Aging Well in the Gorge December 26th 2017

As we reflect back at the end of another year, did you ever expect to be where you are now? You started a point A, life bounced you around to point B, and then somehow you stumbled onto point C. And now many years later, here you are at point H, wondering how did that happen! Life is unpredictable and although we try to steer the ship, there always seems to be deep currents or dark storms sending us off course.

So we do our best, minding our p’s and q’s, appreciating our friends and neighbors, nurturing the best in ourselves, and still dreaming about what can be. And as we start this great adventure for another year, not knowing what we will discover, I would like to share with you one of my favorite quotes.

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.” Eleanor Roosevelt.

As if I had this planned, I’ll end 2017 with the final lesson from the Blue Zone’s Power of 9 which is the “Right Tribe”. Blue Zone researchers found that individuals who lived the longest were either born into or created social circles that promoted healthy behaviors. This isn’t new. Remember when your parents told you to be careful who you hung out with. They knew your social networks could affect your immediate behavior. But research has also shown that your friends can have a long-term impact on well-being and can affect whether you smoke, are overweight, happy or even lonely.   

So if you want to enjoy good health and live longer, join the right tribe and surround yourself with supportive, positive individuals who push you to become a better and healthier person.

As we end this year, I want to thank everyone who has supported the Center through their donations of time or money, whether large or small. The list is too long to name every person and business, but you know who you are.

But I also want to thank everyone who has given to their communities whether as a driver for the Tygh School Center Community Bus or for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels;
volunteering at the Warming Shelter or the SMART program; or whether you serve the community through one of the many service organizations.  

For every negative story you hear, there are many more positive uplifting tales of service that are done not for the recognition, but because someone needed to step up and do it. For all of you, take a moment and pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, “Good job”. You are the heart and backbone of your communities.

The actor/singer who sang the Christmas classic “Holly Jolly Christmas” featured in the 1964 Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was Burl Ives. (I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Don McAllister, Jerry Philips, Jess Birge, Betsy Ayers and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Dave Lutgens – who, if you are an old timer, may remember him as “Shakey Dave”.)

You can’t think of New Year’s Eve without thinking of the late Dick Clark. How many times have you watched Dick Clark host the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and the annual ball drop in Times Square? (Now with the Internet, you can watch the ball drop in Times Square live and still get to bed by 9:15 - which works for me.)

But Dick Clark’s first claim to fame was hosting a television show featuring teenagers dancing to the top 40 hits – which I remember watching to learn the latest dance moves. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this show and for bonus points, in what east coast city was it first produced? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a 45 record of “Palisades Park” by Freddy Cannon who appeared on the show 110 times.

Well, it’s been another week, making it up as I go. Until we meet again, have a safe and Happy New Year.

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more and don’t get so worked up about things.” Kenneth Branagh

Aging Well in the Gorge December 19th

This special time of the year brings back fond memories of young children playing around the house, excited and full of anticipation waiting for Santa’s arrival. But since my own kids have grown, left their safe harbor for grad school and careers beyond, it just isn’t the same. No longer is there time for the whole family to search for that perfect Christmas tree, judging and debating which tree would look best in the living room – and afterwards spending the evening decorating it with handmade ornaments saved from their elementary school Christmas projects.

No longer do we drive around town after the Christmas Eve service to “ohhh” and “ahhh’ at the houses illuminated with festive colors, first began when it was the only way to get the little ones to fall asleep on the “night before”. And no longer do we frantically wrap the presents after the children fell asleep, so they could magically appear under the Christmas tree - just as Santa would have left them. Now it is gift cards and frantic after Christmas shopping - looking for those bargain items too expensive or frivolous to purchase during the rest of the year.

But it is not all lost traditions. There are new ones. Flying to California (which is a nice reprieve from the cold weather) to visit our son and daughter. And Skyping with my sister and brother back east - while still learning the social protocols of visiting long distance in this modern way.

Then one day - maybe, just maybe – Christmas past will return with the sound of little feet once again running around the house as the grandkids come to visit their grandpa and grandma during this special time of the year. You can always hope.

The 8th lesson in the Blue Zones Power of 9, “Loved Ones First”, is appropriate for this week when families gather for Christmas. Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. They keep their aging parents and grandparents nearby or in their home (which is certainly not the American norm any more); they commit to a lifelong partner; and devote their time and love to their children.

During this Christmas season, I hope you have the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones - young and old. And to appreciate how important and comforting loved ones and family are, even with all their flaws - and all of ours.

During this holiday period, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. In addition, Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on the day after Christmas. Also, several of the Center’s activities will be taking time off. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Chair Yoga, Strength Yoga, and Zumba Gold will not meet. Tai Chi and Line Dancing/Clogging will be taking a break until February. But if after all the Christmas cookies, you feel you need some exercise, Strong Women will still be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 – 3:00. If you have any questions about the classes and activities, call the Center at 541-296-4788.

The actor who portrayed Ted Hanover, Jim Hardy’s (Bing Crosby) musical partner in the 1942 film Holiday Inn, was Fred Astaire. (I received correct answers from Jerry Philips, Diana Weston and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Betsy Ayers. But we will all have to wait until the Cherry Festival breakfast for the next quilt raffle drawing – which like Christmas, will be here sooner than we think.)    

It’s the week before Christmas, and it wouldn’t be right not to have another Christmas related question – but this time it’s music. There are many popular Christmas recordings from the all-time favorite “White Christmas” to “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by Jimmy Boyd. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what actor/singer sang the Christmas classic “Holly Jolly Christmas” featured in the 1964 Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a cat from a hot tin roof.

Well, it’s been another week, looking for a spot to park at Fred Meyer. Until we meet again, have a Very Merry Christmas.

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas." Calvin Coolidge

Living Well in the Gorge December 12th 2017

Have you ever felt lonely wishing you had more friends or family to share stories, reminisce about the good old days, and to complain how the world is going to hell in a hand basket?

If we are lucky, we may live a long life, which often means we become one of the last ones standing, outliving most of our friends. (I believe it was George Burns who said one advantage of living to 100 is you don’t have to worry about peer pressure.)

But there is a difference between being lonely and being alone. Loneliness is the subjective feeling of isolation, not belonging, or lacking companionship, different from more observable indicators such as living alone or the number of relationships. In other words, loneliness is more the difference between one’s desired relationships and one’s actual relationships. And it is now seen as a predictor of functional decline and death and a more important determent of health than just social isolation.

But it is tough to develop new relationships, new friends who enjoy the same things and have similar experiences to share. (Why can’t anything be easy!) You may be an introvert. Or your loneliness has morphed into depression and you just don’t have the energy. Or you’re just out of practice.

To deal with the feeling of loneliness, seek places where you can connect with others. On the Internet you can reconnect with family and friends through social media such as Facebook. (But be careful of the con artists who aren’t who they say they are.) You can take classes at the Center, enjoy a healthy Meals-on-Wheels dinner at noon, or attend a place of worship. Which brings us to the seventh lesson from the Blue Zone’s Power of 9 - “Belong”.

The inhabitants of the Blue Zones belong to a faith based community - and it doesn’t matter what faith, Christian, Buddhist or Muslim. It was found that being connected to a faith community and attending services four times per month could add 4-14 years of life expectancy.

Stay connected - including the supportive environment of a faith community that speaks to you. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it.

Thanks to the over 100 folks who attended the Center’s Holiday Breakfast. It was a tremendous success due to all the volunteers who made it happen: the kitchen and set up crews, the quilters who made the quilt that was raffled, and Boy Scout Troop #395 who washed dishes, bussed tables, and poured coffee. Thanks to everyone for a fantastic holiday breakfast.

Since Christmas is on a Monday, creating another three-day weekend/holiday, imagine yourself during those dark frosty evenings sitting in your overstuffed chair in front of the crackling fire place, watching on your big screen TV, Hollywood Christmas classics from the good-old-days. You probably have your favorites – my family’s Christmas eve tradition was watching The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Here are five more films to add to your Christmas viewing, recommended by “Rotten Tomatoes” a popular movie review website: It’s a Wonderful Life, which is on everyone’s list; March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland) starring Laurel and Hardy; Christmas in Connecticut, which I am planning to watch for the first time; Miracle on 34th Street, which won three Oscars, and my current favorite, Holiday Inn.

Which brings me to this week’s “Remember When” question. In the 1942 film Holiday Inn, which introduced Irving Berlin’s Academy Award winning, “White Christmas”, who was the actor that portrayed Ted Hanover, Jim Hardy’s (Bing Crosby) musical partner? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a clip of the fireworks popping Independence Day dance scene from the movie.

And before I forget, the general anesthesia with the unforgettable odor most of us experienced back in the not-so-good-old-days was ether.  (I received correct answers from Bernie Sleep, Don McAllister, Ed Anghilante, Jerry Philips and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Louise Wooderson. Louise shared the incredible story of when she was in second grade holding her breath when the ether was administered and waking up in the middle of the operation on her broken arm! Ouch!!)

“Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” Anthony Burgess

Aging Well in the Gorge December 5th 2017

How did December arrive so soon? And as quick as you can forget the name of a person you just met, 2018 will be here and we will be toasting in the new year with a glass of red wine - which is my segue to the sixth of the “Power of Nine” lessons from the Blue Zones. (But before we go any further, do you remember the first five?)

The sixth lesson is “Wine at 5”. People in the Blue Zones, except for the Seventh Day Adventists, drink alcohol moderately and regularly - generally one or two glasses a day with friends and/or with dinner. One of red wine’s possible benefits is that it has been found to help absorb plant-based antioxidants which may help protect your cells from damage.  (What about grape juice for non-drinkers? Some research studies suggest that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine.)

But there are always risks. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, after age 65, your lean body mass and water content decreases and your metabolism slows down. Translated that means alcohol stays in your system longer, so the amount of alcohol in your blood is higher than it would have been when you were younger. Consequently, at our age it is particularly important to be prudent and drink in moderation.

Also, if you are like me, you take more medications than when you were younger. The trouble is alcohol can interact with hundreds of prescription medications causing complications: nausea, fainting and headaches; and can interfere making the medications less effective or useless; or even harmful or toxic to your body.

As you enjoy your glass of red wine at 5:00 with friends or during dinner, drink moderately and read the drug labels to avoid harmful interactions - so you can live a longer, healthier, and happier life.

(The first five Blue Zone lessons are “Move Naturally”, have a “Purpose”, “Downshift”, “80% Rule” and “Plant Slant”.)

On two occasions this month, there will be special Christmas music before the Meals-on-Wheels noon dinner at the Center. Students from Colonel Wright will be singing on December 7th at 11:45 and on December 22nd, Bruce and Sher Schwartz will be playing special holiday music starting at 11:30. Besides the special music this month, Bruce and Sher will also be playing before lunch on the 8th; Andre and K.C. on the second and fourth Tuesdays, and Tom Graff on most Thursdays.

This sounds like fun and for a good cause. The Springs at Mill Creek is having their annual Gingerbread Open House on Thursday, December 7th from 5:30 – 7:30 PM and you are invited. Enjoy Gingerbread House creations, wonderful desserts, eggnog, cookie decorating and of course Santa. There is no charge, but each of the Gingerbread Houses will be available for the Silent Auction to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.

I know some of you have to be reminded more than once, so why don’t you do yourself a favor and stick on the door a note that says “Holiday Breakfast, Center, this Saturday, 8 – 9:30. $6. Yummy! Bring extra money for raffle tickets.”

The name of the song, an innovative combination of gospel and psychedelic rock sounds, sung by Norman Greenbaum was “Spirit in the Sky”. (I received correct answers from Deloris Schrader and Sonja Petersen-Talatzko who both win a free raffle ticket for Saturday’s quilt raffle drawing.)

This week let’s move from pop music to something less entertaining. I remember in the 1950’s having to have my tonsils removed. Before I could get to the promised milk shakes, I had to survive the surgery and I can still remember lying down and the nurse putting a mask with a terrible smell over my face and asking me to count to ten. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the type of general anesthesia that was used? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with any memories you may have had of this general anesthesia used during surgery.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to talk and chew (or do anything) at the same time.  Until we meet again, a bad memory isn’t all bad, because some have said it is the key to happiness.  

“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” W. C. Fields

Aging Well in the Gorge November 28th 2017

We often talk about living to 100 but there’s a time when you realize it is not the years in your life that’s important but the life in the years. But how can you make the most of your remaining years? Travel to far-a-way lands? Attend classes at CGCC? Hit the pubs on the weekend?

I have found from talking to older adults at the Center the main ingredient for living a happier life in your later years is attitude - particularly in the following three ways.

First, be open to change and avoid hanging on to what isn’t possible anymore. I’m not going to run a marathon again - I can hardly jog across the street! Second, be creative by finding new ways to enjoy what you once did. If you can no longer eat your favorite foods, experiment in the kitchen, and create new dishes. And third, focus on what you can still do and don’t go down the long dark alley of always complaining about what you can’t.  

By keeping a positive attitude and learning to accept and adapt, when life throws you a curve, you’ll find that you can still hit the ball out of the park.   

Last week’s lesson from the Blue Zones was to eat less – which these days is easier for me. (Just as its quicker for my bladder to feel full, it seems to be the same for my stomach.) But this week’s lesson may be harder. Lesson five from the “Power of Nine” is “Plant Slant”.

Like many of you, I was raised on hamburger, fried chicken, bacon and sausage. But according to Dan Beuttner, the inhabitants of the Blue Zones kept their meat consumption to a minimum and ate mostly plant based foods: beans, greens, fruits, nuts and whole grains. So during these wintry months, why not experiment and try some new healthy recipes with less meat. You can find some tasty recipes at Oregon State University’s website

As you consider all the holiday activities, don’t forget the local Habitat for Humanity Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 2, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM at the United Church of Christ 111, East Fifth Street. There will be craft vendors and baked goods. But what makes it a stop you don’t want to miss is the delicious homemade soup lunch with rolls, beverages, and a slice of pie for only $5.00!

December 7th is the last day for Medicare open enrollment. To compare Medicare plans, you can go online at But the easiest and most convenient way to compare plans and have your questions answered is to call the Center and schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA volunteer who can guide you through the Medicare jungle.

The Center’s Holiday Breakfast is December 9th from 8:00 – 9:30. And you can’t beat the menu: all-you-can-eat pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, juice and coffee – all for $6 per person and $3.00 for those 12 and under. It will also be your last chance to purchase a quilt raffle ticket before the drawing at 9:00 am. The sponsors are Dennis Morgan and Dean Dollarhide – who were the sponsors for last year’s holiday breakfast which was cancelled because of snow. But don’t worry. There won’t be snow this year. Santa promised!

The name of the Saturday morning cartoon canine hero in the episode “Simon Says, No Thanksgiving” was Underdog as in “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” (It was a tough question, but I did receive correct answers from Jess Birge and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Diana Weston.)

This one hit wonder was recorded in 1969 after the singer heard Porter Wagner singing a gospel song on TV and thought “Yeah, I could do that”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song, an innovative combination of gospel and psychedelic rock sounds, sung by Norman Greenbaum? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a Fender Telecaster guitar with a fuzz box.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to keep my shoulders back and my head up. Until we meet again, we take better care of ourselves by taking good care of each other.

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim.” Vicki Harrison

Aging Well in the Gorge November 21st 2017

We all face our own struggles and challenges as we get older – and it can be tough. But what can give us strength is to take time to appreciate the many ways we have been blessed: the grandkids - or great grandkids, the conversations with friends at lunch or bible study; or just the fact that we are still moving.  Helen Lynch recently told me, “I may take twice as many steps, but I still get there!”

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. By appreciating what we do have, we discover what is truly important - which aren’t the “things” that are constantly pitched to us this time of year. I hope you have found the joy in these “bonus” years of your life and the strength to overcome any challenges you may face. Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!

The “Power of Nine” are nine lessons from the Blue Zones – places in the world where the inhabitants have lived much longer, healthier, and happier lives than the average American. This fourth Blue Zone lesson is timely because during Thanksgiving there is a tendency, or even an expectation, to overindulge at the dinner table.

This week’s lesson is to eat less by following the 80% Rule: when you feel you are 80% full, stop eating. (But we can make an exception during Thanksgiving, right? I don’t want to offend the cook!)

The Center’s 2018 membership drive has begun. If you are 2017 member, you should have received your membership renewal letter in the mail.  But if you have never been a member of the Center and have been thinking that it’s about time to support the work of the Center, there is no better time than now. The membership fee is $35 person or $60 per couple or if you want to be a Super-Duper Member, $50 per person. Mail you check to the Center at 1112 W 9th Street with your name, address, phone number and email address. Or you can go to the Center’s website at And to all our members, thank-you for supporting the Center’s mission of providing older adults opportunities “to explore, connect and contribute”.

This is my last chance to shout from mountain high, THERE ARE STILL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE at the Keller Auditorium in Portland on Sunday November 26th. The cost is $75 which includes transportation. You have your choice of seats in the balcony or row D on the main floor. Call the Center by Wednesday or if you are a procrastinator, you can text or call me on my cell at 541-980-4645.

The medical equipment loan closet is one of the Center’s most popular services.  Whether it is because you can’t afford the equipment, you need something until Medicare authorizes it, or you just need a wheelchair for a weekend trip, give the Center a call first before you go buy something. The Center may have what you need, and the only cost is a suggested donation of $5.

The person who taught the young man to say “Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bang bang” to persuade a woman to return his love for her was the Witch Doctor, the title of the 1958 novelty hit. (I received correct answers from Jerry Phillips, Betsy Ayers, Don McAllister and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Jess Birge.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is a challenging one - about a 1965 special Thanksgiving television episode to honor the first appearance of this Saturday cartoon canine hero in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Let’s see if anyone in the audience can remember the hero in this popular Saturday morning cartoon series.

What was the name of the canine hero in the episode “Simon Says, No Thanksgiving” which also included Shoeshine Boy and his love interest Sweet Polly Purebread and the villain Simon Bar Sinister? (They sure had great character names back then!) Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of Wally Cox shouting "There's no need to fear, … is here!"

Well, it’s been another week, keeping the home fires burning. Until we meet again, the more you worry, the more you forget.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” Melody Beattie

Aging Well in the Gorge November 14th 2017

Ah, the holidays. A time to enjoy family, tell stories and eat too much. But it can also be a time of worries and stress: how long are my children and grandchildren going to stay; what presents do my grandkids want; and what do I talk about that won’t offend anyone?

Reducing the stress in your life whether during the holidays or for the rest of the year, can be described as “Down Shifting”, the third lesson from the Blue Zones - the name given to the five “longevity hotspots” discovered by Dan Buettner. If you recall, the first two lessons for living longer, healthier, and happier lives are to “move naturally” and have a “purpose”. 

Reducing stress is important because stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. To cope with everyday stress, the inhabitants of the Blue Zones have built into their daily routines ways to reduce stress: praying, enjoying happy hour, or my favorite - taking a short “power” nap.

Here are some additional tips that can help manage stress particularly during the holidays.
1. Reach out. If you need help, ask for it. Friends can provide support and companionship during stressful times. 2. Be realistic. The holidays don't have to be perfect. At our age who are we trying to impress? And I always figure someone has to lower the bar, so others can raise it later. 3. Set aside differences. Holidays are a time to come together - not to be pulled apart. If you hear irritating opinions, just listen this time. You will be better prepared for when you can tell them later how nuts they are. 4. Plan ahead. To avoid the last-minute panic, plan your shopping, cooking and visiting. It can give you a feeling of control – even though control may just be an illusion.
5. Take care of yourself. Learn to say no. Eat well, get enough sleep, and keep moving.

The holidays are to be enjoyed - not a time to worry. Benjamin Franklin had the right attitude when he said “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”

The Center still has a few seats available for the matinee performance of the Singing Christmas Tree in Portland on Sunday, November 26th. The cost is only $75 which includes transportation. Call the Center to purchase your tickets.

The Holiday Bazaar season has started and this Saturday, you can shop for your Christmas gifts at the St. Peter’s 39th Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s Academy and across 10th street at the Center’s Annual Holiday Bazaar. I can almost guarantee you will find something you like.

It is exciting to hear that the first phase of the Civic Auditorium’s theater renovation has been completed including updating the ceiling and walls, installing the HVAC systems, and re-installing seating for approximately 400 people.

The next phase is restoring the lobby. Towards that end, the Civic has received a significant pledge from an anonymous donor but is looking for donations to match it. This season consider giving to the Civic Auditorium - the place “Where It Happens”.  

And speaking of happenings, the Trail Band will be returning to the Civic Auditorium for their annual Christmas concert on Monday, December 11th. Tickets are $25 which can be purchased at Klindt’s Booksellers, the Civic or online at

The name of the television spy series starring Robert Vaughan as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin was the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement). (I received correct answers from Diana Weston, Jerry Phillips, Jim Ayers, Sandy Haechrel, Don McAllister and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Tiiu Vahtel.)

Throughout the history of pop music there have been “novelty” songs - from Ray Steven’s “Gitarzan” to Weird Al" Yankovic’s “Eat It”. This week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1958 novelty song. When a young man couldn’t get a woman to return his love for her, who taught him to say the magic words “Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bang bang”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording by the Chipmunks.

Well, it’s been another week, preparing for the coming holidays. Until we meet again, as Helen Lynch recently told me, “Keep your feet and mind going”.

“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” Doug Larson

Aging Well in the Gorge November 7th 2017

During the holidays, when you are spending time with family, it can often be frustrating trying to follow the conversations if you have hearing loss. Having poor hearing myself, I find it hard enough listening to my wife at home with no distractions. But she also knows the frustration and can get, should I say, a little irritated when I ask her to repeat herself for the 10th time. (Actually, it never gets that far - after the third time it usually is a loud “Never mind!”.)

But I have found some tips that can help improve communication when talking with someone with hearing loss.

The first are common sense: do not talk from another room; speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting; pause between sentences or phrases; and keep your hands away from your face while talking.

But here are five tips you may not have thought of.

1. Say the person's name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus at the beginning of the conversation. 2. Tell the hearing-impaired person if the topic has changed. 3. Don’t just repeat over and over. Instead try to find a different way of saying the same thing. 4. If you are giving specific information -- such as a phone number have them repeat the specifics back to you. Many numbers and words sound alike. 5. Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. (To avoid embarrassment, I often just smile and nod if I don’t understand.)

Also try to minimize extraneous background noise when talking. But if a noisy situation is unavoidable, like in a restaurant, consider the following: have the person with hearing loss sit with their back to a wall, avoid sitting near the kitchen and bar area, and if possible sit in a booth.

And finally, be patient. Hearing aids greatly improve the ability to hear but it doesn’t return the user’s hearing back to normal. They may hear the sounds but not understand the words. Or as I often tell my wife, “I heard you say something, but I have no clue what it was”.  

The Center’s Wednesday Lecture on Nov. 8th, at 11:00 will feature Rod Runyon who will share his experiences and the touching stories he heard while participating in the ten-day, 2,600 mile “Run for the Wall” motorcycle ride to honor military families. It will be a fascinating presentation.

National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner identified five “longevity hotspots” in the world where the inhabitants live much longer than expected. By investigating the lifestyles of the inhabitants of these Blue Zones, nine lessons have been identified to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

The first is to “Move Naturally” which I described last week. The second lesson is to have a “Purpose” – your reason for waking up in the morning. There is evidence that knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

Sometime early next year the local Blue Zones Project with be conducting Purpose Workshops. Each workshop is a two-hour facilitated process to identify your gifts, talents, passions, and personal values to help you live a more fulfilled and intentional life with purpose. Until then, what are your reasons for getting out of bed on a cold autumn morning - besides a hot breakfast!

The player who was nicknamed “Mr. October” because of his baseball heroics in October (as when he hit three consecutive home runs in the clinching game six of the 1977 World Series) was Reggie Jackson. (I received correct answers from baseball aficionados Don McAllister, Jerry Philips, Jesse Birge, Jim Ayers, and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Vince Zanobelli.)

This television series ran from 1964 through 1968 and led the spy-fiction craze on television. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television spy series that involved the two-man team of Napoleon Solo and the Russian Illya Kuryakin working for multi-national secret intelligence agency? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of the show’s pilot originally titled Ian Fleming’s Solo.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the cycle of the seasons. Until we meet again, don’t let the blues be the only color in your life.

“One is never wounded by the love one gives; only by the love one expects.” Marty Rubin

Aging Well in the Gorge October 31st 2017

The winter holidays are fast approaching: a joyful time to spend with family and to cherish and share all the holiday memories. But if you have lost a loved one with years of special memories, the holidays can accentuate the grief you may already be experiencing. Grief is very personal and there is no right or wrong way to experience it, no matter what well-intentioned advice you may hear. And as you navigate your way through the healing process, there is nothing wrong with asking for help.

There are several bereavement groups in the area, one of which meets at the Center on the first Tuesday of every month starting at 9:00 am. It is open to anyone, you just need to show up. During the November meeting on the 7th there will be a discussion of experiencing grief during the holidays.

The Center has purchased 12 tickets to see the Singing Christmas Tree for the 2:00 matinee performance on Sunday, November 26th. It is back at the Keller Auditorium in Portland where we have good seats on the orchestra level and in the balcony. The cost is $75 which includes the transportation, so you don’t have to worry about driving through downtown Portland. Everyone who has seen the Singing Christmas Tree in the past has raved about the performances. The tickets should go fast, so call the Center ASAP.

Last week I discussed the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles and the “Power of 9”: nine actions you can take to live a longer, healthier, and happier life. But I did not list them, and instead asked you to think about what they could be. Could you think of nine?
Well, we’ll see how well you did over the next nine weeks starting with the first of the “Power of 9”: Move Naturally. This is usually the first on everyone’s list, but usually mentioned as exercise such as walking, spending time in the weight room or the gym. But to move naturally is a bit more nuanced.

The inhabitants in the Blue Zones don’t necessarily think about moving. They just do it as part of their everyday lives - such as gardening or riding their bicycles to get around. And they don’t have all the modern conveniences that we see today as making life easier. So what can you incorporate in your everyday activities that provides more opportunities to keep moving naturally?

If you enjoy making and selling items for the holidays, there are still spaces available for additional vendors at the Center’s 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, November 18th. If you are interested, call the Center to sign up.

In 1957, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, New York. And how did they acquire the nickname Dodgers? At one time they were called the Trolley Dodgers, which was then shortened to Dodgers, because in the 1890’s when the electric trolley cars was first introduce, they proved much more dangerous than the horse drawn streetcars they replaced resulting in 51 deaths in 1883. And if you think it strange to be known for dodging trolleys, they were also called the Bridegrooms from 1888 through 1898.

(I received correct answers from Diana Weston, Ron Nelson, Sandy Haechrel, and Jerry Phillips, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And once again I was reminded I forgot someone last week: this time Sandy Haechrel who also receives a free quilt raffle ticket for my forgetfulness.)

One last baseball question to celebrate this year’s amazing World Series. Now that the baseball season has been extended through the month of October, there have been several players who have come through in the clutch during this critical month. One of those players was nicknamed ”Mr. October”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the player nicknamed “Mr. October” by catcher Thurman Munson? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a number 44 New York Yankee’s jersey.

Well, it’s been another week, always looking for the car in the parking lot. Until we meet again, don’t worry about what you can’t control, but focus on what you can.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’” Hunter S. Thompson

Aging Well in the Gorge October 24th 2017

Why do people in some regions of the world live seven to twelve years longer than would be expected? That is the question that has driven National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner to search for the lessons learned from these “longevity hotspots” in order to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.

It started with the demographic work by Gianni Pes and Michel who identified Sardinia, an island in the Mediterranean near Italy, as the region of the world with the highest concentration of male centenarians. On a map, Pes and Poulain drew blue circles around those villages of extreme longevity and began to refer to the areas inside the circles as “Blue Zones.”

Dan Buettner took the concept of “Blue Zones” further, identifying four other parts of the world with exceptional longevity including Loma Linda in California. Dan and his team of researchers studied those areas and found nine evidence-based common behaviors of the inhabitants which they called the “Power of 9”.

But what about genetics? Your genes do have an influence, but only between 20 - 30% variation in life span is due to genetics. The rest is due to environmental factors and lifestyle choices.  

Last Wednesday, Brett Ratchford from The Dalles Blue Zone Project team spoke at the Center about how the project team was working with community partners to use the lessons from the Blue Zones to improve the health and well-being of everyone in The Dalles. It is a three-year effort and right now they are just starting. But by January you should be hearing more about their work to make healthy choices easier so we can all enjoy more “years in our life and life in our years”.

You may have noticed I haven’t listed the nine common behaviors of the “Power of 9”. In the coming weeks, I will describe each of them, but until then what do you think are the nine behaviors for living a longer, healthier, and happier life?

As you may have read, the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG) is divesting itself of the programs they administer. That includes the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which provides valuable services for older adults in the five-county region of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties.

Because of MCCOG’s action, the State Unit on Aging, is now responsible for identifying a new administrative home for the AAA. To that end, the State Unit on Aging will be holding public meetings in all five counties to hear what the communities would like to see in a new AAA. In Wasco County, the meeting will be held at the Center on Tuesday, October 31st at 1:00 pm. (If you need transportation, you can call 541-298-4101.) And in Sherman County the public meeting will be held at the Sherman County Senior & Community Center in Moro on Friday, November 3rd at 12:00 pm.
The Center’s 4th Annual Holiday Bazaar will be on Saturday November 18th. There is still room for additional vendors, and if you are interested call the Center. And on the same day is the St. Peter’s 39th Annual Holiday Bazaar which will be held across the street from the Center at St. Mary’s Academy. This gives you a chance to check out two bazaars within walking distance for your holiday gifts.

The pant style from the 60’s when the legs of a pair of store bought pants were cut and sewn so they would be skin tight were called “pegged” pants. (I received correct answers from Diana Weston, and Deloris Schrader this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And a raffle ticket also goes to Rhonda Austin who I forgot to mention last week.)

Since the World Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros begins this week, I must ask a baseball question for all the baseball fans in the audience. In 1957, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. For this week’s “Remember When” question, where did they move from? And for bonus points, why are they called the Dodgers? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of Ebbets Field.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to get use to the darker mornings. Until we meet again, it’s never too late to try something new - but don’t expect it to be easy.

 “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” Bill Nye, the Science Guy

Aging Well in the Gorge October 17th 2017

Do you care for a loved one? Maybe you help with their grocery shopping, house cleaning, medications or provide emotional support. Or maybe you are a 24/7 caregiver caring for a spouse with advanced dementia or a serious chronic condition, assisting with their personal care and daily activities.

If you are caring for someone and are not paid, you are one of approximately 34.2 million family caregivers in America who provide unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. To acknowledge the importance of caregivers and their invaluable contribution to our communities, November has been designated National Family Caregivers Month.

In conjunction with National Family Caregivers Month, there is going to be the first ever gorge wide Caregiver Appreciation Day. It will be held on Saturday, November 4th from 10:00 – 4:00 at The Hood River Valley Adult Center (2010 Sterling Place, Hood River). It is free to all unpaid caregivers in the Gorge, and respite care for a loved one will be available. (Screening required.)

The event will start with opportunities for caregivers to pamper themselves: massage, acupuncture, and self-care workshops, followed by lunch with keynote speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Eckstrom, geriatrician at OHSU and co-author of The Gift of Caring. Then in the afternoon there will be educational sessions.

If you are an unpaid caregiver or know of anyone who is, you can register by going to the registration site at Or if you are unable to register online, contact either Melissa at 541-298-4101 ext. 1005, or Britta at 541-298-4101 ext. 1007 at the Area Agency on Aging. This event is organized by the Area Agency on Aging, Providence Volunteers-in-Action, Hood River Valley Adult Center and sponsored by many local organizations and businesses.

Caregiving is rewarding, but also demanding. Here are ten tips from the Caregiver Action Network to help caregivers care for themselves while caring for another.

1. Seek support from other caregivers. You are not alone! 2. Take care of your own health so that you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one. 3. Accept offers of help and suggest specific things people can do to help you. 4. Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors. 5. Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one. 6. Watch out for signs of depression and don't delay getting professional help when you need it. 7. Caregiving is hard work so take respite breaks often. 8. Organize medical information so it's up to date and easy to find. 9. Make sure legal
documents are in order. 10. Give yourself credit for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is!

What is this Blue Zone Project that has come to The Dalles? And why are the zones called blue? If you would like to learn more about the local Blue Zones project and the 9 components of living a longer, healthier, and happier life, you are invited to attend the Wednesday Lecture at the Center on October 18th from 11:00 – 12:00.

The name of the television show that aired on NBC from 1950 – 1959 and featured versions of the top songs in America was “Your Hit Parade”. (I received correct answers from Jim AYERS, Don McAllister, and she who does not want to be mentioned. But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Tiiu Vahtel - who can still remembers the closing song.)

Fashion is a funny business with fashion trends recycling through time. Today you see all ages of people wearing skinny pants thanks to the new elastic materials. But back in my high school days, skinny pants were also the “cool” thing to wear. And since I couldn’t find them in the stores, I had to beg my mom to sew the pant legs so skin tight I could barely push my feet through them. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was this style of pants called? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of yourself wearing this kind of pants.  

Well, it’s been another week, wondering what good news will come next. Until we meet again, as anonymous once said, “Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change.”

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” Hank Aaron

Aging Well in the Gorge October 10th 2017

As we age we encounter many different life stages. In August, I mentioned three stages when planning your retirement described by George H. Schofield, Ph.D.: New Freedom, New Horizons, and New Simplicity.

But there is another stage many of us will reach that isn’t as appealing. A time when the mind may be willing but the body isn’t; and your world seems to shrink and your options appear to evaporate. This stage can seem so scary, we often ignore it and avoid preparing for that time when we must make some very difficult decisions.

In an article for Next Avenue, Debbie Reslock urges us to understand what we fear so we can take responsibility for our lives and discover options that alleviate those fears, so we can make decisions that create a future we can accept and enjoy. And to do it before someone else makes those decisions for us.

There are three aging decisions she thinks we should start considering.

Continue to drive or hang up the keys? Most of us fear the day we can no longer drive. Ever since we were young, the car was a sign of our independence: our ability to be in control of our lives. We don’t want to lose that independence and become a burden for someone else. 

Stay in your home or move? Your home may now be more than you can handle, but it is familiar and full of memories. Do you modify your home, move into an accessible apartment, a retirement or assisted living community or move near your children?

Continue caring for yourself or ask for help? Struggling with daily life on your own not only presents challenges as we age but can contribute to depression and isolation. But no longer being self-reliant is hard to accept.

These are difficult decisions and the answers are unique for each individual. But it is not too early to be proactive. Start imaging your future life while understanding all the options and consequences, so if you do have to give something up, you can do it on your own terms. Because the ultimate loss of independence is when others, often well-intentioned, start making decisions for you.

Now that the elevator is running up and down, we have started straightening up around the Center and have found there is stuff that the Center really doesn’t need or have room to store. So, on Saturday, October 14th from 9:00 – 1:00, there will be a “house cleaning” sale downstairs that will include file cabinets, bookcases, motorized scooters (without batteries), lift chair, and miscellaneous odds and ends.

The next AARP Smart Driver Course will be held at the Center on October 16 and 17 from 8:45 am to 12:05 pm on both days. The cost is $20 and $15 for AARP Members. Call the Center at 541-296-4788 to sign-up. And at the class, you can enroll in a free 20-minute CarFit Safety event that will follow the class.

The title of the instrumental recording composed by David Rose that reached #1 in 1962 (and whenever you hear it you want to start gyrating and throwing your clothes off!) is “The Stripper”. (I received correct answers from Jim Ayres, Diana Weston and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Marcia Lacock.)

I have a faint memory of wanting to watch this television show so I could hear the week’s most popular songs – although I was always disappointed when the original artists didn’t perform. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television show that aired on NBC from 1950 – 1959, sponsored by Lucky Strikes, and featured versions of the top songs in America. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a group picture of Snooky Lanson, Russell Arms, Dorothy Collins, and Gisèle MacKenzie.

Well, it’s been another week, wishing and hoping. Until we meet again, don’t let doubt keep you from living. 

“What you eat today walks and talks tomorrow.” Esther Blumenfeld


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