Aging Well in the Gorge January 31st 2017

The Center was back to normal - open for the whole week without any cancelled classes or delays. And with the three snow storms that I’ve counted so far this winter season, I’m hoping the snow forecasted for later this week never occurs. 

Because this Friday, February 3rd, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide starts downstairs at the Center. Tax-Aide offers free tax preparation help for low and moderate income taxpayers with a special emphasis on older adults. The cadre of dedicated volunteers have been training for weeks to be ready for all your questions, so they can prepare and file your taxes electronically.

AARP Tax Aide help is available at several locations in the area.

At the Center the hours are from 2:00 – 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 – 1:00 on Saturdays. It is first come first serve, but you will know when you arrive if one of the volunteers will be able to see you, so you won’t have to wait around for hours and not receive any help.

The Tax-Aide location in southern Wasco County is at the Tygh Valley Community Center on Thursdays from 8:00 – 12:00 pm. There is also no appointment necessary.

In Sherman County, you will need to call (541) 993-1054 to schedule a Saturday appointment at the Rufus Community Center.

To save yourself an extra trip, you will need to bring proof confirming your identification, income, and deductions such as the following documents. (For a full list of the documents you should bring, you can call the Center or go online to

Identification: last year’s tax return(s), Social Security cards or other official documentation for yourself and every individual on your return; photo ID; and your checkbook or a voided check if you want to direct deposit.

Income: W-2(s), SSA-1099 Form showing the total Social Security benefits paid to you for the year, and a 1099-R Form if you received a pension, annuity, or IRA distribution.

Deductions: if you are itemizing your deductions, you’ll need to bring documents for any deductions such as your 1098 Form showing any home mortgage interest; and a summary of contributions to charities.

The first weeks are usually very busy, so if you can wait, it won’t be as crowded. The last day will be Saturday, April 15th, so you do have some time.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 15 – You can take the classes you really want – such as classes at the Center, The Dalles Art Center or CGCC where adults 65 or older are eligible for a 50 percent tuition discount on tuition for many credit and non-credit classes. And there are online courses for little or no cost at Couresa, the Khan Academy and other websites.

Is it a lie if you said what you thought what was going to happen, but it didn’t? Because the last three weeks, I have written that there will be live music at the Center on Tuesday nights, and yet each Tuesday you would have found the doors locked and the lights off.  

But I promise, on my 1966 high school yearbook, that this coming Tuesday, February 7th, there will be live music at the Center with Andre, KC and Joe playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated.

I remember watching the movie African Queen for the first time and getting shivers when Humphrey Bogart climbed out of the river covered with leeches. So, I can easily remember the quote, "If there's anything in the world I hate, it's leeches - filthy little devils!" (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Lucille Stephens, Tina Castanares, Marcia Lacock, Sandy Haechrel and Mary Davis.)

I’ll close out the month with one last movie quote from the1967 American comedy-drama film directed by Mike Nichols. For this week’s “Remember When” question, in what movie did a recent college graduate receive the following career advice "I just want to say one word to you - just one word.... 'Plastics.'” Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of the movie’s soundtrack that included the song “The Sound of Silence”.

Well, it’s been another week, looking forward to seeing the green grass of spring. Until we meet again, take your time, because really there isn’t a reason to rush.

"To shorten winter, borrow some money due in spring." W.J. Vogel

Aging Well in the Gorge January 24th 2017

This is a time when I wish I was spry enough to do cartwheels! Because thirty years after the Center was built; and eight years since funds were first raised to remodel the Center, it’s celebration time. Why? Because with the Building Permit taped to the front window, Jeff Cochenour and his team will start construction to install the elevator this week. And that’s exciting!

The first stage is to frame in the new addition to the front of the building, north of the entrance. This will be the new space for the NU-2-U Shop which is being displaced by the elevator.

This will include removing the snow in front of the Center - which should be completed by the time you read this; laying the concrete for the foundation of the new addition - which should start on Wednesday; and leveling the exterior walkway that borders the front of the Center and goes to the stairs – which could occur as early as February 1st.

But to accommodate this construction, we will need to make several adjustments. There will be the temporary loss of three parking spaces to the north of the entrance; and the exterior stairway to the downstairs will be blocked off forcing anyone who wants to enter the downstairs to use the lower parking area and entrances at the back of the Center.

I will post signs showing how to navigate around the construction and the best way to get downstairs. But please watch out for the workers and equipment.

Joan Silver, who has done an outstanding job as chairperson of the project, will be providing updates which I will email out to everyone on the Center’s email list. If you want to receive the updates electronically, email me and I will make sure you are on the list.

I know these changes are inconvenient for all of us – I’ll be getting in more steps during this time.  But we ask for your patience as we do our very best to keep the inconveniences to a minimum.

And hopefully by May, we will be able to celebrate again when the elevator is operational and the downstairs is then easily accessible to everyone.

I imagine many of you watched or listened to the Presidential Inauguration with either excitement or despair. But there is no argument, big changes were promised. And I suggest we all keep a watchful eye on the legislative proposals that emerge to make sure there will be adequate funding for services to protect and support older adults, particularly the most vulnerable, as well as our children when they reach their retirement age.

Last Tuesday, the weather was better, but wasn’t good enough to ask the Simcoe Boys to drive all the way from Goldendale. But the long-range forecast doesn’t show any precipitation, although it still won’t get much above freezing. So, the weather shouldn’t be your excuse for missing the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on January 31st. But there is a problem. I’m not sure who’s playing. But there will be somebody, so you and your partner can warm yourselves up on the dance floor. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 14 – You’ve mellowed like a fine wine. Or as Rose Kennedy once said, “I'm like old wine. They don't bring me out very often - but I'm well preserved.”

It was in the 1942 movie Casablanca that Humphrey Bogart said "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Caroline Wood, Lucille Stephens and Sandy Haechrel.)

For this second week of movie quotes, it’s another Humphrey Bogart quote, but I hope more challenging than last week’s. (We’ll see how many answers I receive this time.) So, for this week’s “Remember When” question, in what movie did Humphrey Bogart say "If there's anything in the world I hate, it's leeches - filthy little devils!"? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or have two Methodist missionaries deliver it.

Well, it’s been another week, feeling like a bear looking for a cave to hibernate. Until we meet again, don’t let one bad day ruin your whole week.

"When I was young, I loved summer and hated winter. When I got older I loved winter and hated summer. Now that I'm even older, and wiser, I hate both summer and winter."

Jarod Kintz

Aging Well in the Gorge January 17th 2017

All I’ve been thinking about these last couple of weeks is the weather with all the cancellations and delays. And what’s distressing is even when we get past this way-too-long snow and cold spell, there are still sixty-two days till the start of spring. Can you believe that? I think there should be some meteorological law that states the harder the winter, the quicker spring arrives! And February 1st would not be soon enough.

Even though I’m an eternal optimist, I don’t think that will happen, so a few winter safety tips could still be helpful. But what don’t you already know about staying safe during the winter? I mean you have made it this far - and you have probably seen much worse. So, what more do you really need to know?

I’m not sure there’s much, but maybe a few reminders found at might help you be prepared for some of the more common winter conditions.

Hyperthermia: This is one situation most of us won’t have to worry about unless you are cross country skiing the Tilly Jane trail. But if you are the adventurous type, be aware of the warning signs for hyperthermia such as cold pale or ashy skin; feeling very tired or confused; and slowed breathing or heart rate. But don’t depend on shivering as a reliable sign. Older people tend to shiver less or not at all when their body temperature drops.

Fires and carbon monoxide: If you use a wood or gas stove, make sure it is properly used, vented and cleaned. You can even install carbon monoxide detectors in your house. If you use space heaters for extra heat during these very cold days, make sure the they are at least three feet away from anything that might catch fire.

Shoveling snow: This can put added stress on your old ticker when it is already working double time to keep warm in the cold weather. So, don’t push it or hire someone. Slipping and falling: Every winter I hear of someone breaking a leg, arm or hip. Be particularly careful of icy steps and pavement that appears just wet but is iced over. Have your walkways cleared of snow and salted; wear boots with non-skid soles; and use a cane or ski pole when walking.

But you knew most of that, right?

So maybe the best advice is just to be alert and take your time. We may not be as quick or flexible, but our years of experience should make us smarter and wiser so we can be safe during these winter months.

The average high temperature in The Dalles for January is 43 and the average low is 29. So who knows, the temperature just might meander above freezing sometime soon. We can only hope. Which means it will be safer to come to the Center’s Tuesday night music and hear Country Road perform on the 24th. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are always appreciated. 

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 14 – Big photo albums. Although they may soon be a thing of the past, as society moves to storing digital pictures somewhere in the “cloud”.

In the1965 epic romantic drama Dr. Zhivago, Lara was the woman Doctor Yuri Zhivago fell in love with while married to Tanya. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Marcia Lacock, who loved to play on her piano the theme song Somewhere my Love, which was also called Lara’s Theme.)

If you are stuck inside, you might be watching old classic movies on TCM or Netflix, so for the next several weeks of “Remember When” questions, I’m going to give you a movie quote and see if you can remember what movie it came from. To start off, in what 1940’s movie did Humphrey Bogart say "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it on the back of a picture of "Rick's CafĂ© AmĂ©ricain".

Well, it’s been another week, STILL waiting for the snow to melt - but please not too fast. Until we meet again, as the writer Hal Borland once wrote "No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." 

The problem with winter sports is that--follow me closely here--they generally take place in winter." Dave Barry

Aging Well in the Gorge January 10th 2017

“Uncle!” I give up! I’ve had enough snow with all the cancellations and disruptions. I’m beginning to wonder, is it something I did? But maybe this will be the end of the wintry mix because, really, how long can this keep going on? At least we don’t live in Minnesota where they have four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction.

But if the weather has kept you inside and you haven’t had a chance to regularly exercise, there are exercises where you don’t even have to leave the house. And all you need are a tennis ball, chair with arms, weights, and a towel.

In a well-rounded exercise program, the exercises should address three areas of your fitness: strength, balance and flexibility. I’ll describe a couple of examples for each area to give you an idea of how simple they are. But if you want to find more exercises, plus tips on how to stay motivated and tools to track your exercise, go to the website Go4Life.

But before you start, a few safety tips: breathe regularly during exercise, use smooth steady movements when lifting weights, keep your arm and leg joints slightly bent, always bend forward from your hips - not your waist; and most importantly: repeat the exercises, but stop if you feel pain.

Okay, here we go.

Strength exercises: Hand grip – slowly squeeze a tennis ball. Wall Push-Ups - pushing yourself off the wall (that’s the wall - not the floor!).

Balance exercises: Stand on One Foot – stand behind a sturdy chair holding on for balance and lift one foot and hold; and then repeat with other foot. Heal-to-Toe Walk - walk heel-to-toe while focusing on a spot ahead with arms raised to your side.

Flexibility exercises: Thighs – stand behind a sturdy chair and hold on for balance. Bend your leg back and grab your foot and gently pull your leg until you feel a stretch in your thigh. Shoulder and upper arm - stand straight and grab a towel in your right hand, raise hand and hang towel behind back. Reach behind lower back with other hand and grab end of towel. Pull the towel down with your left hand.

Now that you know how simple it is to exercise in your own home, you can start anytime. But if you want something more structured, there are many opportunities including CURVES, The Dalles Fitness and Court Club, Water’s Edge or any of the many affordable classes at the Center.

Even with ten inches of snow outside, there are many ways to be physically active can even make up your own exercises. The point is to find something you enjoy and keep doing it.

For the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on January 17h, if the weather cooperates, the Simcoe Boys from Goldendale will be performing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are always appreciated.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 13 – Time to finally write that great novel. Or how about your life story for your children and grandchildren? How I wish I knew more about my father’s life which he seldom shared thinking it wasn’t important.

The 6’9” basketball forward who played for University of Oregon from 1968-1971, led the Pac-8 in scoring for two straight seasons, and whose son now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers is Stan Love. (The winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Jerry Phillips and Lee Kaseberg, a true Duck fan from Wasco, who pointed out that Stan’s son, Kevin Love, spurned his father’s alma mater and instead played for UCLA.)

All this snow reminds me of the film Doctor Zhivago - the 1965 epic romantic drama set in Russia prior to World War I and during the Russian Revolution of 1917–1922. It won five Oscars, but lost best picture to The Sound of Music. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the woman who Doctor Yuri Zhivago fell in love with while he was married to his wife Tanya? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of Somewhere My Love performed by the Ray Coniff Singers. 

Well, it’s been another week, waiting for the snow to melt so the garbage can be picked up. Until we meet again, remember, this too shall pass.

"A snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together!" Author Unknown

Aging Well in the Gorge January 3rd 2017

The Center had to cancel its New Year’s Eve Bingo Bonanza - and guess why? It wasn’t because of the snow - which thankfully was beginning to melt off. It wasn’t because I had plans to stay up all night partying – I’m lucky to stay awake past 10:00. It was because our only available Bingo caller was sick with the flu.

But she wasn’t the only one with the flu. Last week, the North Central Health District reported there has been a sharp increase in cases of influenza, both state wide and locally, as compared to last year.

Unfortunately, most reported cases are of Influenza A/ H3 which this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t cover. It is still recommended to get a flu shot since Influenza A/ H3 isn’t the only flu strain going around this season. But to reduce your risks this year, you may want to particularly practice good health habits: avoiding close contact: staying home when you are sick; covering your mouth and nose; washing your hands with soap and water; and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

If you do exhibit mild symptoms of the flu, just stay home, rest and avoid others (unless you are at a high risk or are concerned about your condition, then you should call your healthcare provider). But if you have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, severe or persistent nausea, purple or blue discoloration of the lips, or seizures, you should seek medical advice promptly.

Thank-you to all of you who were 2016 Center Member’s. With less than 1% of the Center’s funding coming from government sources, your memberships are critical - providing over 15% of the Center’s operating budget.

But it is a new year, and the 2017 Membership Drive has started - with an added twist. To show our appreciation, this year all 2017 members will receive a sheet of discount coupons to ten local businesses. If you use just half of the discounts in 2017, you will save the cost of the $35 basic membership.

We couldn’t do this without the support of the local businesses that are offering the discounts: Casa El Mirador Fine Mexican Dining, Sawyer’s True Value and Just Ask Rental, Cannon Packer Gift Shop, Griffy’s Quick Lube, Klindt’s Booksellers, Allen’s Food Center, Beachwood Eatery and Lounge, Ere’s Beauty Salon, Subway, and Montira’s Asian Market.
There is not an age limit to be a member, although to be a voting member at the Center’s annual membership meeting you must be fifty or older. The cost is $35 per person, $60 for a couple or $50 to be a Super-Duper member. You can pay your dues at the Center, by mail or online at
For the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on January 10th, Martin and Friends will be performing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are always appreciated.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 12 – More time to read to your heart’s content – especially if these cold snowy days has kept you under house arrest and you’re tired of watching television.
The two-time All-American OSU defensive lineman (and two-time NCAA wrestling champion and 1968 Summer Olympian) who caught USC tailback O.J. Simpson from behind to preserve the Beavers' 3-0 win over USC in 1967 was Jess Lewis. (Both Mary Davis and Harold Stephens were close, but the only correct answer was from Al Wynn. And to celebrate the new year, all three win a quilt raffle ticket.)

After asking an OSU sports question, I am obliged to ask a University of Oregon question - particularly since as a U of O graduate, I felt left out last week. So, for this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the 6’9” basketball forward who played for University of Oregon from 1968-1971, led the Pac-8 in scoring for two straight seasons, and his son now plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers?   Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a Beach Boys album.  

Well, it’s been another week, keeping an eye on the ice. Until we meet again, it’s okay for an embarrassing mistake to spoil your dinner, but don’t let it ruin a good night’s sleep.

“Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”  Hal Borland


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