Aging Well December 18 2012

Tis the Christmas Season: a time for memories that stir our senses: cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas lights, and bells jingling at local grocery stores.

It is also a time to remember how we have been blessed at our chronologically advantaged age. But sometimes it is hard with all the bad news: shootings near and far, physical challenges we endure; and the personal losses that touch us - particularly at this time of the year when we would give everything to again share memories of Christmas’s pasts with friends and loved ones who are no longer with us.

It is not always easy to stay upbeat and positive, but Shawn Achor, who researches and teaches positive psychology, describes three steps that can help us see and look for the positive instead of passively absorbing the negative. First, for twenty one days in a row, take two minutes a day and write down three things you are grateful for. Second, start a journal and each day write about one positive experience you encountered. Third, do one positive random act of kindness each day - whether it’s complimenting the salesperson during a hectic Christmas shopping day or buying a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling juice for your local senior center director (and he prefers a red grape to a white apple cider!)

But I would also suggest two more steps. Fourth, each day give at least one person a big hug - the human touch is an essential nutritional requirement for the spirit. And last, if there has been something you have been meaning to tell someone, tell them. Don’t wait. There are reasons as we get older why we don’t buy green bananas.

Whether your glasses are rose colored, broken or you can’t find them, during this season of hope, love and possibility, consider these five steps to better see all that is good and right - and the bountiful banquet that is spread before us.

This is usually the place where I announce the performers for Tuesday Night music, but because of the holidays, we have pushed the pause button until January 8th. But the sounds of guitars strumming and cowgirls singing won’t totally vanish. Every Wednesday before and after the Meals-on-Wheels noon dinner, there is music for your listening pleasure – and there are often several couples who take the opportunity to stretch their legs and dance a few steps. Annie Lane and “For the Good Times” alternate Wednesdays. And on the third Thursday, Tom Graff stops in and warms up the diner crowd. Particularly if you don’t like to get out after dark, this is your chance to enjoy listening and dancing to some good country tunes.

I stumped most everyone with last week’s “Remember When” question. The answer wasn’t Burns and Allen or Fibber Magee and Molly (but look for them in the future), it was Bob and Ray who both started as radio announcers, until their informal banter became so popular they were asked to fill in when the Boston Red Sox baseball games were rained out. On YouTube, you can find them performing two of their classic interviews on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show: "Most Beautiful Face Contest Winner" and "Four Leaf Clover Farmer." (And the winner is the Bob and Ray aficionado Joann Scott.)

This week’s ”Remember When” question is about the successful jazz vocalist and actress who became nationally known with the 1951 hit “Come on-a My House” written by the unusual duo of author William Saroyan and David Seville (who would later create the famous Alvin and the Chipmunks) and recorded with Mitch Miller and his orchestra. But during the Christmas season she is remembered for starring in the 1954 Christmas movie classic with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera-Ellen. What was this singer/actress’s name? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a package of "Extra value is what you get, when you buy Coro-net” paper towels.

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed for Christmas Eve, Christmas as well as New Year’s Day. And since Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Tuesdays - the day this column is printed, I won’t be back visiting with you until next year on the 8th.

So until we meet again, I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year. And as the famous anonymous once said, “As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way”.

Aging Well December 11th 2012

During the regular chit chat with my sister over the Thanksgiving holiday (you know - football, the weather, latest aches and pains) my sister threw me a curve and asked “What have you learned from having worked at the Senior Center for almost six years now?” It caught me off guard and what immediately came to mind was the only fact I learned from the lecture on continence - you should wait long enough so that every time you - the how should I say this gently - use the bathroom, it should last at least ten seconds. (So guys if you see me in the restroom counting to ten, now you know why.)

Fortunately I kept that thought to myself and instead offered more sagely advice reflecting my years of wisdom and experience: “Stay socially connected and keep moving”. Good advice, right? But after several days of reflection, I should have answered “To age well you need to learn to accept and adapt”.

As we age, we experience changes we never thought would happen to us – uncooperative bodies, memory lapses and personal losses.  But it is important to accept “the way it is” - this new and often challenging reality. But accepting is not the same as “giving up” - if you identify ways to adapt. For instance, if it is getting difficult to drive, avoid complicated intersections; if you can’t read because of poor vision, listen to books on tape; and if you have lost close friends, meet new ones.

Although we may wish we could just take off our shoes, kick back and relax at this stage of our lives, we know it isn’t that easy. But the good news is that with effort, creativity and perseverance, we can accept and adapt - and make the remaining years of our lives both purposeful and rewarding.

Hot cakes, scrambled eggs, and sausage or bacon is the menu for the Center’s Christmas Breakfast sponsored by the same folks as last year, but with a new name this year- “The Springs at Mill Creek”. They are bringing along Santa, gifts and holiday entertainment with “Harmony of the Gorge”. This is your chance to get into the holiday spirit and while enjoying a delicious Saturday breakfast.

If you appreciate the art, cultural and historical non-profits, you only have three weeks to donate to your nonprofit of choice and to the Oregon Cultural Trust in order to receive a matching tax credit. All you have to do is make a donation to any of Oregon's arts, heritage and humanities non-profits including twenty-two in Wasco and Sherman County (listed at; make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust; and then claim your entire contribution to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit. The Oregon Cultural Trust is an innovative public-private fundraising and grant making program that funds the local Wasco Cultural Trust Coalition which annually distributes $500 to $1000 grants to area schools and non-profits.

The Center’s Nu-2-U Shop is overflowing with used clothes of all kinds. So Betty and Martha are having their End-of-the-Year Bag Sale on Thursday and Friday (13th and 14th). And for both days the store will be open from 10:00 - 3:00 PM.

Tonight at the Center, Martin and Friends will be playing the last Tuesday Night performance in 2012. But like bed bugs in a cheap hotel, the music will be back on January 8th starting at 7:00 PM.

1948 - 1957 television show that used puppets to appeal to the children but was watched more by adults was “Kukla, Fran and Ollie”. (And the winner of a Christmas Breakfast is Herm Neuberger.) For this week’s “Remember When” question, I may be repeating myself since I can’t remember if I’ve asked this question before. (But then I imagine you can’t remember either!) So possibly for the second time, what comedy duo had their own show on both radio and television that included imaginary off the wall interviews with recurring characters such as Wally Ballou, Biff Burns, Arthur Sturdley, Webley Webster, and the McBeeBee twins. E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a tape of the radio soap opera “Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife”.

Well, it has been another week, remembering the past while imagining the future. Until we meet again, celebrate the years remaining because, to paraphrase Robert Frost, the afternoon knows the joys what the morning never suspected.

“Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.”
Yoko Ono

Aging Well December 4th 2012

Can you imagine an Intelligence Scanner you wear as a ring or necklace and helps you see and remember things; or an Auto Car that transports you to the store without you having to drive it; or a gloved sleeve you wear over your arm controlling involuntary arm movements so you can drink a cup of coffee without spilling it. These are just three of the twelve projects I had the fortune of judging last weekend at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League Robotics competition for the Gorge area. Through these regional competitions, teams of 9 - 14 year old students experience real-world science and technology by building a robot that performs specific tasks, but also creating a project that offers a solution to a challenge facing the nation.

The challenge this year was “Senior Solutions” - finding solutions that help older adults stay independent, engaged and connected. In developing their project, each team selected a Senior Partner to learn more about the challenges facing older adults, and then imagined and researched a solution to a problem that was identified from the conversations with their Senior Partner.  As part of the competition, each team’s solution was evaluated based on the level of research and innovation as well as the quality of their presentation.

Several older adults from the Center were recruited to be Senior Partners for the four teams from Colonel Wright Elementary. Because of that connection with the Center, several of the Colonel Wright teams have agreed to present their projects at the Center for the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on the 11th, It will be fun and you will have an opportunity to see budding scientist in the making. I just wish they would hurry up and build the memory enhancement device. I need it now!

Several weeks ago when I wrote about the value of support groups I forgot to mention the Women Widows of Veterans Gathering and Support Group which meets every second Tuesday of the month (which according to my Gregorian calendar is December 11th) at 11:00 AM at the Veteran Services Office at 201 Federal Street in The Dalles. The gatherings are an opportunity for grief support as well as ensuring that widows of veterans are accessing all the support available from Veteran Services. For more information, call Barb Thomas at 541-467-2651, Ruth Otto at 541-769-0078 or Joyce Powell Morin at 541-296-7266.

One last reminder. This Wednesday, the 5th, the monthly iPad User’s group will meet at 1:00, as well as the first meeting of the Kindle User’s Group at 2:00. These user groups are for both beginners and experienced users (we need someone who knows what they are doing) and will give you a chance to share what we know and ask questions about what you don’t.

Tonight at the Center, The Strawberry Mountain Band will be kicking up the dust. And next Tuesday on the 11th, Martin and Friends will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. The Center’s Tuesday Night Music will then take a break for the holiday season returning on January 8th. As always, the music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome - including lonely reindeer waiting for the big trip, and donations are always appreciated.

Arlo Guthrie (the son of Woody Guthrie - writer of the local hit song from 1941 “Roll on, Columbia, Roll On”) wrote and recorded the 18 minute satirical protest song from 1967 called Alice’s Restaurant - including the lyrics “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant - excepting Alice”. (And the winner of a Saturday Breakfast is Jess Birge.)  

When I was on the Coffeebreak last month, Al Wynn mentioned this
television show that used puppets and was totally ad-libbed. It first aired November 29th, 1948 on Chicago's WNBQ and was originally created for children but soon was watched more by adults. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this television show? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a 1961 picture of Buelah Witch, Fran Allison, and Madame Oglepuss.

Well, it has been another week, appreciating life’s changes. Until we meet again, keep your eyes and mind open for new and exciting opportunities.

“As you get older; you've probably noticed that you tend to forget things. You'll be talking with somebody at a party, and you'll know that you know this person, but no matter how hard you try, you can't remember his or her name. This can be very embarrassing, especially if he or she turns out to be your spouse.”
Dave Barry

Aging Well November 27th 2012

Did you survive Black Friday (and Thursday and Saturday), and then Cyber Monday after catching your breathe on Sunday? It can wear you out! But most importantly, I hope you had a chance to enjoy the company of family and friends either over a traditional turkey dinner or - as my family did - by video conferencing using Skype. (And for all you geezer geeks, I discovered you can video conference with up to 10 people using Google+ Hangout. And it is free!)
But it is not only the beginning the holiday shopping season, we are also entering the time of the year for bazaars, open houses, concerts and other holiday treats - many supporting local non-profits.

On Saturday December 1st is the Annual Three Museum Holiday Open House from 11:00 AM until 4 PM at the Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead. Admission is free and you will find Santa for the grandkids, live Christmas music, a raffle drawing plus Christmas cookies and Hot Cider. And the Gift Shop will be open if you want to purchase a little history for the holidays.
Also on Saturday, Habitat for Humanity is holding their annual Christmas Bazaar at the United Congregational Church from 10:00 – 2:00. There will be vendors of all stripes and colors and baked goods to sink your teeth in.
And then there is the 33rd Annual Mosier Country Christmas Fair on Saturday - and on Sunday (in case you can handle only one Christmas bazaar a day) from 10:00 - 4:00 PM (Admission is $2.00 plus one can of food).
If bazaars aren’t your cup of hot chocolate, the Cascade Singers are presenting Gloria a Dios and Misa Criolla and Spanish Carols on Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM at the Zion Lutheran Church (admission is by donation).

The Center is planning for its Christmas Breakfast on December 15th sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek who will be providing music by “Harmony of the Gorge”, gifts and a special appearance by Santa. And during breakfast, a raffle drawing will be held and the winner will take home one of the two distinctly different quilts hanging in the Center’s lobby. They are beautifully hand stitched and would make a great Christmas gift. Raffle tickets are available at the front desk
Because of the popularity of the affordable Kindle e-readers and tablets, the Center is starting a Kindle User’s Group on the first Wednesday of the month which in December is the 5th. The Kindle group will meet at 2:00 PM - right after the iPad User’s Group which meets at 1:00 also on the first Wednesdays. The purpose is to share information and help answer each other’s questions about these new-fangled devices.

People with disabilities are important contributors to the fabric of our communities. They may be your friends, neighbors and more often these days your co-workers. Consequently, would you like to better understand the various types of disabilities; develop more effective skills in assisting people with disabilities; and better understand how to respectfully communicate with people with disabilities? If so, you will want to attend the Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on December 5th featuring Katie Maple discussing “Disability Awareness”. Katie works for the local non-profit Opportunity Connections that provides supports and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Tonight at the Center, “For the Good Times” will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. And during December, because of the holidays, there will be an abbreviated music schedule. The Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing on the 4th and Martin and Friends on the 11th. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome - including any of Santa’s helpers, and donations are always appreciated.

The popular TV series that aired the famous “Moo goo goo goo” Thanksgiving episode in 1975 was The Bob Newhart Show. (And the winner of a Saturday Breakfast is Don McAllister who remembers seeing Bob Newhart substituting for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is for the Boomers in the audience.  What satirical protest song (more aptly described as a 18 minute musical monologue) released in 1967, is the self described story of the son of a famous folk musician being arrested for dumping trash on Thanksgiving day and his ensuing efforts to avoid the draft. E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of your 1960’s draft card.
Well, it has been another week, wishing the days could be a longer and the nights a little warmer. Until we meet again, keep the home fires burning. 

Aging Well November 20th 2012

Last week I discussed how to decide what to toss and what to shred when you finally get around to cleaning out years of records and documents. But I didn’t address a related question, “How long should you keep records, particularly financial records, before they can be shredded?”

According to the experts, generally there are two main reasons for keeping financial records: to offer documentation for a disputed tax issue or to show proof you made a payment or some other financial transaction.

According to Jennifer Saranow Schultz, a contributing writer for the New York Times Business Section, the IRS requires “individuals be able to produce records proving any income, deductions or credit claimed for at least three years from the date of a return”. (Three years is the statute of limitations for the IRS to assess additional taxes if all income is reportedly correctly.) But if you fail to report more than 25% of your income on your tax return, the IRS requires you to produce records for six years. Therefore the safest recommendation is to keep all of your tax records and documentation for the longer six years.

For other financial records, such as utility bills or other proofs of payment, you only need to keep them until you are sure the payment has been processed. Once you see the zero balance on the next bill, it can be shredded. For loan papers, keep them until the loan is paid off and then just keep the documentation that shows it has been paid in full; for insurance documents, keep them as long as you have the policy or if there are still unresolved claims; and for health insurance, keep those records for any service still being provided, that has not been paid or is unresolved. (And of course if any of these kinds of records are used to claim a tax deduction, save them for the recommended six years.)

There are some financial records you should keep indefinitely. Again according to Jennifer Schultz, you need to keep indefinitely “paperwork related to legal filings, wills, inheritance, bankruptcy and paperwork documenting contributions to and withdrawals from
retirement accounts like Roth I.R.A.’s.”

And one final note. For security reasons, experts caution against using the new technological tools for keeping your records. Avoid storing your records online or on your computer. You’ll be glad to know it is still recommended to keep your records the old fashioned way: the original documents in a safe and secure place.

On Tuesday November 27th at 11:00 AM, the Center is going to complete the month’s Tuesday Lecture Series with a bang - a special presentation by Dr. Joshua Boone, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, speaking about foot care.  If you would like to learn more about medical conditions affecting the foot or have questions (or just have a foot fetish), please join us. The presentation will be in the Center’s basement since this month’s second AARP Driver Safety Class on the 26th and 27th will be using the upstairs classroom. (And there are still openings for this class which is free for Veterans and their spouses.)

Tonight at the Center, right here in wet River City, Truman will be singing his Country Gold. And next Tuesday we’ll end the month with “For the Good Times”. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome - including any gregarious Turkeys, and donations are always appreciated to keep the lights on and the musicians fed.
The TV series on ABC inspired by real-life Prohibition agents who battled Chicago crime elements was the “Untouchables” starring Robert Stack. (And the winner of the Christmas Breakfast on December 15th is Sandy Goforth.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is a little more recent - only forty years ago. But let’s see if anyone knows the answer. The fourth season of this TV series included one of the most famous sitcom Thanksgiving scenes - while Emily was away for a Thanksgiving family reunion,  her husband calls to order Chinese food for himself and his three friends who have all gotten drunk while watching a football game on TV. “Moo goo goo goo? Maybe I’m ordering Chinese baby food.” What was the name of this popular TV series that first aired in 1972? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the hit album of humorous deadpan monologues called “The Buttoned Mind Strikes Back.”

Well, it has been another week, waiting for the Turkey to undress. Until we meet again, eat slowly, chew thoughtfully and swallow carefully. And enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six.” Yogi Berra

Senior Living November 13th 2012

Now that nature’s lights are dimming and the temperatures are dropping, instead of sitting in front of the television set, why not embark on that task you have been putting off for years: sorting through all the bills, receipts, legal papers you have accumulated in boxes and file cabinets over the many years. But what should you toss in the wastebasket and what should you shred?

To help out, and since I didn’t really know, I went online and found several answers - but it depends on what degree you want to protect your personal information. Some websites suggest you shouldn’t take any chances and shred all your documents including everything you receive in the mail.

That may be a little extreme. But it is definitely recommended that you destroy all documents, including junk mail, which includes any of the following: account numbers, birth dates, passwords, PINs, signatures and social security numbers.

You should also consider shredding items that include: names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses - including any kind of credit card offers and applications; courtesy checks from banks; monthly bills; and anything related to taxes and receipts with your signature. (One source did suggest you don’t need to shred receipts showing just the last four digits of your credit card number - if they don’t include your signature. And any documents having just your name and address which is public information.)  In addition, you might want to shred any other personal information that you wouldn’t want identity thieves to find - or your wife or husband!

If you decide to shred the documents yourself, avoid the least expensive strip-cut shredders, and instead use a cross-cut ,confetti or diamond-cut shredder which makes it almost impossible to piece a document back together.

If you want to save time (you don’t have to remove paper clips and staples) and know your documents will be securely destroyed, you can call Gorge Security Shred at 541-490-7078. They have met the tough certification requirements of NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) and are a service provided by the local non-profit Opportunity Connections. A representative will meet you at a designated location, (often the Center’s parking lot) to pick up your documents which will then be securely transported to their shredding facility in Parkdale. You will be mailed a Certificate of Destruction verifying your documents have been shredded and cannot be reconstructed. The cost is generally twenty cents a pound with some exceptions. It is easy, cheap and convenient.

We must be having fun because time is passing quickly, as we fast approach the third Saturday of November. And that means Saturday Breakfast and Old Fashioned Bingo on November 17th. Breakfast is from 8:00 - 9:30 and the menu is - well I forgot to ask, but it is always tasty. And Old Fashioned Bingo is gaining in popularity. It is fun, simple and great for the grandkids. Cards are $3.00, prizes are $5 and $25 for the last blackout and runs from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. (And you still have time to come back for Saturday Night Bingo starting at 6:00.)

Thanks to Dan Williams for forwarding me an email demonstrating how amazingly our brains can read text where numbers are substituted for several letters. So see if your brain can read the Center’s music announcement for this week. 70NIGH7 M4R71N 4ND FR13ND5 W1LL B3 PL4Y1NG. 4ND N3X7 W33K 17 W1LL 0NC3 4G41N B3 7RUM4N P3RF0RM1NG H15 C0UN7RY G0LD 4S Y0U D4NC3 7H3 N1GH7 4W4Y. 7HE MU31C 574R75 47 7:00 PM, 3V3RY0N3 15 W3LC0M3, 4ND D0N4710N5 4R3 4LLW4Y5 4PPR3C1473D.

It was 1974 through January of 1977 when Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockerfeller were President and Vice-President without either being elected by the people. (And the randomly selected winner of a free Saturday breakfast is Kathy Ursprung.) This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to 1959 when this crime drama first appeared on ABC. It was inspired by real-life Prohibition agents who battled Chicago criminal elements including  Al Capone. The show was criticized for its violent shoot-outs but was a hit among viewers making it one of ABC’s early hits. What was the name of the show and its star actor? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an autographed memoir by Elliot Ness and Oscar Fraley.

Well, it has been another week, trying to get use to the early morning chill.  Until we meet again, sleep tight, but don’t let the bed bugs bite.

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

Aging Well November 6th 2012

It isn’t clearly understood, but social engagement is known to have positive effects on your health and well-being. While on the opposite side of the coin, social and emotional isolation can be harmful and decrease your life expectancy. Unfortunately, when confronted with life changing events such as a death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis or confronting an addiction, it is easy to retreat and separate yourself from your friends and family: your natural support network.

But in those situations, a support group is often a lifeline - providing life-saving benefits during those traumatic times. A support group can help you connect with others - reducing the feeling of isolation and being alone; help you understand that your feelings and reactions are not strange, but normal; and help you realize that life may be different, but it’s not over.

There are many support groups in the area for individuals as well as family, friends and caregivers. Last week, I mentioned the Stroke Support Group meeting on the second Wednesday of the month at Water’s Edge (541-506-6902). But there are many others including: a men’s cancer (
541-296-7207) and a women’s cancer support group (Lyn at 541-296-7205); Parkinson’s (Chad at 541-478-9338), Family Alzheimer's/Dementia (Karen Deswert at FlagStone Senior Living 541-298-5656), and a Dementia support group (Veteran’s Home 541-296-7190). For bereavement support you can contact Heart of Hospice (541-296-7190) and Hospice of the Gorge (541-387-6449).

The bottom line is support groups offer social connections, experiential knowledge, role models and caring relationships. There is nothing better than knowing you can count on a group of people for support and guidance; and knowing, at some time, you will be able to reciprocate and help others through their difficult days, weeks and months. There is an open door waiting. You just have to make the life affirming decision to walk through it.

November 12th through the 16th is International Education Week: an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and worldwide exchange programs such as AFS (American Field Services). Since 1947, AFS has provided “intercultural learning experiences that bring global cultures together by helping people connect, transforming the lives of thousands of students, families, and individuals every year”.

Thanks to the efforts of Tedd and Rymmel Lovell, host families, liaisons and many other volunteers, there are three AFS high school students in The Dalles this school year including Anas “Ben” Dlala from Tunisia. You can learn more about AFS and Tunisia when Ben shows slides and discusses his homeland at the Tuesday Lecture on November 13th starting at 11:00.

And to raise funds for student scholarships, local events, and school expenses for the current and future crop of exchange students, the local AFS program is selling 20 pound boxes of Ruby Red Grapefruit or Navel Oranges for $16.00 apiece. You can order a box (or half box) by calling 541-296-6546, contacting your local AFS volunteer or going online at

Novelty and focus are two essential nutrients for a good memory. So again it is time mix it up with this week’s music announcement. At the tenter conight starting at 7:00 PM “The Strawberry Bountain Mand” will be performing. And next week, Frartin and Miends will provide the soundtrack for an evening of lancing and distening. Everyone is welcome - political linners and wosers - and donations are always appreciated.

Last week’s question was a popular one with many folks remembering Eve Arden starring in “Our Miss Brooks” - the popular comedy series that aired on the radio from 1948 - 1958 and television from 1952 - 1956. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on the 17th is John Lampe.) And since today is Election Day - the end to all the political pitches covering the airwaves like weeds in a vacant lot - it only seems appropriate to include a political “Remember When” question.
For two years the nation was run by a president and a vice president who were not elected by the people. Who was the U.S. President? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a No. 48 football Jersey from the University of Michigan.

Well, it has been another week, trying to stay on my side of the road when the rain is pouring down. Until we meet again, stay strong, but many times the greatest strength is knowing when to seek support.

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” Robert Fulghum

Aging Well October 30th 2012

Ah, the body: the vehicle that used to attract young women with such ease, that could zig-zag through the backfield of the opposing team and catch passes with a single leap; and could stay up all night and still get to work in the morning - on time. Where, my friend, have you gone?

Now because of your wayward behavior, I have another part time job: maintenance man. Unexpected trips to the hospital, doctors testing and poking you; often finding not an answer but several “it-could-be’s”; and then I spend weeks worrying what the “could- be’s” could really be! Body, you were once an asset and now it’s just “patch, patch, patch”.

But I haven’t given up on you - at least not yet. Even though you haven’t been kind, I will still do my part. I will keep moving, stay active, laugh with friends, and eat well. And then will you see the error of your ways?

But maybe I am over reacting. Maybe it really isn’t your fault. Maybe what the doctor said is true. And maybe, just maybe, we are both getting – older?

But nah, that can’t be.

Until medicine and technology advances to the point we can trade in our bodies like we can a 2004 PT Cruiser, we have to live with the body we have. And here are several resources to help keep your body in the best working condition.

Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of blood glucose. It is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. And according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 10.9 million, or 26.9% of all people 65 and older have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes - the highest rate among all age groups.

But one step people with diabetes can take to learn more about how to control the disease and lower the risk of complications is to attend Diabetes Discovery Day on Friday November 9th from 11:00 – 3:15 at Water’s Edge. It is an opportunity for those with diabetes and their families to receive the latest information about the disease. You will have a chance to hear experts from various fields discuss the latest advances in research and treatments; visit community resource booths and diabetes vendors and receive a free blood glucose test by MCMC lab.

Also a Stroke Support Group has been reestablished to provide encouragement, education and socialization. It is meeting on the second Wednesday every month at 2:00 PM in the second floor conference room at Water’s Edge. For more information contact Meagan Wells at 541-506-6902 or email

Maybe you have bought an eBook reader such as a Kindle, Nook or iPad. Or possibly one of your kids sent you one to make sure you were keeping up with all the modern technological conveniences – even though you told them several times “I like the feel of a real book in my hands!” If that is the case, next Tuesday at the Center at 11:00 on November 6th, bring your eBook reader and Sue Ann Arguelles from The Dalles - Wasco County Library will provide a hands on demonstration of how to download free e-books from the library to your electronic device.

At the Center tonight starting at 7:00 PM “For the Good Times” will be performing. And next week we go back to the top of the charts with “The Strawberry Mountain Band” - back for another high energy evening. Everyone is welcome - even ghosts and goblins - and donations are suggested.

“Where the elite meet to eat” was at Duffy’s Tavern, the popular radio comedy series starring Ed Gardner as the bartender Archie. (The winner of a free Saturday breakfast is Karl Vercouteren.) But allow me just one more “Remember When” question from the glory days of radio (and television). What was the name of the popular comedy series that aired on the radio from 1948 - 1958 and television from 1952 - 1956 starring Eve Arden as the sardonic high school teacher and Gale Gordon as the blustery high school principal? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Walter Denton from the 1956 Madison High School yearbook.   

Well, it has been another year trying to reach Halloween before turning on the furnace. Until we meet again, stay warm, stay dry and keep a smile in your soul.

“After thirty, my body has a mind of its own.” Bette Midler (And I wonder what she felt when she turned sixty-five!)

Aging Well October 23rd 2012

The Social Security system has protected and supported millions of older adults since 1935. And next Tuesday on October 30th at 11:00, Amy Throop from the local Social Security Administration office will be at the Center to help you better understand the past, present and future of Social Security. Amy will touch on a variety of subjects including who receives Social Security; where the money comes from what the retirement benefits are and how they determined; who can receive Social Security Disability Benefits and Supplemental Security Income; and what is the relationship between Social Security and Medicare. 

In honor of Veterans Day and in recognition of their dedication and commitment to service, in November, the AARP Driver Safety class taught by Dennis Davis (and his floozy assistant and wife – Mary. He is a lucky man!) will be free to all veterans and their spouses. The class will be offered from 9:00 – 12:00 on November 19th and 20th, the third Monday and Tuesday of the month. But knowing there are plenty of veterans who can recognize a good deal, Dennis will schedule another class if needed. To sign up or for more information, call the Center at 541-296-4788. And for non-veterans the cost is $14.00 and $12 for AARP members.

I have finally confirmed the trip to Portland to see the Singing Christmas Tree for the 1:30 Matinee performance on Sunday, December 2nd. The Center’s regular transportation provider is unavailable, but thanks to Sherman County Community Transit the trip is a go. Consequently, I have set aside five tickets for any folks from Sherman County who would like to make the trip. So for all you readers in Sherman County, spread the word and ask anyone interested to call the Center. The tickets are $52 including transportation.

After Amy Throop’s presentation, the Center’s next Tuesday Lecture will be on November 6th when Sue Ann Arguelles from The Dalles - Wasco County Library will explain how to download free e-books from the library to your iPad, Kindle or Nook. You know, one of those ebook readers many of you received from your kids to make sure you are keeping up with all the modern technological conveniences – even though you told them “I like the feel a real book in my hands!”.

I am afraid I’m still pounding the SHIBA drum. The Medicare open enrollment period has already started and will end before you know it on December 7th. And my advice is - don’t wait till the last moment. The SHIBA Medicare counseling times at the Center have changed to only Wednesdays. But you can now make appointments for the morning as well as the afternoon.  And if Wednesdays don’t fit your schedule, the SHIBA volunteers can make appointments at other times. Call the Center for more information.

Short and sweet - tonight at the Center, crowd favorites "The Dufur Boys" will be playing. And on Tuesday the 30th “For the Good Times” will be performing their jamming favorites. Music starts at 7:00, everybody is welcome and donations are appreciated. 

The radio series spin off from Fibber McGee and Molly featuring a confirmed bachelor who oversaw his late brother-in-law’s estate while raising his orphaned niece and nephew was the Great Gildersleeve. (The winner of a free Saturday breakfast is Don McAllister.) For this week’s “Remember When” we’ll take another peek at the glory days of radio. This radio program ran for a decade from 1941 - 1951 and took place “where the elite meet to eat”. It was run by the manager, Archie, whose  mangled use of words were often quoted and included such malapropisms as “Fate has fickled its finger at me"; "Leave us not jump to seclusion"; and "Now, don't infirm me that I'm stupid."What was the name of this working man’s comedy radio series?  Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of the married couple - Ed Garner and Shirley Booth. 

And if you want to listen to these old time radio (OTR) classics and have access to the Internet you can visit The OTR.Network Library at - a free resource with over 12,000 radio shows available for instant listening. 

Well, it has been another week trying to keep an eye on the ball and the water in the kettle. Until we meet again, as it has been said by Henry Haskins “Don’t refuse to go on an occasional wild goose chase; that’s what wild geese are for.”

 "Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and instead of bleeding, he sings" - Archie

Aging Well October 16th 2012

It is 3:15 on a Sunday afternoon. And as I am writing, my eye lids are slowly, unwillingly closing; my fingers are losing consciousness - typing a row of ZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s; and I know, from these telltale signs, it must be time for a nap.

But don’t think I am just another old codger who needs his afternoon nap. Napping has taken on added significance in this fast pace world - a new way to increase employee productiveness where companies including Apple and Googe are allowing employees to take naps on the job. Research has shown
 a nap can boast the brain's learning capacity, improve memory, increase creativity, and is more effective than caffeine. And even a short nap can have a marked effect on your health.
The article “The Science of the Perfect Nap” that I discovered on the website Lifehacker, offers several suggestions on how to take the perfect nap. I’ll try to share it with you - before I fall asleep.
1. Watch the time. Twenty minute naps work well. 2. Find a quiet and dark space. (Unfortunately during my college days, the library was quiet and dark and I often slept there more than I studied.) 3. Lie down. It takes significantly more time to fall asleep while sitting. 4. Get in your napping zone. Concentrate on your breathing, relax your muscles, and use visualization techniques. 5. Plan naps into your day. Take a nap before you get to the dangerous point of drowsiness. 6. Set an alarm. You don’t want to sleep longer than you desire.

Naps are natural and beneficial. And even the younger generations are now learning about the advantages of naps -reaping the benefits of improved productivity, energy, and mental capacity. So no longer think of napping as an essential guilty pleasure. Napping is a good thing – and at any age.

This is from the Center’s bulletin board for all you family history buffs out there. There is a free Family History Workshop on Saturday, October 20th from 9 am - 2 pm at the Mid-Columbia Family History Center inside the LDS Church on 18th and May Street in Hood River.  There will be mini classes for beginner and experienced researchers including “Beginning Your Family History”, “DNA Testing and Your Family”, “Online Vital Records” and “Creating Heritage Albums”. For more information call 541-490-0344.

The Center’s Saturday Breakfast on the 20th (serving from 8:00 – 9:30 am) will include hearty Texas French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and your favorite beverage all for only $5.00. This month the breakfast is sponsored by the Wasco County Democratic Central Committee. (And with the Republican Central Committee having sponsored the breakfast in August, are there any Ron Paul Libertarians out there who would want to sponsor the breakfast in November? Mike, are you listening?). Also on Saturday there is Old Fashioned Bingo: simple, inexpensive and fun from 3:00 - 4:00 pm, before Saturday Night Bingo which starts at 6:00 pm.
The Center’s Tuesday Lecture speaker on October 23rd will be Duane Francis, CEO of MCMC, who will discuss the good and bad, the ins and outs, and the CCOs, HMOs, PPOs and Oh-Ohs of the changing landscape in health care. The presentation starts at 11:00 
I’ll keep it simple this week - no secret code or secret messages for the unsuspecting. Tonight at the Center, Truman will be playing his Country Gold and on the Tuesday the 23rd, the Dufur Boys will be back playing their crowd pleasing country/western. And you know the rest of the story: music starts at 7:00, everybody is welcome and donations are appreciated. 
Rin-Tin-Tin and his offspring were the stars of radio, film and the television series “The Adventures of Rin-Tin-Tin” that ran on ABC from 1954 through 1959. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Shirley Christiansen.) But before there was TV, there was radio. What was the name of the radio series aired on NBC from 1941 – 1957 that was a spin-off from “Fibber McGee and Molly” and featured a confirmed bachelor who oversaw his late brother-in-law’s estate while raising his orphaned niece and nephew? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a water bill from the City of Summerfield Water District. 
Well, it has been another week trying to remember what I have forgotten. Until we meet again, take time to close your eyes and imagine the impossible- but try to stay awake!. 

"I love a good nap. Sometimes it's the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning."
- George Costanza from Seinfeld

Aging Well October 9th 2012

An important part of healthy aging is to keep moving and staying as active as possible– both physically and mentally. And if you can make it fun, it is a whole lot easier. One way to stay active while having fun is geocaching - a sport that has attracted thousands of international players. It is like a worldwide scavenger hunt that is good clean fun for everyone: parents, kids and grandkids. You use GPS devices (you can even download Geocaching applications to GPS enabled smartphones) to search for hidden containers called geocaches. And it is inexpensive - although you can travel to over 200 countries looking for geocaches!

If you are intrigued, the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation is offering a Geocaching 101 Workshop at 10:00 on Friday October 12th. Just meet at the Parks and Recreation office at 414 Washington Street. Daniel Kittelson, the new Activities Coordinator, will show you how to operate a GPS receiver (which is provided) and find treasures hidden all over The Dalles!  (And with a school in-service day, you can bring your grandkids!) The cost is only $10 per family. For more information call 541-296-9533. And you can also visit The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site website at and learn more about geocaching and the Great 2013 Geocaching Block Party Travel Bug Race.

Thanks to everyone who attended the Baby Back Rib Dinner at the Center last Friday evening to support The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center (and to enjoy some finger licking good Baby Back Ribs). It was made possible by all the hardworking volunteers – from cooks to greeters, the lively bluegrass music performed by Hardshell Harmony, Meadow Outdoor advertising, and the local businesses who contributed to the silent auction. And a BIG THANK-YOU to the evening’s sponsor: Mill Creek Point Senior Living. Their sponsorship covered the cost of the food and music so every dollar from ticket sales and the silent auction went directly to Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center. Mill Creek Point is being acquired by Springs Living, LLC and it was a pleasure to introduce the President and Founder of Springs Living, LLC, Fee Stubblefield, to the dinner crowd. (He also pitched in and helped serve dinner). It was a successful evening with wonderful friends. And we hope to see everyone back next year on the first Friday in October.

When you receive your Annual Notice of Change letter from your Medicare plan, you may have questions as you decide if it is still the right plan for you. If you do have Medicare questions, sign up for free help at the Center from 1:00 – 4:00 PM on Mondays and Wednesdays starting October 17th. It is provided by trained SHIBA, (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) volunteers coordinated by Shirley Ludlow at the local Area Agency on Aging. Shirley is also scheduling appointments at other meal sites. If you want to find out if there will be a SHIBA volunteer in your area, call her at 541-298-4101.

If it is hard and makes you think - that is not a bad thing. So get out your decoder ring and see if you can read this week’s Tuesday Night music announcement. Snmhfgs, Martin and Friends vhkk ad cqhmjhmf bneedd zmc okzxhmf bzqcr. Zmc mdws Stdrczx nm sgd 16th, Truman vhkk ad btsshmf gzhq. Sgd ltrhb rszqsr zs 7:00, dudqxnmd hq vdkbnld zmc cnmzsjnmr zqd zooqdbhzsdc.

Snoopy was the Red Barron’s flying nemesis and whose heroics were put to song and recorded in 1966 by the American rock band “The Royal Guardsman”. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on October 20th is Don McAllister.)

For this week’s “Remember When” questions, let’s go back to TV trivia, but with a different flavor. This dog was found in a bombed-out dog kennel during WWI and was named after the finger puppets given to American soldiers by French children. He starred in twenty three movies and his kin were featured in film, radio and television including a television series named after him that ran on ABC from 1954 through 1959. What was this famous dog’s name? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a case of Ken-L Ration.

Well, it has been another week, trying to stay out of trouble and in the good graces of my wife. Until we meet again, don’t blame someone for not doing what you kept them from doing in the first place.

“When you’re getting run out of town on a rail, get to the front of the line and call it a parade”

Aging Well October 2nd 2012

In less than two weeks, Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period begins - the time between October 15th and December 7th. This timeframe is important because it is your only chance, with a few exceptions (aren’t there always a few exceptions), to change plans or more specifically switch from Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C), switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare, switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another and make changes to your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

Consequently, every October is the time you should review your current Medicare Plan to see if it is still the best deal for you. Are there any changes in the premiums and deductibles? Does your plan still cover your medications? Does it still let you go to the pharmacy or doctors you want? These are some of the questions you will want to ask when you receive your Annual Notice of Change letter to make sure your current plan is still your best option.

And this year you may want to pay particular attention to your Prescription Drug Plan. As you may have heard, the premiums for seven of the top ten prescription drug plans will increase by 11 percent to 23 percent even though premiums for the overall market for 2013 will stay about the same. So this year, it may be worth your time and your check book to shop around.

 If you need help, there are several local resources available. The Center has once again invited Jeff Eagan, who has been in the Medicare Insurance business for over twenty years, to present a session called MEDICARE 101 on Tuesday October 9th from 3:00 – 4:30. He will explain the basics plus highlight any changes for 2013.

Also the Area Agency on Aging is offering SHIBA counseling at the Center every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 – 4:00 starting October 17th. SHIBA is “Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance”, a state wide program of trained volunteers to help answer your Medicare Part D and other Medicare questions. Call the Center (541-296-4788) to schedule your individual appointment with a SHIBA volunteer.

You can also contact Medicare directly by calling 1-800-633-4227 or go online to And you can contact SHIBA by calling their message line 1-800-722-4134 or go online at

One last reminder. The Baby Back Rib Dinner, a fundraiser for Meals-on-Wheels and the Senior Center; generously sponsored by Mill Creek Point Senior Living, is this coming Friday from 4:30 - 7:30 PM. Your $15.00 ticket can be bought at the Center, Klindt’s Booksellers or at the door. There will be additional parking in the St. Mary’s School parking lot with the Mill Creek Point Bus conveniently shuttling folks back and forth to the Center. And if you want to eat at home, call Betty Harlan at the Center after 4:30 PM and ask for a take-out. She will make sure your meal is hot and ready to go as early as 5:00 PM.

Hardshell Harmony will again be providing the musical entertainment for the Baby Back Rib Dinner. But Friday night isn’t the only musical evening during the week. Tonight at the Center, Andre and the Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing country favorites for your dancing enjoyment. And then next Tuesday on the 9th, Martin and Friends will be returning. And if you want to mark it on your calendar for the rest of the month - Truman will be playing on the 16th, The Dufur Boys on the 23rd and For the Good Times on the 30th. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The twin talking magpies of Terrytoons fame were “Heckle and Jeckle” - staples of Saturday morning cartoons. (And the randomly selected winner of a Baby Back Rib Dinner is Rayburn Parker.) And since the Baby back Rib Dinner will be just a pleasant memory next week, the winner of this week’s “Remember When” questions will win a free Saturday Breakfast on October 20th. So here goes. The Royal Guardsman, an American rock band, recorded a 1966 hit describing the battles between the Red Baron and what comic strip character? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a bag of Georgia grown peanuts.

Well, it has been another week, trying to remember new names and old friends. Until we meet again, take that step no matter how small, because it only takes small changes to make big differences in our lives.


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