Living Well October 25th

Are you the curious type always asking “How come? “Why?” or “What was that all about?” If so, you will want to attend the 11:00 lectures every Tuesday at the Center where you will have an opportunity to question local leaders and experts on a wide variety of topics.

Starting in November there will be a three part series of lectures focused on the natural wonder we call the Columbia Gorge. The first lecture on Tuesday November 1st will feature Marc Berry and Dennis Davis: the two Wasco County members on the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee, plus Kristen Stallman from the Oregon Department of Transportation. They will discuss past successes and future plans for the Historic Columbia River Highway.

On the following Tuesday November 8th, Jim Wilcox, Mayor of The Dalles (and fashion connoisseur), will discuss plans for the largest city in the Gorge - as well as issues before the city council (anyone want to talk about water rates?)

And then concluding the series on November 15th, Roger Nichols local journalist, radio personality and man on the street will offer his unique perspective of the Columbia River Gorge Commission - as someone who reported on the commission for many years and now as the newly appointed Columbia Gorge Commission member from Wasco County.

Now a quick break for some real heart-to-heart. I am concerned that many of you just whipped by last week’s brain rattler (And for those who are memory challenged, it was “What word, when written in capital letters, is the same forward, backwards and upside down?”) But you need to slow down and take these things seriously. And since I’m a nice guy, I’ll help you through this brain rattler, but only this one. Now think of all the capital letters that look the same forward, backwards and upside down. Not many, right? And if the word is the same backwards and forwards you know the last letter is the same as the first. And here is the big clue - there are only two different letters used in the word. Does that help? And now back to our regular programming.

Every Monday (except the third Monday of the month), the Center hosts what I have been calling “Lunch with TED”. TED is a non-profit organization which invites speakers to conferences around the world to talk about “ideas worth spreading”. Over 700 of these short presentations have been posted on the Internet and each Monday during lunch we watch and discuss one. This coming Monday on the 31st we will watch a twenty minute TED talk by movie critic Roger Ebert, who shares how after losing his lower jaw to cancer, and consequently his ability to speak and eat, he found his voice with the help of family and friends.

To announce the Center’s Tuesday Night music line-up, I am going to use a code called “Turkish Irish” (and don’t ask me how they came up with that name.) See if your brain can figure out this one. Thabe Strawberry Mountain Band knabows habow tabo abentertain aband yabou wabill gabet tabo sabee thabem abin abaction Nabexabt Tabuesday Nabovember 1st. Aband tabonight yabou caban labisten tabo thabe Jazz Generations whabo wabill babe plabaying pabopular fabavorites frabom thabe 50’s, 60’s aband 70’s. Thabe mabusic stabarts abat 7:00, abeveryone abis wabelcome aband dabonations abare abalways abappreciated.

Gumby debuted on The Howdy Doody Show in 1956 with his orange sidekick pony, Pokey - which is the answer to last week’s question. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Jodi Heath.) This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to my childhood days when my family would drive from Indiana to Florida for Christmas vacation. Along the way, we would listen to this disc jockey playing country music and interviewing the top country stars late at night on the only station whose signal was strong enough to cover the whole trip. Who was this late night disc jockey for Nashville’s WSM radio station from 1957 to 1972 and went on to host his own talk show on TNN? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a recording of the Byrd’s “He is a Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man”.

Well it’s been another week trying to run when I can’t hide. Until we meet again, according to Zall’s Second Law, “How long a minute is, depends on which side of the bathroom door you're on”.

“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.” Winston Churchill

The answer to the Brain Rattler is NOON.

Aging Well October 18th

Tell me I’m not the only one, who panics when I can’t remember a person’s name until the next day. And tell me I am not the only one, who can’t imagine winning the lottery but believes a newly discovered skin rash is some deadly disease. And please, please tell me I am not the only one, who worries that all this worrying will certainly ruin my health.

What I once ignored because of a na├»ve belief in my own invincibility has been replaced by an expanding sense of vulnerability. Over the years, I have known too many who have lost the battle to the big “C”, athletes who have died of a heart attack, and active minds who were diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

But as you age how do you keep a positive perspective? Until working closely with older adults at the Center, I had no idea. I was just a beginner, an inexperienced freshman, believing life just goes on until – well, I never really wanted to look that far ahead.

But at the Center I have found remarkable people who have and still are experiencing what life is all about. I have learned from them that life means losing loved ones and knowing the sun will still rise; that life is discovering new pleasures when you no longer can do others; and that in life - days are finite, the nights are often long and there are no guarantees.

These folks are my role models - who live life with grace, dignity and large doses of humor and humility. And they have taught me to accept what I can’t control, while still influencing what I can. And no matter what life hands you - whether it is on a silver platter or on the bottom of a farmhand’s old boot - remember to always say “thank-you”.

The class “Digging up Bones - An Introduction to Genealogy” led by Edna Miller is going well. And to help you discover those rare blossoms on your family tree, Edna has invited Lorna Elliot to speak at the next class at 1:00 on October 25th. Lorna is responsible for maintaining the genealogy section at The Dalles Wasco County library and will discuss the genealogical resources available at the library.

Oregon’s SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) produces a Medicare Guide every year which is now available on line at So you can shop and compare, the Medicare Guide includes the cost, coverage and availability of all the prescription drug plans, Medigap plans and Medicare Advantage plans in Oregon. The Area Agency on Aging will receive the hardbound SHIBA Guides in November, but if you would like one now, the Center can print one for you. If you need additional help you can call the Center (541-296-4788) to schedule an appointment with a local SHIBA volunteer on Wednesday afternoons starting October 18th. Or you can call Jean Hockman for an appointment at the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

Next Tuesday October 25th the Jazz Generations will be playing big band and popular favorites from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. And tonight, Truman will be entertaining you all with his smooth interpretation of county classics. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and when you leave at 9:00 you’ll be glad you came. And donations are always appreciated.

Is it time for another quick Brain Rattler to shake things up in that cranium of yours? Yes? No? Don’t bother me, I’m trying to read? This week it is “What word, when written in capital letters, is the same forwards, backwards and upside down?

The 1959 Pulitzer Prize winning novel that explored the fictional confirmation of Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell - a former member of the
Communist Party was “Advise and Consent” written by Allan Drury. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Don McAllister.) This week’s “Remember When” question takes us back to stop motion clay animation long before the days of Will Vinton and the California Raisins. You probably remember Gumby, the green clay human like character first created in the early 50’s, but what was the name of his orange sidekick pony? Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with an original Howdy Doody marionette.

Well it’s been another week looking both ways before crossing the street. Until we meet again, keep looking to the stars but watch where you step.

“Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.” Author Unknown

Aging Well October 11th

Let’s see if you were paying attention last week. Do you remember that the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP for the Medicare junkies) runs a month earlier this year - from October 15th until December 7th? Do you remember this is your chance to change prescription or Medicare Advantage plans? And do you remember where you put your car keys?

I can’t help you find your car keys, but I can pass along the following suggestions provided by SHIBA (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) for those folks who - after reviewing what their current insurance plan is going to provide next year - decide to look at new plans. 1). Update your list of prescription drugs so you can determine if your current prescription drug plan is still the best for you. Each year insurance companies reevaluate what drugs they will cover and at what level. 2). Use the plan finder on the website It uses your prescription list to compare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage health plans in your area. If you need help, Jean Hockman from the Area Agency on Aging and her volunteers, all trained by SHIBA, can assist you on Wednesdays from 1:30 - 4:00 at the Center starting October 19th. 3). Contact your doctor, hospital, and pharmacy to make sure they will accept any new health and drug plans you are considering. 4). If you have limited income and assets, check to see if you qualify for extra help with prescription drug costs.

And it is confirmed. Donna Delikat from the state office of SHIBA will explain the “A,B,C and D’s of Medicare” this Wednesday, October 12th, starting at 1:30 in the Center’s dining room. (We want to make sure there is enough room this year.) If you want professional, unbiased information about Medicare, this is the meeting you should attend.

It was quite a night. And thanks to the approximately three hundred guests who attended the Baby Back Rib Dinner, it was a real success. Denise Patton, director of Meals-on-Wheels, and her kitchen crew cooked up some mighty-fine, finger-licking ribs, board members from both organizations kept everything moving smoothly and Hardshell Harmony provided just the right mix of live music. It almost looked like we knew what we were doing. Mark your calendar for October 5th, 2012, when we’ll be back again serving up more lip-smacking baby back ribs.

Just over the mountain, headed our way, is the Center’s Third Saturday Breakfast on October 15th sponsored by
The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center. This month’s menu includes Texas French Toast, sausage, scrambled eggs, fruit, and your choice of beverages. We start serving at 8:00 - or whenever Tom Bailey arrives - and keep serving till 9:30 for the late risers. The cost? $5.00 for the general public and $4.00 for our loyal members. And for our young friends under thirteen on their way to soccer practice, breakfast is an even $3.00.

The speaker for next Tuesday’s 11:00 lecture on the 18th will be Julie Reynolds who will explain the important work provided by the Eastern Oregon Center for Independent Living. EOCIL is a nonprofit community-based resource and advocacy center that promotes independent living and equal access for all persons with disabilities.

Tonight, Martin and Friends will be playing country western for everyone’s enjoyment. And next Tuesday on the 18th, Truman will be singing his Country Gold. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00 and it is all over too quickly at 9:00. And donations are always appreciated.

The children’s educational television show that aired form 1951 - 1965 was “Watch Mr. Wizard” with Don Herbert as Mr. Wizard. (And last week’s winner was Joann Scott. And ask her about her exploding homemade root beer!) For this week’s “Remember When” question, it’s back to literature and not your comic book type, but award winning literature - stuff I never read. What 1959 Pulitzer Prize winning novel (and best seller for the year) explored the fictional confirmation by the United States Senate of Secretary of State nominee Robert Leffingwell - a former member of the Communist Party? Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a photograph of former Wyoming Senator Lester Hunter.

Well it’s been another week looking for my git up and go that got up and went. Until we meet again, just because you know your friends are lost, doesn’t mean you know where you’re going.

“It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.”
Mark Twain

Aging Well October 4th

The mornings are darker, the days wetter and sooner or later Oregon State will win a football game. So what time is it? Howdy Dowdy time? Miller time? No, it is Medicare open enrollment time! - the time to change your health plan or drug coverage. Open enrollment begins early this year on October 15th and ends December 7th. (The new timeline is to ensure Medicare has enough time to process any changes before coverage begins on Jan. 1.) But don’t panic. You have time and there is help to guide you through the annual renewal period for your Medicare benefits.

The go-to person in this area for free, unbiased, one-on-one assistance is Jean Hockman at the Area Agency on Aging. She and her bevy of volunteers will be providing help at the Center every Wednesday from 1:30 - 4:00 during the enrollment period, but you will need to call her at 541-298-4101 to make an appointment. (Or you can call the Center at 541-296-4788.) Jean and I have also tentatively scheduled SHIBA’s (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) training on the “A,B,C and Ds of Medicare” for Wednesday October 12th starting at 1:30 in the afternoon. This training was well attended last year and covers all the basics of Medicare and is particularly helpful for the “newbies” to Medicare.

But most importantly, SHIBA suggests you make sure you keep the “Annual Notice of Change” letter from your insurance company. This letter outlines any changes to your Medicare benefits or costs in 2012 and is critical in deciding whether to change plans. And next week for folks, who are considering changing plans, I will share additional suggestions provided by SHIBA.

Since it is Medicare time, the 11:00 Tuesday lecture on the 11th will be a live Webinar (a one way seminar on the web) describing the changes in the Medicare 2012 enrollment period including what’s new and how to be savvy consumers. The webinar is sponsored by the National Council on Aging and covers what you should know about this annual enrollment period for Medicare.

Folks have been calling to find out when the Center will be offering flu shots – and now we have a date. On Thursday October 6th from 11:30 until 2:00, Marcia Medler and her associates from Visiting Health Services will be giving “guaranteed-to-be-painless” flu shots for your health and well being - conveniently at the back of the dining room. Just bring your Medicare card or otherwise the cost is $20.

Your last reminder. Don’t forget to bring a friend to the Baby Back Rib Dinner - a fundraiser for both Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center - this Friday from 5:00- 7:30 at the Center. It is only $12 for adults and $5 for children. We’ll be waiting for you!

On Wednesday October 5th, the Fellowship of Churches is sponsoring a presentation about the Carter Center - founded in 1982 by former President Jimmy Carter. Barry Nickelsberg will discuss the Carter Center and its mission of “Waging Peace, Fighting Disease and Building Hope” starting at 5:30. The event will be held at the 1st United Methodist Church at 305 E 11th.

Tuesday night music on the 11th will feature Martin and Friends playing down-home hoe-down music for your listening and dancing pleasure. And tonight the crowd pleasing Strawberry Mountain Band will be entertaining the masses starting at 7:00. Everyone is invited and donations are always appreciated.

And from last week’s brain rattler, the wise man told the Arab sheik’s two sons to - switch camels. The two brothers then raced to the city because they were riding the other brother’s camel and wanted that camel to finish first.

It was in the television series “The Fugitive” that Dr. Richard Kimble played by David Janssen was accused of murdering his wife Helen Regan Kimble. (And the winning name drawn was Mary Davis.) This week’s “Remember When” question jumps from murder to science. Before there was Bill Nye the Science Guy, this 1951 - 1965 educational children’s show starred Don Herbert as a science hobbyist who would demonstrate various science experiments for the neighbor boy Jimmy. Again for five quilt raffle tickets, what was the name of this Saturday morning children’s television show? Email your answers to the, call 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a vacuum sealed container of dihydrogen monoxide.

Well it’s been another week wondering to myself “Have I said that before?” Until we meet again, there is no reason why the second time around can’t be better than the first.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." John Wooden


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