Aging Well in the Gorge May 23rd 2017

How many times have you driven through the Gorge and because you’ve experienced it so often, you’ve taken its unique beauty for granted - like the picture hanging in the living room you never notice anymore.

The problem is we look, but don’t really see.

One reason is that our brains are very efficient. From all our many years of accumulative experiences, our brains create mental models that label our perceptions. For example, if I am driving down the street and I see a large object with a windshield moving towards me in my lane, I don’t need to know what color it is or the make and model, before I veer out of the way. My mental model tells me quickly that it is another car - and crashing into it wouldn’t be good for my health.

But what if I want to paint, let’s say, the view from my front window. I have to go beyond my mental model and be truly conscious of what I am seeing in all its depth and complexity. It can be a whole new experience.

I’m not an artist - and far from an art connoisseur, but I have come to appreciate how looking at all types of art can help me better see the details and nuances in my environment; and to better understand the diverse ways artists have perceived their world to create art movements such as Cubism, Impressionism, or Dadaism.   

If you are interested in understanding how art can enhance your visual intelligence and how visual perception affects art, you’ll want to attend “Visual Perception and Art” at the Center on May 30th at 1:30 PM. This colorful and entertaining 90-minute presentation by Kerry Cobb, Executive Director at the Columbia Center for the Arts, explores the nature of seeing through art. You’ll explore the function of art, how to interact more enjoyably with art and learn ways to be more observant and aware of your environment.

You still have the brains, but are there ever times you just need a little “brawn” around the house to move heavy items?

Well I’ve got an answer for you. The Wahtonka Community School students are available on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month to load/unload your boxes, furniture, etc. or just move heavy things around the house. They cannot provide a moving truck, but they do have dollies to move the heavier items. To schedule an appointment, call 541-506-3449 ext. 3211.

The Nehemiah Brown Concert was canceled in March but it has been rescheduled for Friday, June 6th. Nehemiah has performed at the Center many times and every time people walk away impressed by his silky-smooth voice. Because the concert is sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center, the cost is only $3.00 per person.

The comedian/actor associated with the song “Thanks for the Memory”, first performed in the movie Big Broadcast of 1938, was Bob Hope. (I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Marcia Lacock, Joanne Smith, Betsy Ayers, and Patricia Pfenning this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week’s winner, who I forgot to mention, was Jerry Phillips.)

After last week’s interlude, it’s back to Hollywood movies, specifically the western. Contrary to the typical western of the time, this movie did not have the chases, bar fights or spectacular scenery. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the 1952 movie starring Gary Cooper as soon to retire Marshall Will Kane, and Grace Kelly as his new wife Amy Fowler, who were planning to leave town before they heard that an outlaw Kane had sent to jail was going to arrive on the noon train?  Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send with the song "Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin'", sung by Tex Ritter.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find time to work in the garden. Until we meet again, simple is not always easy.

“Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you.” Ogden Nash

Aging Well in the Gorge May 16th 2017

Some folks have minds like a steel trap. Mine is more like a wet noodle. And when you have to fly cross country for a week long family reunion, it can be a real test for that noodle.

Just remembering what to take is a challenge - hoping you haven't forgotten any of the essentials such as your toothbrush, your pills or enough clean underwear.

And then there is getting through the security check at the airport.

I get so flustered when I get close to the end of the security line trying to remember what I need to remove: shoes, hat, watch, the three screws in my hip?, I consider giving up and throwing myself on the conveyor belt and going through the X-ray machine head-first.

And then they pull me to the side and start ruffling through my carry-on while my wife’s giving me that “What did you do wrong this time?” stare, shaking her head when they pull out a bottle of Virgil Root Beer that I forgot to drink.

I did make it on the plane and to the family reunion in South Carolina, but it wasn't without mishap: I forgot my computer at the Center with this week’s practically completed column. So to keep it simple and enjoy the time with family, I am updating a past column – one that reminds us how to deal with an irritation of modern times that just seems to get worse.

Several folks at the Center have been talking about all the unsolicited calls they’ve received from telemarketers trying to sell them something they don’t want or need: a  vacation at the Marriott or a fantastic credit card deal. They are often scams but can also be calls from telemarketers representing Fortune 500 companies. But there are steps you can take to limit them. 
First, if you haven't already, register with the National Do Not Call Registry by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the phone number you wish to register, or go online at (For online registration you will need an email address.) Once you have registered your phone number, it is permanent - unless you have lost your mind and want to take your name off the registry. Also you may want to register your cell phone - although it shouldn’t be necessary because it is illegal in most cases for telemarketers to call a cell phone.

Unfortunately, the law does not prohibit calls from charities, political organizations, telephone surveyors and companies with which you've done business in the last 18 months. But for those telemarketers not covered by the Do Not Call regulations, you can ask them to put you on their  internal Do Not Call list, and by law they have to honor your request. Record the date you make the request, so you can report any future violations.

That should help, but telemarketers are tenacious. If you continue to receive unwanted calls, you can file a complaint with the FTC at the Do Not Call website or phone number.

But most importantly, never agree to purchase a service or product over the phone, and never give out your personal information. You don't want an irritation to become a financial headache.

While I don't have anyone scheduled for Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on May 23rd or the 30th, l’m still looking for someone to teach dance lessons on Tuesdays. If you of know of anyone, send them my way.

The name of the movie in which Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood struggled to adapt to “talkies" while Don falls in love with chorus girl Kathy Selden is Singin’ in the Rain. (Answers were received by Jerry Phillips and Marcia Lacock this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.)
Since I am out of sync this week, I’m going off on a tangent with a song I heard Louie Flint whistling at the Center. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what comedian/actor is associated with the song “Thanks for the Memory” and for five bonus points in what 1938 movie was the song introduced? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a picture of Bing Crosby on the road to Bali.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the scenic wonders of this beautiful country. Until we meet again, make each day a gift you can't ignore.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, and rest this afternoon.” Charles Schulz  

Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.
Wednesday (17) Potato Bar with Chili (Soup and Salad Bar) 
Thursday (18) Roast Beef (Music -Tom Graff)
Friday (19) Meatloaf (Soup and Salad Bar) 
Monday (22) Chicken Fried Steak
Tuesday (23) Buttered Lemon White Fish (Music - Nine String Band)

Aging Well in the Gorge May 9th

If you have been listening to the news, you know the House Republicans have finally made good on their promise of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act – popularly known as Obamacare. But the passage by the House is only the first act of this three-act drama that will affect millions of Americans. Although much of the debate has been focused on providing coverage for pre-existing conditions, there is more in the bill - much of which affects older adults. And from what I can decipher from all the speculation about the bill’s effects, there is both good and bad news for older adults.

The good news is that the Medicare Part D coverage gap (“donut hole”) protections created under Obamacare were not repealed. Since the enactment of Obamacare, more than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs.

The bad news is that Medicaid would be cut by $880 billion, or 25%, over 10 years and impose a “per-capita cap” on funding for certain groups including older adults. This is a monumental change and shouldn’t be understated. Since its inception, Medicaid covered any costs if you met the eligibility requirements for the service. But if this bill becomes law, Medicaid will be limited and there will no longer be a guarantee of service.

But what does Medicaid have to do with you? If you are fortunate and have built a nice retirement nest egg - and won’t need long term care such as in-home or nursing home care, probably nothing. But not everyone is sailing that boat.

To emphasize the importance of Medicaid for many older adults, nearly half of all Medicaid spending is for older adults and persons with disabilities which includes covering 60% of all nursing home residents and 40% of costs for long-term care services and supports. That’s a big deal.

But the curtain hasn’t closed. The Senate will undoubtedly make changes, and one can only guess what the final outcome will be. As it winds through Congress, it’s important to follow the legislative process, because for many older adults, the result could determine whether they live with dignity – or not.

After the 1-hour film, there will be a short presentation about various Japanese art exhibitions in the Gallery followed by a Gallery tour. You are asked to RSVP to Kristyn Fix at or call 541-387-8877 ext. 117. The Columbia Center for the Arts is located at 215 Cascade Avenue in Hood River.

Jan Leininger asked me to announce that the public is invited to the local chapter of the Oregon Retired Educators’ luncheon meeting on Tuesday, May 16th, at the Imperial River Co. in Maupin. The program will feature Linda Oram's 2000-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail last year.  Luncheon reservations must be made with Wilma Townsend, 541-296-4356, by Thursday the 11th.

Shades of Country will be back playing at the Center on Tuesday night, May 23rd. They have found their country groove and are sounding real good. Music starts at 6:30 and is open to all ages. Donations are always appreciated.

The world-renowned comic actor whose career spanned seventy-five years while directing and starring in silent films and eventually “talkies” was Charlie Chaplin. (Answers were received from Betsy Ayres, Marcia Lacock and this week’s randomly selected winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Jerry Philips.)

Continuing with “they-don’t-make-them-like-they-use-to” Hollywood movies, this week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1952 musical/comedy. What was the name of the movie in which Monumental Pictures' biggest stars, Lina Lamont and Don Lockwood struggled to adapt to “talkies" while Don falls in love with chorus girl Kathy Selden? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send with the movie The Dancing Cavalier.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to chew before I swallow. Until we meet again, don’t let the sun catch you napping.

“Right now I’m having amnesia and déjà vu at the same time. I think I’ve forgotten this before.” Steven Wright

Aging Well in the Gorge May 2nd 2017

Get out your paper and pencil, it’s time for a pop quiz.

1) How many Americans have Osteoporosis? 2) How many Americans have low bone density? 3) What percentage of woman will break a bone in their lifetime because of Osteoporosis? 4) What are the three keys to preventing and managing Osteoporosis?

How do you think you did? Because May is Osteoporosis Month, it’s a good time to learn more about why and how to keep our bones strong and healthy. Can you imagine without bones, we would just be a bunch of wrinkled clothes lying crumpled on the floor. But strong, healthy bones provide strength, balance, and support for our bodies, support for our muscles and protection for our internal organs such as our brain and heart.

The good news is that it is never too late to reduce the risk of our bones becoming weak and even breaking, so we can participate in activities such as dancing, golf, tennis and somersaults and jumping jacks and pushups – and now I’m tired!

You can learn more from Erin Haines, Certified Physician’s Assistant at Cascade Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Center, who will be discussing “Osteoporosis: Eat, Drink and Play for Better Bones” at the Center tomorrow, Wednesday, May 3rd from 11:00 to 12:00. 

Oh, and before I forget, the answers to the pop quiz are 1.) 10 million, 2.) 44 million, 3.) 50% of women, 4.) Diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

The Mosier Senior Center is hosting a Spring Craft Fair on Saturday, May 6th from 10:00 to 4:00 PM. There will be local vendors including handcrafted items, jams, jellies and other tasty treats. Admission is free. And if you haven’t heard, the Mosier Senior Center serves delicious meals every Monday and Wednesday starting at noon. The Mosier Senior Center is located at 501 E 2nd Street at Mosier Creek Terrace apartments.

If you appreciate local art, you’ll want to visit The Dalles Art Center which is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 – 5:00. Every month they have a new exhibit, and the opening reception for this month’s show “Bold and Diverse” is on Thursday, May 4th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM sponsored by The Friends of the Gorge and hosted by Jill Durow. And if you are looking for activities to keep the grandkids busy this summer, the Art Center is offering more classes than ever. But you’ll need to register ASAP, because there is limited space and classes fill up fast.

SoulCollage will NOT be held on May 8th at the Center but will be back on May 22nd from 10:00 to 11:00.

Martin and Friends will be playing at the Center’s Tuesday Night Music on May 9th. It is a great time to stretch your legs and get moving to some nice live country western sounds. Music starts at 6:30 and is open to everyone whether you enjoy the “Texas two-step” or a “country waltz”. And donations are appreciated.

Best quote of the week from Virginia McClain which many of us can relate to. “I don’t have to worry about the side effects of my new pill - I already have them all.”

The name of the CBS television show that aired from 1967 to 1969 and pushed the boundaries of television satire was the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. (Answers were received from Tina Castanares, Jim Ayres, Deloris Schrader, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Tiiu Vahtel.)

For this month’s “Remember When” questions, I’m moving from television to Hollywood movies starting off with a comic actor whose career spanned more than seventy-five years. In 1914, he started performing his famous character in films and by 1918 was one of the best-known figures in the world. He continued directing and starring in silent films, and in the 1930’s when movies were transitioning to “talkies”, he bucked the trend producing two critically acclaimed silent films City Lights and Modern Times. Who was this comic actor? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send with a picture of Jackie Coogan in The Kid.

Well, it’s been another week, watching good ideas pass through my mind but never wanting to stop and chat. Until we meet again, look around and find something to tickle you funny bone.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will make me go in a corner and cry by myself for hours.” Eric Idle


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