there is a fifth week everyone meets at Sorosis Park. (But you may want to call Parks and Recreation at 541-296-9533 to make sure I’m not feeding you the wrong story.)

Parks and Recreation offers many other opportunities to get you ‘shakin’ and bakin’ this summer. They provide information about Geocaching - a popular high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world with many treasures called geocaches hidden here in The Dalles. And they can also lend you free GPS units which you can pick up at their offices at 414 Washington Street. There is swimming for all the amphibious types at the Ted Walker Memorial Pool with several times available on weekdays for lap swimming: 5:30 – 6:30 AM, noon – 1:00 (which is much more reasonable hour!) and 6:00 – 7:00 in the evening. If you are over 65, you can buy a Lap Swim Punch Card for ten visits for only $20.00. And for those of you who would rather stay dry, there is Disc Golf in the shade at Sorosis Park.

These are just some of the many activities provided by Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation to help you stay fit and active during the summer months. And I didn’t even mention, you could put on your knee pads and helmet and practice your “kickturns” at the new skateboard park!

If you’re like me, you could always use a reminder (how many times have I remembered an event the day after!) So once again and with feeling, the Center is holding its annual summer rummage sale this Thursday and Friday from 9:00 - 4:00. And on Saturday, to help move out the remaining bargains, there will be a bag sale from 9 – noon.

Tuesday night music at the Center will feature the Jazz Generations on the 28th with Hank and Ann Krum have been playing professionally to appreciative audiences for many years and trumpeter Bob Fiske who adds the “s” in Jazz Generations. And tonight Truman’s one man band will be playing country’s best. Tuesday night music is open to all ages, hair styles and boot types. The music starts at 7:00 and donations are always appreciated.

Last week’s question was about the novelty song “Beep, Beep” which told the story of a duel between a Nash Rambler and a Cadillac and concluded with the verse: “And the fellow rolled down his window/ And yelled for me to hear/“Hey Buddy, how can I get this car/ Out of second gear?” (And the winner of a Cowboy Breakfast on July 1th is Sandy Goforth.)

My daughter, Hillary, just returned from her semester studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea during which time my wife and I were desperately hoping there would not be an international incident between North and South Korea - which brings me to this week’s “Remember When” history question. Relations between the two Koreas have always been difficult, but on January 23, 1968 a US Navy intelligence gathering ship was boarded and captured by North Korea (and is still currently being held by North Korea and displayed as a museum ship). What was the name of this ship and for two bonus points who was the commanding officer? E-mail your answer to, or call 541-296-4788.

Well it has been a week of new insights and old outcomes. Until we meet again, here is some wise advice I recently heard: if you don’t want to look your age, keep smiling and don’t let the little things bother you. Or as Robert Brault would say “The most valuable lesson man has learned from his dog is to kick a few blades of grass over it and move on.”

Aging Well June 14th

It is always nice to hear from a friend you haven’t seen for a while. Several weeks ago I received a nice letter from Marilyn Erickson. She is doing fine “married to her walker” but her daughter tells her she is looking better every day. Marilyn provided critical leadership for the Center and was the regular writer of this column for many years - sharing the important work of the Center while adding her own personal touch. Because she is living and staying busy in Hood River, we don’t see her much anymore, but knowing the importance of the Center, she included her membership dues for this year - although she admits a little late.

But it is never too late! The Center is in the final push of its 2011 Membership Drive. The dues are only $35 per person or $60 per couple and you can be of any age although you have to be over 50 to vote at the July membership meeting. So as the Romans use to shout “Carpe Stylo” or “Seize the Pen” and write that check today!

Along with her check, Marilyn sent several “smiles” including this one which Marilyn said really did happen - which are always the best stories. On a warm June day, in the dining room of an assisted living facility, Marilyn’s friend was seated next to a person she really didn’t know very well. As another resident walked by the friend said to her new tablemate, “The paper says it may reach 90 degrees today.” Her companion replied, “Oh, she doesn’t look that old.”

It is time again for the Center’s Third Saturday Breakfast. This month’s menu includes Hot Cakes, Bacon, Country Scrambled Eggs, and Fruit plus the regular beverages. The cost is only $5.00 for the general public, $4.00 for Center members, and for anyone ten and under (and I’m not talking about your maturity level!) it is only $3.00. Everyone is welcome and as Jack always said,” Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it!”

The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture Series at the Center will continue through the month of June with slide show presentations from the “Mastery of Aging Well” series produced by OSU extension. The next two presentations will be “Medicine Jeopardy” on June 21st and “Physical Activity and Exercise in Later Life” on June 28th. During July and August the lecture series will take its usual summer break returning in September for the fourth year of Tuesday Lectures “for the curious mind”.

The Center’s Summer Rummage Sale has been rescheduled for Thursday June 23rd through Saturday the 25th (I won’t go into the details but you can guess the change had something to do with my organizational skills.) But it does give you one more week to clear out all of your unused items from around the house. Use the “two year rule” and anything you haven’t used, touched, seen or smelled in the last two years needs to go – now! Give the Center a call or just leave your unused items outside the Center’s basement door.

And the very last reminder for “The Talk - Engaging in Compassionate Conversations between Adult Children and their Parents” - a two hour workshop at the Center this coming Saturday starting at 10:00. The workshop will be led by Rev. Kathleen Flynn with an introduction by Lucille Torgerson.

Tuesday Night music on June 21st will feature Truman who has been entertaining folks with his “Country Gold” since the Shamrock was the hot spot. And tonight “Martin and Friends” will keep you dancing until the sun sets. It’s all fun and everyone is invited. And donations are always appreciated.

Several folks emailed their favorite Burma-Shave signs that dotted the roadsides of America. Marilyn Keys remembers: "T'would be more fun/ To go by air/If they could put/These signs up there". Joann Scott’s favorite was “Brother speeders/Let’s rehearse/All together/ Good morning nurse!” And from Ted Mahoney in Wamic “In this valley/Of toil and sin/Your head goes bald/But not your chin.” If you want to read all 600 Burma Shave jingles you can find them on the web at (And the winner of a free breakfast is Jean Emerson.)

This week’s “Remember When” is about
the song "Beep Beep" released in 1958 and sung by
The Playmates. It describes a duel between the drivers of what two models of American automobiles? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a map of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Well it’s been another week - looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow. Until we meet again, remember the advice of Mark Twain “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.”

“I've been looking over the list of spring chores I made up last fall, and darned if they aren't fall chores, after all.” Robert Brault

Aging Well June 7th

Now that summer has unofficially started, the Center is shifting into its summer gear – while beginning to plan for next fall’s array of classes. Tai Chi and Strong Women will be taking a summer break and although the Tuesday lecture series has ended until September, the 11:00 Tuesday time slot will be used for special presentations during the summer. But the Center’s other regularly scheduled classes will continue to keep you busy during “those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” including Monday’s Lunch with Ted, Brain Fitness, Tuesday Night music, Seniorcise, Chair Yoga, Tap and Clogging, Computer Lab, Pinochle, AARP Driver Safety, Monday Night Wii Bowling as well as Thursday and Saturday Night Bingo. You can call the Center for more information about these classes and activities.

But summer is also the time the Center starts planning for next fall. Are there any classes or activities you would enjoy? Craft activities? Memoirs writing group? A beginning acting class? Astronomy? The Center could be the place where you and others with similar interests could meet and share your enthusiasm - just for the fun of it - without the pressure of worrying about how good you are or whether you can make every session. (Life happens and sometimes there is the unexpected doctor’s appointment, you aren’t feeling well or most importantly the grandkids are visiting.) If you have a particular interest or an idea for a class or activity you would like to see offered at the Center, send me a short email with your suggestions or leave a message with the Center’s receptionist. I will get back to you to see what we can pull together. (The Center already has the Young-at-Heart Serenaders scheduled to return next September thanks to Phyllis Farner who has stepped forwarded to lead this group of harmonious stray cats.)

There is not a summer break for the Tuesday Night music. If there was - dancing couples would probably be taking turns two-stepping over my outstretched body. And since I value my own health, next Tuesday on the 14th, Martin and Friends will be playing what is now becoming their regular second Tuesday night engagement. And tonight Andre and the Strawberry Mountain Band will entertain the spirited audience with good dancing and listening music. The fun starts at 7:00 PM, the doors are open for everyone and donations are always appreciated.

Two quick reminders. “The Talk – How to engage in compassionate conversations between adult children and their parents” will be on Saturday, October 18th from 10:00 - 12:00 at the Center. Rev. Kathleen Flynn will be the presenter and will provide valuable suggestions about how to communicate in a positive and respectful way during - what are many times - very difficult conversations. Because of the importance of this workshop, there is no charge.

The Center’s annual summer rummage sale will be on Thursday (16th) and Friday (17th) from 9:00 - 4:00 concluding with a bag sale on Saturday (18th) from 9:00 - 12:00. And for those who are more interested in “getting rid” than “collecting” stuff, we are accepting donations of items that still have some use. You can leave your donation at the back basement door of the center or at the front desk. And for the benefit of Uncle Sam, the Center can provide you with a form acknowledging your donation.

Ralph Kramden’s best friend and fellow member of the Raccoon Lodge in the 1955-56 TV comedy series was New York City sewer worker Ed Norton played by Art Carney. (And the randomly drawn winner - from nine entries - for a free June 18th Saturday Breakfast is Joann Scott.) This week’s “Remember When” question is from the category - highway literature. From 1925 until 1963 these series of signs were popular along America’s expanding road way system and usually consisted of six consecutive small signs creating a short catchy verse advertising a particular product. One example was “Listen Birds/ These signs cost money/ So sit a spell/ But don’t get funny”. What was the name of the product advertised in these roadside billboards? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or leave it inside a case of Vintage Gillette Safety Shaving Razors.

Well it has been another week when Mother Nature finally offered hints of the summer to come. Until we meet again, remember as we are trying to stay cool, it was only four months ago we were complaining it was too cold.

I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain. ~Jane Wagner

Aging Well May 31st

Because of the Memorial Day weekend, I am writing this column early. So I am going to keep it short and sweet - sharing a few “going-ons” interspersed with some one-liners just to keep it interesting. .

The Friendly Visitor program, operated by our local Area Agency on Aging (AAA), provides social visits to isolated or home bound seniors. The program is currently looking for twenty to thirty empathetic volunteers who are interested in spending time with isolated seniors - sharing stories, playing cards and just being a comforting presence. If this appeals to you, call the AAA at 541-298-4101. And if you know someone in need of companionship ask them to call the AAA, or you can refer them to the AAA who will contact them to see if they would be interested in a friendly visit. Maybe you can help provide that welcome “hello” that most of us take for granted.

“I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”

Isn’t it frustrating! Your children never call anymore - all they want to do is email. Even worse, some of your best friends have traded in their pen for the keyboard. And because you don’t have a computer and don’t want one (even though your kids are going gaga wanting to buy you one) you feel like an outdated model T Ford. If you are in this situation, the Center will help you get online, set up an email account and send and receive emails. And then once you learn to email, any afternoon at the Center, you will be able to confidentially check your emails with friendly help nearby to quickly answer all of your questions. I won’t say it will always be easy but I know it is possible. Call the Center for an appointment, so we can get you connected and finally get your pesky kids off your back!

“Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”

I was beginning to panic, but we sold all the tickets for Riverdance. Unfortunately several folks procrastinated and missed out. But we still have two more performances scheduled this August and you might want to purchase your tickets now to make sure you don’t incur a similar fate. The Center has Sunday matinee tickets for Les Miserables on Sunday August 7th and Momma Mia on August 28th. Once again the tickets are only $70 including transportation but there are also four tickets available for $40 apiece if you want to drive into Portland on your own.

“We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.”

Now that Memorial Day has passed and summer has unofficially begun, you can dance into the swing of summer with the sounds of the Sugar Daddies tonight at the Center. And next Tuesday on June 7th the Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing for your enjoyment. The music starts at 7:00 and donations are always appreciated.

“The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

Many folks remembered the song “Does Your Chewing Gun Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Over Night” but Mary Davis (proud member of the class of ’63) was the only one who sent in the correct answer: Lonnie Donegan, the British King of Skiffle. And check out the videos of Donegan from the 50’s and 60’s on YouTube and you can see why he was the most successful British musician before the Beatles.

Now that it is warming up, I’ve started wearing a vest and t-shirt which brings me to this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the name of the television character, played by Art Carney, who was Ralph Kramden’s best friend? And for bonus points what was the name of the lodge they both belonged to. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a map of the New York City sewer system.

Well, it has been another week watching the water rise. Until we meet again, there are times to live loud and times to be still. The hard part is knowing when.

“Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves and then we have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.” Snoopy


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