Aging Well April 24th

It was a busy weekend - maybe it was the warm weather - but I didn’t have enough time to finish my thoughts on one of my son’s favorite topics: how living with less stuff can equal more happiness. Of course as a carefree young single man, he doesn’t have a whole lot of possessions to worry about. But it is a subject of interest for many of us “empty nesters” who have too much space filled with too much stuff - at least until the kids come back home to roost. And this extra week gives those of you who have downsized a chance to share your thoughts and any regrets by emailing me at and I will try to include them in next week’s column. Sally McBain will be the featured speaker for the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on May 1st. Sally has worked in the field of aging most of her adult life and has witnessed, in various care settings, older adults who are unable to communicate and no one really knows who they are. The result of her experiences is a recently published work “Soul Portrait” which she wants to be “an important component of every one's retirement plan, as well as a critical part of the family discussion as we age”. As Sally explains, “Soul Portrait helps each of us understand who we are and also encourages our caregivers, family members, friends, and health care personnel to provide us with the best care possible should the time come when we cannot speak for ourselves”. You can learn more about what inspired Sally to write “Soul Portrait” and what she hopes the book will accomplish at next week’s Tuesday Lecture starting at 11:00. It is that time of year again - time for the annual two-day celebration filled with the Friday night’s Lip Sync, live entertainment, vendors and the Saturday parade starting at 11:00am. And before the parade, why not stop by the Center for a breakfast of strawberry topped Texas French Toast with scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and your favorite beverage - all for only $5.00. Breakfast starts at 8:00 and will continue until 10:00 for the late arrivals. Tonight at the Center, the Strawberry Mountain Band will keep you off your seats with a dance friendly mix of country and western. And next week we start the monthly rounds again with guess who? No, not the classic Canadian rockers “Guess Who” but again with the Strawberry Mountain Band - back to their regular slot on the first Tuesdays of the month. Doors open at 6, music starts at 7:00, everyone is invited and donations are suggested. We have a date! Last week I mentioned in order to celebrate Older Americans Month and this year’s theme “Never Too Old to Play” the Center is going to host a Team Trivia Night. And now the date is set for Friday May 18th from 7:00 - 9:00. Until then the “Remember When” question will be one of the questions that will be used on Team Trivia Night, so you faithful readers who attend can have at least a foot up on the competition – that is if you don’t forget! Last week’s answer was “Grapes of Wrath” published in 1939 and written about Depression-era migrant workers. (And the winner of a Cherry Festival breakfast is Jim Gordon.). This week’s “Remember When” question is “What event did an estimated 500 million people worldwide watch live on July 21, 1969 - which at the time was the largest television audience for any event in history”? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or fly it to the Center in the talons of an Eagle. Well, it has been another week separating the chaff from the wheat. Until we meet again, sometimes the shortest distance between too points is around. (But don’t ask me what that means.) “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.” Maya Angelou (Well, it looks like I’m a little short this week. I could do a clumsy tap dance or sing off key, but why not a few bad puns to keep you grinning – or groaning. “I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.” Or how about, “I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.” And if that isn’t bad enough, here’s one more, “I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.” And as Porky Pig would say “That’s All Folks!”)

Aging Well April 17th

While temporarily sidelined; awkwardly moving about on my crutches like a new born foal, friends ask how I am doing: Any pain? Are things getting better? And I appreciate their concern, but I am a little embarrassed - because I’ve had it easy. There hasn’t been any real discomfort and it is temporary – only six more weeks!
For at the same time, I know too many people who are quietly, without notice or fanfare, carrying a much heavier burden - either physically or emotionally. Some are suffering daily from back pain without an easy medical answer - and yet they get up every morning and keep moving. There are others who are carrying for a loved one, 24/7, and they get up every morning and keep giving. And there are folks who have been diagnosed with a life threatening condition and still get up every morning and keep laughing.

Some of you might think knowing these folks would be depressing - a vivid reminder of a future when “if it doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t work”. But for me, they are my real heroes. They are reach-out-and-hug examples of how to live with whatever problem is thrown your way. And how you learn to just deal with it - both the good and the bad - without self-pity and bitterness, but with graciousness and quiet perseverance. Unknowingly, they have taught me, although problems never go away – they just change, there is no need to hide under the covers when each day is a gift of friendships, memories and new adventures.

Do I remind you of a community event the day before - when it may be too late, because you already made plans? Or do I remind you three week in advance and give you a chance to forget? Since I haven’t a clue to the answer, I’ll do both.

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th, The Dalles Area Habitat for Humanity is having their annual Pizza Feed at Spookys. It’s from 5:00 - 8:00 and the cost is $12 for those between 13 and 100. (I guess for any of you out there over 100 - it’s free!) And then on Saturday, May 5th, at Calvary Baptist, the Wasco County Pioneers will have their Annual Wasco County Pioneer Association meeting with lunch starting at 11:30. Membership is $12.50 for a family or $10.00 for an individual and is open to anyone interested in Wasco County history.

The Center’s Old Fashioned Bingo is back for another month on Saturday April 21st. All ages are welcome, parents, grandparents and grandkids, to play bingo as we did when we were kids. We use the old fashioned hard cards which are $3 a piece or two for $5. And to make it interesting, there are small $5.00 cash prizes for the first nine games and $25 for the last blackout. This family affair starts at 3:00 at lasts for a tad over an hour.

This month’s Saturday Breakfast sponsored by Cherry Heights Retirement Community would normally be held this Saturday. But during the month of April we hop on the Cherry Festival train and serve breakfast on the morning of the parade. So don’t stop by the Center this Saturday, unless you want to play cribbage at 9:00, and I’ll see on the 28th serving breakfast at the Center between 8:00 - 10:00 am.

Tonight at the Center, Truman will be playing his smooth Country Gold and next Tuesday the Strawberry Mountain Band will be roughing it up with more country and western. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

“Hey, Culligan Man!” was the person housewives called to soften their hard water. (And the winner of a free Cherry Festival Breakfast on April 28th is Jenny Gardner.)
May is Older Americans Month and the theme is “Never Too Old to Play”. And to celebrate, the Center will host a Team Trivia Night on a Friday in May. But one of the trivia questions for that night is this week’s “Remember When” question. What Pulitzer-Prize winning book, published in 1939, was written about Depression-era migrant workers who traveled from farm to farm to pick crops? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or Fed Ex it to the Center with the album “Okie from Muskogee”.

Well, it has been another week pushing the envelope up the mountain slope. Until we meet again, as the British government told their citizens during WW II “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Aging Well April 10th

If exercise is the best prescription for your long term physical health, volunteering could be the best medicine for your mental health. The reasons are many: you meet new friends, improve your social skills, and build self-confidence while having fun and making a difference in your community. Many of you are already volunteering, but for those who are considering volunteering, you may want to follow these five steps to avoid wasting your time pursuing volunteer opportunities that just aren’t “you”.

1. Identify your interests. What do you feel passionate about - children, social issues, gardening? It might help to look back over your life and remember what you found rewarding.
2. List your skills and talents. Do you have computer or writing skills? Do you understand accounting? Are you patient enough to work with children?
3. Decide what you are willing to do—and not do—as a volunteer. Do you enjoying talking on the phone or would you rather spend all day on a tractor? Do you feel comfortable with teenagers or do you consider them another alien species.
4. Determine how much time you can realistically volunteer. Some opportunities are a long term commitment; while others may be a one-time event - and fit your snowbird calendar.
5. Identify the organizations that could be good matches. Ask friends and family; or check the newspaper or Internet for organization’s that might fit. Most organizations are always looking for volunteers.
6. Contact the organizations that match. But let them know your interests and skills; what you can and cannot do and your time commitment.

After you find the volunteer opportunity that is personally rewarding and fits who you are, you will discover the difference it will make in your own life and in your community - guaranteed.

Speaking of volunteer opportunities, do you want to help a student find the right path? The Dalles Wahtonka High School is looking for caring and enthusiastic volunteers for their new MAPS Program. If you enjoy tutoring and mentoring young adults, please consider joining the team of MAPS Navigators! For more information, contact Ginger Gonzales, Parent and Community Involvement Coordinator at (541) 506-3449 ext. 4003 or at

Although many people have coped with loss in the past, it is always beneficial to learn more about dealing with the loss of someone significant in your life. The Seven Strategies: Coping with the Loss of a Loved One “will help identify unique factors affecting a person’s grief, different ways people grieve, how a person might access support as well as ways to honor a loved one”. The “Seven Strategies” presentation is free and open to anyone and will be held at the Center on Monday, May 7, 2012 from 6:00—7:30 pm. Anne Kister, Community Care Liaison for Providence Home Services, will be the presenter.

At the Center’s next Tuesday Lecture on April 17th at 11:00, local attorney Antoine Tissot will be speaking on the often requested topic: Wills. Antoine practices with Brad Timmons and has special training in Elder Law.

Tonight at the Center, Martin and Friends will be playing country western so you can dance with your sweetheart (or a good friend) till the lights go out. And next Tuesday the 17th Truman will be making his monthly appearance. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.

Whether you’ve been dancing since you were in diapers or you need to learn because your wife thinks it’s a good idea (I’ve been there!), Steve Hudson will be teaching another session of East Coast Swing starting Sunday April 15th from 7:00 - 9:00 at the Center. To reserve your spot call Steve at 541-993-3540.

The perennial candidate from Minnesota who ran for the Republican Party nomination for President from 1944 until 1992 was Harold Stassen. (And the winner of a Cherry Festival Breakfast on April 28th is Steve Bungum.) This week’s “Remember When” question is about memorable ads. In the radio commercial starting in 1959 and later in the animated television commercials, who did the housewife call to turn her hard water soft? Email your answer to the, call541-296-4788 or mail it to the Center on the back of a crisp C-note.

Well, it has been another week searching for that missing word on the tip of my tongue. Until we meet again, the person who truly gives is one who doesn’t take a tax deduction.

Aging Well April 3rd

People have been conned, scammed, bamboozled and hustled as long as there have been confidence men, flimflam artists and snake oil salesmen. It is nothing new but it when it happens to you, it can be both costly and embarrassing.

A recent example was shared with me by my local resident scam reporter - Helen Lynch. She received another dubious telephone sales pitch (she is on somebody’s list!) this time offering her a chance to purchase a Medical card that would pay all her medical expenses – but only if she gave them her bank account information. She didn’t take the bait because she knew never to give her bank information (or her social security number) to anyone over the phone. And if it is too good to be true, it usually isn’t. (But if you ever do agree to a telemarketer’s sales pitch, it is generally not binding until you sign a written contract.)

If you want to avoid telemarketing calls, you can sign up with the Do Not Call Registry by calling toll free 1-888-382-1222 or registering online at Registration is free and works for both landline and cell phone numbers. There are some exceptions and some companies do not always follow the law, but if you receive telemarketing calls 31 days after registering with the National Do Not Call Registry, you can report a violation by calling the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.

Another common complaint is aggressive door-to-door salesmen particularly selling products such as security systems, magazine subscriptions, and home repair. They are pressured to sell you a product - whether you need it or not. But remember, it is YOUR decision. And you do have some legal protection. If you sign a contract and have second thoughts, you have three days to cancel for a full refund if you spent $25 or more on the product or service. (They are required to provide you with the cancellation form.) But after the three days, you are legally obligated in most cases and it may be very difficult to cancel.

If you ever have any concerns about telemarketers, door-to-door salesmen or consumer related issues, you can contact the Oregon Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at the number I mentioned above or complete an online Consumer Complaint Form at Always be skeptical and tenacious. You don’t want to be the prize catch of an unscrupulous telemarketer or door-to-door salesman.

Several folks have asked about the next opportunity to safely dispose of their unneeded or expired medications, and now a date has been set. On Saturday May 5th the Center will host a “Drug Take Back” event organized by YOUTHTHINK. The goal is to improve drug safety, prevent drug misuse and abuse, and protect water supplies from drug contamination. And also in May, the Center will be partnering again with YOUTHTHINK to bring to the community “Educate Before You Medicate” a program to raise awareness about medication issues particularly for older adults. Further details will be coming later this month.

It’s been a while since I shook up the grammatical pop can to challenge your brain synapses. So let’s see how well you can understand this week’s Tuesday night music announcement without those pesky self-absorbed vowels. (But I’ll leave the band names intact.) Tnght t th Cntr, th pplr Dufur Boys frm Dfr wll b plyng fr yr dncng nd lstnng plsr. Nd nxt Tsdy Martin and Friends wll b plyng ld fshn cntry nd wstrn. Th msc strts t 7:00, vryn s wlcm nd dntns re lwys pprctd.

It wasn’t “Tell Laura I love Her”, “Dead Man’s Curve” or “Leader of the Pack”, it was “Teen Angel” the 1960 teenage tragedy hit song sung by Mark Dining. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on April 28th is Robert Kruckman.) And it has been several weeks remembering past entertainers and top 40 hits, so for this week’s “Remember When” question, let’s see who knows their obscure political history. Who ran for the Republican Party nomination for President from 1944 until 1992 and is often cited as an example of a perennial candidate? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it to the Center with a picture of Minnesota’s State Capital.

Well, it has been another week looking everywhere for the door that opens when the other one shuts. Until we meet again, remember to always stay on the bright side of the road.

“The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because by then, your body and your fat are really good friends” Unknown author


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