Aging Well March 26th 2013

Senior Living March 26th
For over twenty-six years the Mid-Columbia Senior Center has played an important role supporting older adults in the Mid-Columbia Area by providing opportunities to explore, connect and contribute. And, whether you are 55 or 95; or visit the Center every day or once a month for breakfast, I am personally asking you to join the three hundred other members in supporting the Center and its mission of promoting healthy aging by sharing and caring. The membership dues are only $35 a year or $60 for a couple. And if you want to join Patti Blagg and become a Super Duper member, it is $50 per person. This is the last week of the Center’s Spring Membership drive, so mail your membership dues in now - before you forget again - to the Mid-Columbia Senior Center at 1112 W 9th Street, The Dalles, 97058. And THANK-YOU for your support.

Since watching the trailer for the documentary “Ping Pong”, about eight table tennis competitors with a combined age of 703 competing in the 80+ world table tennis championships, I have started a 60+ table tennis club at the center on Thursdays from 11:00 – 12:00 PM. Table tennis is a great sport at any age, but particularly when you are older because it has all the excitement and challenge of tennis, but easier on the body and knees. (When I turned fifty my knees went, and then at sixty it was my hearing. I am now looking forward with great anticipation to see what body part fails me when I turn seventy – and I can tell already, there will be several possibilities!).But we could really use several more players to join us - to add a little more competition, but more importantly, to remember after a long volley who was serving!

You probably have your own opinions about how Oregon supports low income families, but what do you really know? At the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on April 2nd ,Susan Gabay, who works for the Oregon Department of Human Service, will help you better understand how low income families are assisted in Oregon.

And before the troll comes our from beneath the bridge to “gobble me up” – let me quickly mention “For the Good Times” is playing tonight at the Center.  And next Tuesday it is back to the front of the line with ”The Strawberry Mountain Band”.  Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated

Last Wednesday, Lauren Kraemer, OSU Extension agent, discussed the importance and benefits of good nutrition at the March “Passport to Happiness” event. (The next event will be at the Center on April 17th.) I was once again reminded to eat more whole grains (which I am now doing), add color to my meals by including more vegetables and fruits (which I am trying), and to eat a variety of foods (but I like my banana every morning!). Lauren also prepared three different healthy dishes including one with Quinoa (it does taste good while taking less time to cook compared to brown rice) and a Popeye Power Smoothie (with, you guessed it, fresh spinach!) that you wouldn’t imagine tasting so good. You can find more of these “quick, tasty, and healthy recipes” plus some nutritious tips on the OSU’s web site at

But one of the ingredients Lauren used for the Popeye Power Smoothie was a cup of Nancy’s Yogurt - which brings us to this week’s “Remember When” question. In 1969 Nancy Hamren (the namesake for Nancy’s Yogurt) met this counterculture leader and author who invited her to take care of his Pleasant Hill, Oregon farm - which eventually lead her to working for the author’s brother at a little creamery in Springfield, Ore., What was the name of the author? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of “Further” the 1939 International Harvester School driven by the Merry Pranksters.

And I can’t forget, the 1971 bestseller that Frances Moore Lappe wrote claiming a vegetarian diet was better for the body and the planet was “A Diet for a Small Planet”. (And by a flip of a coin between the two entries from Jim Heitkemper and Joanne Scott (who really prefers cookies) the winner is Jim Heitkemper.)

Well, it has been another week watching soap bubbles dance in the wind. Until we meet again, the quieter you become, the more you will be heard.

“There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.”  Michel de Montaigne

Aging Well March 19th 2013

As we age, our natural social support system diminishes: friends and loved ones move or pass away and there are fewer opportunities to make new friends. And without this web of caring friends and family, when there is an emergency or crisis, there are fewer places to turn to for assistance. But for many, the Meals-on-Wheel volunteer, who delivers a nutritious meal at noon, Monday through Friday, is their support system - that daily contact. And because of that regular visit, folks feel healthier, more secure and can live in their own home longer - which is a pretty big deal. You can show your support and learn more about Meals-on-Wheels by joining the local “March for Meals” at the Center at 11:15 on Thursday March 21st. And if you know of anyone who has difficulty preparing a healthy meal or anyone who would like to deliver meals once a week, contact Meals-on-Wheels at 541-298-8333. While Meals-on-Wheels is a vital nutrition program providing hundreds of meals a week, it is also much more than a meal. Over the years, the Center has loaned hundreds of pieces of medical equipment, but once again the Center’s cupboards are bare. We will accept and put to good use any kind of medical equipment, but the Center is particularly in need of wheelchairs, rollators (walkers with four wheels and the seat) and commodes. And if you are in need of any medical equipment, give the Center a call first to see if we have the item in stock. With the help of Barb Thomas and Joyce Fargher, the Center’s Travel Club is considering several day trips during the spring. If you are interested in taking trips to WAAAM (Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum) in Hood River, The NW Senior Theater in Portland, the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, Washington or the Grand Floral Parade, call the Center. And if you have any ideas for other trips, please let us know. Now that spring is jogging around the corner, doesn’t it just make you want to start sorting and tossing and cleaning around the house and yard? (Or maybe not? Too many important basketball games to watch?) But while doing your spring cleaning, you are looking for a safe way to destroy your confidential documents without burning up the motor on your $25.00 shredder, I’ve got an answer. Gorge Security Shred is stopping by the Center every Friday between 12:00 – 12:30 to pick up documents to shred whether it is two pounds or two hundred!. (And it only costs twenty cents a pound - a quarter of what some businesses are charging.) Gorge Security Shred is a member of NAID (National Association for Information Destruction), licensed, and bonded and your documents will be securely transported in closed, locked containers to their warehouse where they are destroyed. Tracy Dugick, dietician for MCMC, will be discussing gluten free diets and healthy grain choices at the next Tuesday Lecture on March 25th starting at 11:00 AM. Gluten is the protein complex found in wheat and as more people are developing sensitivity to gluten, there is an increasing interest in the value of gluten free diets. And before the pig jumps out of the frying pan into the fire – playing tonight at the Center is “Truman”. And next Tuesday “For the Good Times” will be playing for you dancing and listening pleasure. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated The rivalry, beginning in the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship final, was between Michigan State’s Magic Johnson and the “Hick from French Lick (and yes there is a city in my fair state of Indiana called French Lick) Larry Bird playing for Indiana State. (And the winner is Bob Haechrel.) But enough basketball. This week “Remember When” question is about a book often found in the kitchens of the1970’s twentysomethings. What was the name of the 1971 bestseller written by Frances Moore Lappe (born in Pendleton, Oregon in 1944) that “changed the way America eats” by advancing the idea that meat production contributed to food scarcity and eating a vegetarian diet was better for the body and the planet. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the recipe for Ricotta Lasagne Swirls. Well, it’s been another week trying to focus on what is important instead of what is urgent. Until we meet again, it’s been said without money we’d all be rich. “It’s possible to own too much. A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” Lee Segall

Aging Well March 12th 2013

Henry Ford once said “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

If you agree with Henry Ford, there have always been ways to keep your mind active and young: libraries, museums, classes, local lectures and book clubs. But in the last five years, there has been an eruption of online possibilities to learn even more. You can hear more about DYI (Do It Yourself) education at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on March 19th when I will discuss and show examples of the many online options for life long leaning including iTunes U, Couresa, and the Khan Academy (if you want to see if you can now learn what you didn’t in your high school math classes). So even though you may feel like your body is waiting in line for the salvage yard to open, you are never too old to continue exploring and discovering the worlds around you.

The Third Saturday Breakfast at the Center is back! We took January and February off, but now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer, it is time to fire up the griddle. On the 16th from 8:00 – 9:30, Bonnie and friends will be serving a breakfast casserole with bacon, muffin, fruit and your favorite morning beverage. Come join the gang because as Jack always said “Food tastes better when someone else cooks it.”

Medicare 101, a free SHIBA presentation on the ABC and D’s of Medicare, will be held at the Columbia Gorge Community College on March 19th in the evening from 6:00 – 9:00 PM so those of you who are still working a day job can attend. Medicare has provided financial security and improved health for millions of older Americans, but like any insurance coverage it is not simple. If you are turning the big “65” in the next year, this is your chance to better understand the benefits and choices ahead of you. Preregistration is appreciated, but walk-ins are welcome according to space. Register by calling 541-506-6000 or visit the website at
It is time for all of us fair weather walkers to lace up our walking shoes and hit the pavement while enjoying the spring air and sunny skies. And soon Parks and Recreation, in partnership with OSU Extension, will be implementing the “Walk With Ease program: a six seek walking club designed by the Arthritis Foundation to reduce pain and improve overall health. But better yet, how about becoming a “Walk with Ease” program leader? Lauren Kraemer at OSU Extension is looking for a few good feet to lead the way. If you are interested, contact Lauren at

The Center’s next Creative Arts class led by Debra Jones will be held on March 26th from 1:00 – 2:00 PM. The attraction this time will be creating easy to make Easter Cards and decorations for the holiday.  The supplies are provided thanks to several generous donations (but if you have your own scissors, bring them along), so all you have to do is show up with $2.00 in your pocket. If you are interested call the Center soon, because the class is limited to the first ten people.

And before the rooster crows and the hens cackle – playing tonight at the Center is “Martin and Friends”. And next Tuesday Truman will be back crooning for you dancing and listening pleasure. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated

Bob Cousy was the point guard for the Boston Celtics who led the Celtics to five straight NBA Championships. (And this week’s winner is Jim Ayers.) With college basketball’s March Madness starting in a week, you may remember the 1979 NCAA Championship final between two Midwest “State” schools (still the highest Nielson rated final in NCAA history) that began an unmatched rivalry between two future NBA MVPs. Who were the two players?  E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with an autographed picture of the “Hick from French Lick”.

Well, it’s been another week listening to be buds sprouting in the night. Until we meet again, you know it is a good day when you can remember that you did take your morning vitamin pill!


“No matter how one may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science or the bicycle, he has embraced a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born into the world.” Frances Willard author of “How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle”

Aging Well March 5th 2013

It is a new month – a month of changes with daylight savings time starting on Sunday; the first day of spring on the 20th and Easter Sunday ending the month on the 31st. But March is also Nutritional Health Month in your Passport to Happiness Calendar. There you will find tips and suggestions about eating well such as when filling your plate, one half should be fruits and vegetables, one fourth lean protein (less than three grams of fat per serving) and the remaining quarter whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice or quinoa. (I had never heard of Quinoa - pronounced "KEEN-wah - but it is a favorite for many folks because it only takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook; tastes great by itself; has the highest protein content of all the whole grains, and is a gluten and cholesterol free. But if you are still not sure, just for you, I will try it and report back next week.)

You can learn more about the benefits of healthy nutrition at this month’s Passport to Happiness event at the Center on Wednesday March 20th from 3:00 – 4:30. And if you don’t have a Calendar yet, there are still a few left at the Center.

My wife tells me you need to hear something seven times before you remember it. (I wonder why she’s telling me!) But with that in mind, the iPad and Kindle User’s Groups meet tomorrow, the first Wednesday of the month: iPad users at 1:00 and Kindle users at 2:00.

And on the 12th, the first Creative Arts class, an Introduction to Watercolors, will meet at the Center. Last week, I pointed out the value of finding your inner artist and this class will be a great place to start the search. The Creative Art classes will be held every second and fourth Tuesdays in March, April and May from 1:00 – 2:00. Supplies are provided and the cost is only $2.00. It would be helpful if you called the Center to sign up, but if you are a last minute procrastinator, come anyway - we will make room.

If you feel your breathing difficulties are in charge of you, the Pulmonary Rehab Program at Water’s Edge can put you back in charge of your breathing. Susan Benedict, the Pulmonary Rehab Coordinator at Water’s Edge, spoke at last week’s Tuesday lecture about the benefits of Pulmonary Rehabilitation: a 10-week program that consists of physical conditioning, education on all aspects of lung disease and stress management. With a team of health professionals, you can improve your breathing and your peace of mind. If you have a been diagnosed with a chronic lung disorder, or experienced shortness of breath that compromises your lifestyle and want to learn more about lung disease and ways to breathe easier, talk to your health care provider or call Water’s Edge.

It’s been a while since I have tested your mental skills - or as the literary detective Hercule Poirot calls them - your “grey cells”.  So see if you can read the following announcement for Tuesday Night Music at the Center.

Nd bfr th rster crws – plying tnght t th Cntr s “The Strwbrry Mntn Bnd”. Nd nxt Tsdy Mrtn nd Frnds wll pt thr bst ft frwrd. Msc bgns t 7:00, vryn s wlcm nd dntns r lwys pprctd.

Motown was the recording company that charted110 top ten hits from 1961 – 1971 with their roster of stars including The Four Tops, The Supremes and The Miracles. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Alex Currie.)

But enough of TV and pop music, it is time to remember one of the greats of professional basketball during the 50’s and 60’s. Who played point guard for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963, won the NBA MVP in 1957 and teamed with center Bull Russell to lead the Celtics to five straight NBA titles from 1959 – 1963. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the #14 jersey that is currently hanging in the rafters of the Boston Gardens.

Well, it’s been another week, trying not to answer questions when I don’t know the answers. Until we meet again, keep your eyes open and your feet moving.

"I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living. It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities."—Theodore "Dr. Seuss" Geisel


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