Aging Well May 28th

“If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.” Lois Wyse

Ah, grandchildren. For many, grandchildren have been the joy of their lives. For my parents, who retired between Florida and the mountains of North Carolina, they never visited me after my wife and I moved to Oregon. (I guess eighteen plus years raising me was enough!) But once my son Andrew was born, it didn’t take them long to say goodbye Ashville, North Carolina and hello The Dalles - living in our small basement apartment and inviting Andrew down stairs every afternoon for Sesame Street. You could tell who they were interest in seeing!

In Oregon, 6% of children under 18 are living in the homes of their grandparents and in a third of those homes, the grandparents are responsible for raising the children. And there are many more grandparents who everyday provide trusted, caring and affordable childcare while the parents work.

“The best baby-sitters, of course, are the baby’s grandparents. You feel completely comfortable entrusting your baby to them for long periods, which is why most grandparents flee to Florida.” Dave Barry

Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. And if you would like to learn “Why grandchildren do the things they do!” you are invited to the Center’s 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on June 4th. Valerie Kendrick, Director of Great-n-Small (MCMC’s Child Development Center), will discuss what to expect as children grow through the different stages of childhood. And as a bonus, you will learn several proven tricks of the trade to help children develop to their full potential.

“I don’t intentionally spoil my grandkids. It’s just that correcting them often takes more energy than I have left.” Gene Perret

And if you are still baffled by your grandchildren’s behavior, there is a FREE three-hour workshop on June 11th from 6:00-9:00 PM at CGCC.  You will learn how the revolutionary process known as "Pocket Full of Feelings" will give you everything you need to know to help improve your grandchildren's behaviors. Space is limited, so please register early to reserve your spot. Call 541-506-6130 or email

“What children need most are the essentials that grandparents provide in abundance. They give unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons in life. And, most importantly, cookies.” Rudolph Giuliani

It is not easy to maintain the grounds around the Center, but thanks to David Zopf, Gary Conley and the Union Pacific Retirees it gets done. And thanks Barb Pashek, who is following a line of volunteers (Mary Barrett, Betty Richmond, Prudence Amick) for giving her time planting flowers in the raised flower beds in front of the Center. But Barb and I have a special connection: both of us have lost a parent to Alzheimer’s. And consequently when we meet, we often check to see if either one of us has picked up the gene. So Barb, I just have to say “We will be friends until we are old and senile – and then we will be new friends!”

“The Cruise ships are coming! The Cruise ships are coming!” You can hear the cries coming from The Dalles Chamber of Commerce office. In order to prepare for the cruise ships, the chamber is stuffing tourist information packets, so the visitors can learn more about The Dalles and tell their neighbors and friends. That is a lot of work and they could use some help. If you are interested in volunteering during the tourist season give them a call at 541-296-2231.

And before the lights fade and the curtain opens, playing tonight at the Center is “The Dufur Boys” And on Tuesday, June 4th, The Strawberry Mountain Band” will knock your socks off. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question was Country Hall of Fame piano player Floyd Cramer. So you know your jazz and country music stars? How about folk musicians of the 50’s and 60’s? These three young men started performing in the San Francisco Bay area and in 1958 helped launch the pop-folk boom with their first album and its hit recording which sold over three million copies as a single. What was the name of this trio?  E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the lyrics of the Appalachian “sweetheart murder ballad” named Tom Dooley.

Well, it has been another week trying to slip out the back door while they’re knocking at the front.  Until we meet again, keep your shoes tied and never leave the playground.  

Aging Well May 21st

“Unleash the Power of Age” is the theme for Older American’s Month - celebrated every year in May to honor the remarkable work of older adults in our communities. Imagine what it would be like without older adults investing their wealth of life experience, knowledge and skills; improving the lives of others as church members, volunteers for non-profits and members of public commissions and boards. Projects would not be completed, less money would be raised and important decisions would be left undecided. And our communities would definitely not be as strong or healthy as they are today.

There are more ways to pick your pocket than the door-to-door scams and high pressure schemes I mentioned last week. And some are pretty convincing. I heard a recent example from Annie Lane who showed me the USPS envelope she received containing a letter and a Postal Money Order for $985.55 (which looked authentic to me). The letter told her to cash the Money Order immediately and keep $200 as a payment for being a Mystery Shopper (which she doesn’t remember ever applying for!). She was then told to secretly evaluate the customer service at a local Western Union store – and here’s the catch - by purchasing a Western Union Money Order with the remaining balance and sending the money order to a given name and address. Annie knew something was fishy: no letterhead, faulty grammar. The Post Office confirmed her suspicions by pointing out that the Money Order lacked a serial number. If she had cashed the Postal Money Order, she probably would have had to eventually pay back the $985.

There were several clues, but it is not that hard to convince yourself the offer is real. (Like I said, the Postal Money Order looked authentic.) If you ever receive such a give-away offer, talk to a friend first and then if appropriate, report it to the Oregon Department of Justice. Remember, “If it is too good to be true, it ….” – well, I think you know the rest.

If you want to be notified of scams, fraud and other consumer threats operating in Oregon, you can join the Oregon Scam Alert Network. It keeps you updated by email or tweets about important consumer information to protect yourself and share with friends. You can join the Scam Alert Network at

As the weather warms up and the days get longer, there is a powerful urge for many folks to go out and get down and dirty. If you are one of those folks - who are already pulling weeds, planting seeds, and cleaning out flower beds, you will want to read Master Gardener Mary Miller’s May/June issue of Garden Highlights. To start receiving this remarkable little electronic newsletter, email him at And if you don’t have access to a computer or email, stop by many of the local gardening stores - or come by the Center to pick up a copy.

Meals-on-Wheels and the Area Agency on Aging are inviting all of you who are “young at heart” to a Senior Prom on Friday May 31st from 5:30 – 8:00 PM at the Center. There will be beverages, food and music provided by the Sugar Daddies. You don’t have to dance, or wear a formal outfit, or awkwardly ask someone to go with you, but your ID will be checked at the door.

And before the cat stalks and the birds scatter, playing tonight at the Center is “Truman”. And on the 28th The Dufur Boys” from Dufur are back to make you sit up and take notice. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

“A-Tisket, A-Tasket” was sung by the Queen of Jazz: Ella Fitzgerald (And the winner is William VanNice.) For this week’s “Remember When” let’s move to another genre of American music – country. What was the name of the piano player born in 1933; inducted in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003; was one of the architects of the "Nashville sound; toured with Elvis Presley (and played piano on Elvis’s first national hit “Heartbreak Hotel”); and recorded several hits including “Last Date”? (And there is not a Lewis in his name!) E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the Million Dollar Band that often performed on Hee-Haw in the 1980’s.

Well, it has been another week trying to make my life legible. Until we meet again, as I was reminded before yoga class by Debra Lutje "It's never too late to have a happy childhood”. 

Aging Well May 14th 2013

As we move closer to summer and the temperatures rise, it’s the time when door-to-door salespeople start hitting the sidewalks. And because of recent complaints, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is warning Oregonians that "Although most of the activity conducted by door-to-door salespeople is legal, there are some solicitors who do not follow the law, and even more who use aggressive tactics".

For more information about door-to-door sales and what to do, not do and to avoid, you can go to the Oregon Department of Justice’s website at

But for you busy people, here is the short and sweet version. (1) Don’t open the door; (2) Don’t let them in; (3) Don’t sign on the spot; (4) Be aware of scams; and (5) If you do sign a contract, you have only THREE days to cancel.

But I have another suggestion. Why not open the door wearing a "Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" (or Michael Phelps Speedo brief) with a glass of red wine in one hand and an open umbrella twirling in the other. That should be enough to frighten any salespeople so they won’t ever come knocking again. (Just make sure you have a good explanation when the police arrive!)

Last week I mentioned the public transportation options in Wasco County provided by the Transportation Network (LINK). But for our neighbors to the east, the Sherman County Community Transit also provides dial-a –ride services plus weekly trips to The Dalles on Mondays and Thursdays for $5.00 round trip. For more information call 541-565-3553, Monday through Thursday from 9:30 – 3:30.

The last of this spring’s Creative Arts Classes led by Debra Jones will be held at the Center on Tuesday May 28th at 1:00. The theme is Memorial Day Memories where participants will cut strips of fabric on which everyone writes the name of someone they want to remember. The collected strips will be strung together and hung for everyone to see. And for next fall, Debra is already preparing for the classes starting in September.

But if your creative itch needs scratching before then, The Dalles Art Center is offering two classes. The first is Mosiacs with Toms Royal: a series of five classes where you will create your own stunning original mosaic piece of art. The class will be held on five consecutive Thursdays starting May 23rd from 5:00 – 9:00 PM at the Art Center. The cost is $150 plus $20 supply fee – payable at signup.

And Gayle Weisfield will be teaching a Beginning Watercolor Workshop – touching the basics of watercolor, brushes, paints, paper, washes and terminology. That class will be held on June 22 & 23 from 10:00 to 4:00 PM. The fee is $110. For more information about either class call The Dalles Art Center at 541-296-4759.

It is again time to light up the gas stove for another Saturday Breakfast on the 18th from 8:00 – 9:30 PM sponsored by Leann Curtis and her team at The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center. Why cook when you can enjoy a delicious breakfast, gather with friends and support the Center at the same time. And all for only $5.00.

No Tuesday Lectures on May 21st and 28th but will return on June 4th when Valerie Kendrick, Director of Great and Small Child Development Center, discusses “Why Children Act the Way They Do”. And on June 11th Tim McGlothlin, School District #21’s Technology Coordinator, will discuss how technology is used to enhance education.  

And before bugles blow and the foxhounds take off, playing tonight at the Center is “Martin and Friends”. And on the 23rd “Truman” will be playing his “Country Gold”. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The first name of Mr. Ed’s eccentric owner was Wilbur. (And this week’s winner is Dee Holt.) And for this week, the “Remember When” question came from a recent donation to the Center of fifty plus CDs featuring music from the 40’s and 50’s including several from this American Jazz Vocalist known as the “Queen of Jazz”. She performed from 1934 until 1993 and had such hits as the 1938 song “A-Tisket, A-Tasket” as well as the influential “Song Book Series” on Verve Records between 1956 and 1964. What is her name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a copy of the 1972 “Is it live or is it Memorex? television commercial.

Well, it has been another week trying to walk the tightrope without falling. Until we meet again, don’t let the fear of flying keep you from taking off.  

Living Well May 7th 2013

How do you travel to the store, your church or to visit friends? Do you ride a bike, or a four wheel electric scooter? Or do you careen around town on a Vespa like Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn in the movie “Roman Holiday”? According to a national study those of us over 65 years of age make roughly 90% of our trips by car - demonstrating how dependent we are on the automobile for our transportation needs. But for an increasing number of older folks, driving is no longer a possibility. Fortunately, there are several public transportation alternatives.

 In Wasco County, the Mid-Columbia Council of Government's Transportation Network (The LINK) provides both dial-a-ride services throughout Wasco County, and fixed route services within the City of The Dalles and even to Hood River and Portland. The Dial-A-Ride services are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM but you need to call in advance to schedule them. The busses are lift-equipped to assist riders who require the use of a wheelchair. The fare is $1.50 one way.

The Transportation Network also offers in The Dalles a “Shop Till You Drop” fixed route loop every Monday and Wednesday from 10:00 AM till 2:00 PM going between Bi-Mart and downtown - and hitting the major shopping areas in between. Fare is $3.00 for unlimited stops.

There is also a fixed route between Hood River and The Dalles that operates three times every weekday with stops at Wal-Mart, Providence Hospital and CGCC (HR) along the way. Fare is $3.00 one way. And if you want to explore Portland, the Transportation Network offers bus service to Portland every Thursday leaving The Dalles at 7:30 and returning by 5:10 with stops at the Gateway Max Station, Art Museum, OHSU and the Clackamas Town Center. Fare is $8.00 each way.

For more information, call the Transportation Network at 541-296-7595, 1-877-875-4657 or go online at Or you can attend the next Passport to Happiness event at the Center on Wednesday May 15th from 3:00 – 4:30 where speakers from the Transportation Network will discuss public transportation options in the Mid-Columbia area.

May is Older Americans Month - but more about that next week, because May is also Community Action Month. And to celebrate, the Community Action Program (CAP) is hosting their annual Open House at 312 E 4th Street (the house with the red door across from the Civic) from 11:30 till whenever the hotdogs and hamburgers run out. Besides providing low income energy assistance for seniors and administering the AARP Tax Aide Program, CAP also operates the Community Food Facility that provides food to many local food agencies. And to help stock the local food banks, this coming Saturday is the Letter Carrier’s Food Drive. So don’t forget to leave a bag of canned food next to your mailbox.

The Mid-Columbia Housing Resource Center is now taking a limited number of pre-applications for a potential Regional Home Repair Program for residents of Wasco and Hood River Counties. This program will provide grants up to $15,000 for low to moderate income homeowners to make needed health and safety repairs to their homes. Call David Peters 541-296-3397 x18 for more info or go online at

 Unfortunately, I have to reschedule Valerie Kendrick’s May 14th presentation on how to better understand your grandchildren (and learn a few tricks too) to June 4th. Instead, the next 11:00 Tuesday Lectures will continue the discussion about how to fund the growing need for long term care. And before the water boils and the teapot whistles, playing tonight at the Center is “The Strawberry Mountain Band”. And on the 14th Martin and Friends will be back strumming for your dancing and listening enjoyment. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

The name of the talking mule in the 1950’s movie series was Francis. (And this week’s winner is Alex Currie.) Following the same theme, this week’s “Remember When” question is about a television series that began in 1961 on CBS starring a talking horse named Mr. Ed. But he would only talk to his eccentric and klutzy owner played by Alan Young. What was the owner’s first name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Bamboo Harvester - the horse that portrayed Mr. Ed from 1961-1966.

Well, it has been another week looking life in the eye and trying not to blink. Until we meet again, most things are never as easy as you first thought, nor as hard as you now believe.


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