Bingo every Thursday and Saturday Nights. Doors open at 4:00 and games start at 6:00. New players encouraged to arrive by 5:30. Payout over $1300 each night. Minimum buy-in is $10.

Wednesday Lecture
Learn about the D-21 Construction Bond Measure on the November Ballot
Wednesday April 25th 11:00

Painting and Poetry
Wednesday April 25th 1:00

UPDATED 4.19.18

Aging Well in the Gorge April 17th 2018


It seems as if every national organization or cause has designated a week or day to recognize their efforts. For example, this week is “Spring Astronomy Week”, “National Pet ID Week”; and I just have to mention “Interstate Mullet Toss Weekend” which has become one of the biggest beach parties on the gulf coast; raising money for local youth charities by seeing who can toss a dead mullet (a fish, not a dead guy with an ugly hairstyle) the furthest across the Florida-Alabama state line. Who would have thought!

But I digress. This week is also “National Volunteer Week” – a time to recognize the invaluable role of volunteers, many over 60, who are the fuel for much of the good that is accomplished in our communities. People being engaged, whether volunteering at their church, a service club or non-profit, visiting friends at a care facility, or by keeping an eye on their neighbor - because one of these days, their neighbor may be keeping an eye on them - is what makes our communities strong and vibrant.

But you may feel volunteering is uncomfortable. Like me, you may be afraid of “messing up”, although I’m getting use to that. Or you might be worried about taking on too much responsibility. Or afraid of “volunteer creep” when a one-day a week commitment turns into three and you wonder, “How did that happen. I’m retired!”

But volunteering is a win-win. Besides helping your community, by volunteering you can make new friends; learn new skills; enjoy a new challenge, and of course, have fun!

If you currently aren’t volunteering or would like to volunteer more, I guarantee there is a place that can use your skills and abilities. And for all of you who are already volunteering in either large or small ways, you deserve a big THANK-YOU!  

Besides volunteers, every non-profit I know needs financial support - and Habitat for Humanity is no exception. Tomorrow, April 18th you can enjoy a delicious assortment of pizza, pasta, salad and bread at the annual Habitat Pizza Feed from 4:30 PM - 7:30 PM PDT at Spookys. Tickets are $14.00 for ages 14 and over, $ 9.00 for ages 7 to 13, and $ 4.00 for ages 6 & under. You can purchase tickets at Klindt's Booksellers or the Habitat Restore on West Sixth. Proceeds will support Habitat’s good work building affordable housing in the Mid-Columbia.

These days if anyone asks for my opinion or advice I often respond with “It’s complicated … and I’m confused!” You may feel the same when reading about the D-21 School Construction Bond that will be on the November ballot.  

To help answer your questions and resolve any confusion, there will be a school construction bond presentation at the Center on Wednesday, April 25th at 11:00. I encourage you to learn more, so however you finally decide to vote, it will be based on a clear understanding of the construction bond measure and not any misconceptions.

The name of the basketball player who was a 12-time NBA All-Star; the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season; and was known as the Big “O” was Oscar Robertson. (Those who turned in correct answers by Friday were Don McAllister, Jess Birge, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu Vahtel, Bob Haechrel, Jerry Phillips, Lee Kaseberg and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Rhonda Austin.)

On March 7, 1955, during the first "Golden Age of Television", NBC presented Peter Pan live. It was the first full-length Broadway production seen on color TV which attracted a then-record audience of 65-million viewers. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who was the actress that played Peter Pan? And for bonus points, what Australian actor played Captain Hook? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a picture of J.R. Ewing and his mother.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to find my part in the next act. Until we meet again, as Ashleigh Brilliant once said, “It’s not easy to find yourself slowing down in a world that’s speeding up.”  

“A volunteer is a person who can see what others cannot see; who can feel what most do not feel. Often, such gifted persons do not think of themselves as volunteers, but as citizens – citizens in the fullest sense; partners in civilization.” President George H.W. Bush

Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.

Aging Well in the Gorge April 10th 2018


When I was growing up, my family always played cards when we went camping. The four of us would play Hearts, Pinochle, and the family favorite Euchre - which we still play whenever the McKays get together. (And if you would like to play Euchre, call the Center and we’ll see if we can get a group started.)

But that was before the advent of video games. Now according to an AARP sponsored study, 38% of adults aged 50-plus are gamers and what might seem surprising, 40% of women are gamers - more than the 35% of men. There are a variety of games available from shoot ‘em up adventure and fantasy games to tamer but challenging logic and puzzle games which you can play on your computer or video game console such as an Xbox. Nowadays you can even team up with out-of-town family members or friends to compete against players around the world. Pretty amazing.

But if you aren’t into video games or you want to see and know who you are playing against, you can choose from a variety of non-video games at the Center. They include Mahjong (Fridays at 1:00), Bunco (third Tuesdays at 1:00), Dominoes (Tuesdays at 1:00), and the Center’s most popular game Pinochle (Thursdays at 1:00 and Fridays at 6:00). All these games are open to players of any age and to beginners - which we all were at one time. The cost varies. Most of the games are $1 per person, but Thursday Pinochle is $2 and Friday night Pinochle is $6 of which $5 goes into the pot which is paid back to the winners. Come by and check them out.

You know it really is spring when the grass is tall enough to mow and Bruce and Lori Harris from Today’s Rays stops by the Center to turn on the irrigation system. A big thank-you to Bruce and Lori for their continued support of the Center.

What would it be like to ride a motorcycle from Portland to Panama City, then ride from Bogota, Columbia south to Ushuaia, Argentina (which considers itself the southernmost city in the world) and back north to Buenos Aries? I have no idea - except I know my rear end would be sore! But you can find out at the Center’s next Wednesday lecture on April 18th starting at 11:00 when Ron Carpenter will show videos of his 17,000-mile motorcycle trip through South America. (If you want a glimpse of his trip beforehand, search BlackdogGS on YouTube.)

The name of the television comedy, first aired in 1952, that featured the real-life Nelson family was Ozzie and Harriet with their children David and teen idol Ricky Nelson. (I received correct answers from Alice Mattox, Don McAllister, Lana Tepfer, Sandy Haechrel, Lucile Stephens, Jim Ayers, Sharon Hull and the winners of a quilt raffle ticket: Jeanne Pesicka who served Ricky Nelson when he performed at the Shamrock in 1985 and Darlene Merrick who owns an album autographed by Ricky Nelson. And once again I missed a couple folks, so a quilt raffle ticket goes to both Cheryl Green and Jim Ayers.

Now that the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball championships are over, it’s time to start down the road to the NBA championships. In Indiana, where I grew up, basketball was king (anyone see the movie Hoosiers?), and one of the all-time greatest NBA players attended high school in my hometown of Indianapolis. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who played in the NBA for fourteen years; was a 12-time All-Star; the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double for a season; and was known as the Big “O”. Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop your answer off with a 1956 Crispus Attucks High School yearbook. (And if you know the answer don’t procrastinate. Now that the Chronicle is mailed, I need to finish my column by the end of Friday.)

Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember what’s next on the to-do list in my head. Until we meet again, as Tom Graff reminded me, “Always make sure you put your socks on the right feet!”.  

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” Henry James

Aging Well in the Gorge April 3rd 2018


We all know walking is one of the best exercises, but why is walking with a group such a good idea when you can walk by yourself at any time you want?

On reason is that “any time” you want often becomes “no time” at all. I’ve been telling myself for the last two years I need to start lifting weights at home. But have I started. Nope! Having others to walk with gets you going when your “going” doesn’t want to go.

Another advantage is you develop closer relationships. When I use to run with my running buddies (before my knees stopped cooperating), there wasn’t anything to do when we ran but talk (and avoid the occasional skunk), so we filled the time sharing stories we wouldn’t think of sharing with anyone else.

So why don’t you join a walking group that fits your speed and schedule? You can call Taylor Smith at 541-705-5346 to join one of the local Blue Zones Project’s Walking Moais’. Or call North Central Public Health District at 541-506-2600 to learn about their “Step It Up” walking groups.

But if you are a cancer survivor or a friend or family member, consider attending the Kick-Off for “Step It Up! Survivors” walking groups which will meet at the Celilo Cancer Center’s Atrium (1800 E. 19th St) on Thursday, April 5th from 12:00-12:30. Sign up to walk, receive a welcome kit and learn how regular physical exercise can reduce cancer-related fatigue. Then on the following Wednesdays, you can join one of the 30-minute Wednesday Walks leaving the Celilo Cancer Center at 11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 4:45 p.m. Or you can join the Second Saturday Hikes which will be longer and locations will vary. You can call 541-296-7585 for more information.

The Dalles Art Center will be hosting the opening reception for their April Art Exhibition “People, Places and Critters” featuring the work of Judy White, Adah Iverson, Diana McElheran and Dawn Elle on April 5th from 5:00 – 7:00. Come and be inspired by our local artists.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the national effort to create Dementia Friendly communities. As part of that effort, the Dementia Friendly Gorge Initiative, GOBHI and Aging in the Gorge Alliance are bringing to the Gorge the educational program “The Challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease” on April 11 @ 1:30 PM in the GOBHI Training Room at 401 E 3rd Street, The Dalles. The event is open to anyone interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s and Dementia. To register contact Kris Boler 541.397.0548 or kboler@gobhi.net.

Last week I mentioned the Center is starting its Wednesday Lecture Series on April 4th when the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program (CAP) will show you how to save energy and money in your home. And you can take home a free energy savings kit!

But I have also scheduled two more lectures – or what may be more aptly described as travelogues of places far, far away. On Wednesday, April 11 at 11:00, Sandy and Bob Haechrel will show slides of their fascinating trip to Vietnam and what has and hasn’t changed since the Vietnam War. And then at 11:00 on April 18th, Ron Carpenter will show his slides and explain what it was like to travel through South America by motorbike.

The name of the 1960’s television series that followed the adventures of four young men trying to make a name for themselves as a rock 'n roll band was the Monkees. (Lucile Stephens’ (which she reminded me her name has only one “l”) was close with her answer, the Beatles - whose movie A Hard Day’s Night was the inspiration for the television series. But I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Walter and Rosemarie Lutz, and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Lana Tepfer. And another quilt raffle ticket goes to Alice Mattox who I missed last week.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television comedy, first aired in 1952 and featured the real-life Nelson family at home dealing with everyday problems. Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording of the 1958 number one hit, “Poor Little Fool”.

Well, it’s been another week, watching the temperatures rise. Until we meet again, don’t let your first step be your last.

“Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am.” Thomas Merton

Aging Well in the Gorge March 27th 2018


Who do you call if you have questions about services and supports for older adults? One of the agencies you could have called was the Region Nine Area Agency on Aging (AAA) which served Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam and Wheeler counties and was administered by the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (MCCOG).

But because of the dissolution of MCCOG, on February 1st the local office of the State Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) began temporarily administering many of the Region Nine AAA programs.

Area Agency on Aging (AAA’s) are essential in providing critically important supports for older adults such as in-home care through Oregon Project Independence, SHIBA’s Medicare counseling, caregiver supports such as “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” classes, and funding for community nutrition programs.

To continue to provide these services, it was announced last week that The Community Action Program of East Central Oregon (CAPECO) has been designated as the Area Agency on Aging to serve the Region Nine area. CAPECO is an I-84 neighbor, currently administering the AAA in Umatilla and Morrow counties and providing many other services to Gilliam and Wheeler Counties as the Community Action Program serving that area.

The local APD office will continue administering the AAA program during the transition to CAPECO which should be completed by September 1, 2018. These transitions can be difficult, but the good news is the local APD is learning more about AAA programs so in the future, there will be better coordination in supporting older adults in the region.

Although this may all seem confusing, (but, hey, you’ve learned five new acronyms to impress – or bore – your friends!), if you are interested in learning more about how the selection of CAPECO will affect AAA services in our region, I would encourage you to attend the public meeting APD will be holding at the Center on April 2nd starting at 1:00.

Its Spring! - and the activities at the Center are popping up faster than the daffodils in your garden.

On Wednesday, March 28th (which is tomorrow for those who don’t need to know what day of the week it is because every day is the weekend!), Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of Columbia Art Center, will lead a class on coloring for adults from 1:00 – 2:30 PM. Create, socialize, and enjoy the meditative relaxation of coloring pages from stunningly beautiful coloring books created by adults for adults.

At the Center on Wednesday, April 4th from 11:00 – 12:00, Mid-Columbia Community Action is offering a class on “Saving Energy (and Money) in Your Home”. Besides learning how to identify and reduce your home’s top energy wasters, you’ll receive a free energy savings device to take home.   

The Center has scheduled Nehemiah Brown to perform three times this year thanks to The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center’s financial support. Nehemiah’s first performance will be on Friday, April 6th before and after the noon lunch provided by Meals-on-Wheels. With a buttery smooth voice, Nehemiah sings pop, country, and gospel standards from the 50’s and 60’s. There is no cost, but you are welcome to enjoy lunch for a suggested donation of $3.75 for anyone 60 and over or $5.00 for anyone under 60.

The western themed American television series that was a Saturday morning staple in the 50’s and 60’s; and featured an Arizona rancher who flew a Cessna 310B named “Songbird” was Sky King. (No one sent me a Signalscope, but I did receive correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, Lucille Stephens, Don McAllister, Dave Lutgens and the winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Ed Anghilante.)

I remember going down to my dorm’s rec room at Purdue University to watch this innovative comedy that aired from September 1966 to March 1968. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this series that followed the adventures of four young men trying to make a name for themselves as a rock 'n roll band? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with one of Michael’s wool hats.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the hints of warmer weather to come. Until we meet again, if you can, do.

“When you have grown still on purpose while everything around you is asking for chaos, you will find the doors between every room of the interior castle thrown open, the path home to your true love unobstructed after all.” St. Teresa of Avila

Menu for The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels dinners served at noon in Betty’s Diner at the Center.

Aging Well in the Gorge March 20th 2018


Yeah, it’s finally spring! I know I’m supposed to appreciate the special beauty of winter, but I just can’t help feeling relieved when spring finally returns. But there is one downside. With the arrival of spring, my wife has this Pavlovian response to clean the house. Usually I have resisted, but this year it’s going to be different. For some reason, I feel it is time to “declutter” my stuff while I still have the energy and mobility.

But maybe the real reason is I read a special report called “Want to declutter your life? Here’s How” on the Next Avenue website which has inspired me to think, “Maybe I can do this.”

In the report, Heidi Raschke describes her “decluttering boot camp” - reading four books about decluttering in four weeks and applying them to her own life. From each of the books, she discovered decluttering tips of which I have listed a few of them below. And if you want to learn more, check out the four books or go online to www.nextavenue.org/special-report/want-declutter-life-heres/.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 1. Tidying “in one go” doesn’t mean one weekend — it’s a six-month endeavor. 2. Once an object has done its job, it’s time to let it go. 3. There’s no one-size-fits-all perfect amount of stuff. 4. Surround yourself only with objects that spark joy and get rid of the rest (which scares me because I’m afraid my wife will look at me, won’t see any “joy” and then toss me like an old musty book!)

Unstuffed: Decluttering Your Home, Mind and Soul by Ruth Soukup. 1. Say no to consumer culture. 2. Focus on making your home warm and welcoming rather than picture-perfect.

The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. 1. Getting rid of big items, such as furniture, is a great way to kick-start your decluttering. 2. Go room by room with bags and boxes, sorting everything into trash, treasure and transfer piles. 3. Create limits for everything you own. Then when something new comes in, something else goes out. 4. Clutter becomes invisible. Leave your house, and when you return look at it with fresh eyes. Note how you feel and decide if you like what you see.

The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker. 1. There is no right amount of stuff; “unneeded” is in the eye of the beholder. 2. Admit you own too many clothes. 3. Focus on quality, not quantity. 4. By reducing what you have, it can free you from acquiring and managing stuff, so you have more time to purse what you really care about.

But most importantly, which everyone overlooks, make sure you have a good friend who lives a cluttered life, so when you need that item you threw away, you know who to call!

I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say health insurance is simple. It’s not. So before you turn 65, you should learn the when’s, what’s and how’s of enrolling in Medicare. A good place to start is the Medicare 101 class which will be held on Tuesday, April 10th from 9:00 – 1:00 at The Dalles CGCC campus. To register call 541-308-8211 or go online at www.CGCC.edu.

Frank Sinatra recorded JFK’s presidential campaign song which was written to the tune of the 1959 hit single “High Hopes”. (I thought I would stump everyone, but I received correct answers from Jim Ayers, Dave Lutgens, Laura Albrecht and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Jody Cochenour.)

This western themed American television series ran from 1951 through 1954 with reruns continuing though 1966 on Saturday mornings. The lead character was an Arizona rancher and aircraft pilot who lived with his niece Penny on the Flying Crown Ranch, and assisted Sheriff Mitch. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this pilot who would fly “out of the clear blue western skies” in his Cessna 310B? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a Signalscope which included a glow-in-the-dark signaling device, whistle, magnifying glass, and private code.

Well, it’s been another week, pulled in so many directions I often feel six inches taller and 3 inches wider. Until we meet again, don’t always take the easy way out.

“I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.” Sara Teasdale

Aging Well in the Gorge - March 13th 2018


Have you found you are just not interested in most of your parent’s stuff? And neither are your children.

Times change, and styles and tastes change accordingly. (I’m still waiting for my suede coat with the big lapels to come back into style.) For example, these days depression era furniture has little value, while quality mid-century modern furniture is popular.

Also our lifestyles have evolved. My wife and I are trying to downsize and we don’t need any more stuff. And my children? Because of the high cost of housing where they live, they have adapted to living in a small space - and shopping at Ikea is their new norm. (A visit to my daughter usually means at least an afternoon of “bonding” by assembling Ikea furniture.) And when was the last time you used your fine china or silverware?  Even for Thanksgiving dinner, the “good stuff” is seldom brought out.

Recently, I read “Sorry. No One Wants Your Parent’s Stuff” by Richard Eisenberg on the website Next Avenue. He offers the following tips on how to help “unfurnish” your parent’s place – and possibly yours as well.

1. Get started while your parents are around. Learn the stories behind their stuff. It can make a difference whether you want to keep it or not. 2. If you are trying to sell the items, give yourself plenty of time to find buyers. 3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ furniture, china or crystal. 4. Get the jewelry appraised. There may be a treasure in your mother’s jewelry box. 5. Look for a nearby consignment shop or a person who liquidates estates. 6. See if someone locally could use what you inherited. 7. Download the free “Rightsizing and Relocation Guide” from the National Association of Senior Move Managers which can be found on their website. 8. And finally be prepared to be disappointed. That prized set of china your parents bought when they were newlyweds may not be worth much at all.

One of my frustrations is that children get to have all the fun. They can play with Legos, read comic books and color in coloring books. Well, I don’t have any Legos, but you can join Kerry Cobb, director of the Columbia Center for the Arts, for her class on coloring. This is your chance to create, socialize, and enjoy the meditative relaxation of coloring by coloring pages from stunningly beautiful coloring books created by adults for adults. The class will be held on Wednesday, March 28th from 1:00 – 2:30 at the Center.  

The next Blue Zones Purpose Workshop will be held Monday, March 19th at the Center from 5:30 – 7:30. The Purpose Workshop will help you identify your strengths and talents, so you can make a difference where you live and work - and by doing so, “add years to your life and life in your years”.

The Center was the location for this year’s MCMC Health Foundation’s Tradition of Compassion Awards. And seeing all the amazing individuals and businesses recognized for their good work, strengthens my pride in this community. But more importantly, their recognition can inspire us to continue doing what we can to make our communities a stronger and healthier place to live.

In 1962, Marilyn Monroe sang a sultry “Happy Birthday” to John F. Kennedy for his 45th birthday. (I’ve found one advantage of NOT being charismatic or good looking - there are fewer temptations!) I received correct answers from Susan Ortega, Kim Birge, Louise Wooderson, Ed Anghilante, Jim Ayers, Sharon Hull and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Sam Bilyeu.

But some thought last week’s JFK question was too easy, so for this week’s “Remember When” question I’m raising it a few notches.

Hubert Humphrey ran against John F. Kennedy in the 1960 Democratic presidential primary. But he found it frustrating because of Kennedy’s many glamorous friends including Frank Sinatra who recorded Kennedy’s presidential campaign song written to the tune of what 1959 hit single? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a DVD of the movie A Hole in the Head.

Well, it’s been another week hoping for the good to come and the bad to go. Until we meet again, take some time to decide what you really want.

“Confidence is the feeling you sometimes have before you fully understand the situation.” Anonymous

Aging Well in the Gorge March 6th 2018


What do most of us have in common? A pill box of assorted medications? We’re a little slower but smarter? A sense we’ve all been through this before? Well, yes. But what we also have in common is most of us have visited the Emergency Room at least once during the last ten years. In fact, nationally, the number of us “over 65’ers” account for more than 20 million ER visits annually.

But we all know returning home from ER doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory. There can be serious consequences from an ER visit, and it is important to know how, as a family member or friend, we can provide support once they return home.

In the article “For Elder Health, Trips to the ER Are Often A Tipping Point” written by Judith Graham for the Kaiser Health News, Dr. Kevin Biese, chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians’ geriatric ER accreditation initiative, offers these suggestions.

Make sure your loved one’s medications are the same as in the hospital’s computer. And don’t leave without knowing if any medications have been stopped or changed and why.

Make sure your loved one is comfortable. The average time a patient spends in an emergency room in Oregon ranges from 88 to 238 minutes. Bring her eyeglasses or any hearing-aid devices that can help keep her engaged. If there are indications of pain, encourage her pain to be treated.

Know what happened in ER including what tests were done and what treatments were given. Before leaving know what diagnoses the staff reached and what kind of follow-up is being recommended.

Communicate effectively. When the nurse or doctor explains what to do when you return home, repeat back what you heard to make sure you understood correctly. And don’t be hesitant to ask any clarifying questions.

Follow through. Ask about the next steps. Who is going to communicate with her regular doctor about what happened in ER? And should a follow up appointment be scheduled, and who should make it and when?  

Finally, the days after visiting ER are critical. If you can’t stay with your loved one, continue to keep an eye on her. You may want to arrange for extra help even if it’s only for a few days. (You can have meals delivered by Meals-on-Wheels.) Check in frequently to make sure the plan of care from ER is working. Are her needs being met, is her pain being adequately controlled (without the risk of addiction) and is her mental condition normal?  

The skilled nurses and doctors in ER want to make sure your loved one is given excellent care. But the emergency room visit is not the end, but just the beginning. It is important that you are both the comforter and advocate, so your loved one receives the best possible care during and after the emergency room visit.

I am scheduling a series of art programs that would include activities offered by the Columbia Center for the Arts and as well as documentaries about artists and various art movements. If you want to be contacted about these future programs, send me your name, phone number and email address.

I have only four tickets left for the matinee performance of the brand-new production of The Sound of Music at the Keller Auditorium in Portland on March 11th. The ticket price is $75 including transportation. Call the Center to purchase your ticket.

I remember back during high school, before grading on the curve became the norm, I had to score 95% to earn and “A”, and 88% to earn a “B”. But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Jim Ayers, (which will be raffled off at the Center’s Cherry Festival Breakfast) (Oops, I mean the quilt, not Jim!) remembers 92% would earn you an “A”.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, in 1962 Marilyn Monroe sang a sultry “Happy Birthday” to what world leader on his 45th birthday? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a Jean Louis designed dress made of sheer, flesh-colored marquisette fabric and embellished with over 2,500 hand-sewn crystals and 6,000 shimmering rhinestones.

Well, it’s been another week telling myself, “Focus! Focus!”. Until we meet again, even a blind pig can find an acorn once in a while.

“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” Ana├»s Nin

Aging in the Gorge February 27th 2018


The thought of losing your memory is scary and it’s not reassuring knowing that by 2025 7.1 million adults 65 and older will exhibit dementia with 60% of those individuals still living in their own homes and 1 in 7 living alone. (And every time I accidently put the cheese in the freezer, I wonder, am I going to be one of the 7.1 million?)

With this new reality, there is a growing national movement to create Dementia Friendly Communities: communities where more people understand dementia, where there is less fear of dementia, and people living with dementia are included and supported to live independently longer. This initiative offers guidance for every sector of the community from business and government to neighbors and friends.

Our community may not yet be ready to embrace this initiative, but there’re steps you can take to support people with dementia. Besides learning about the effects of dementia on individuals, families, and caregivers, you can treat people with dementia with dignity and respect by using the following ten dementia friendly communication skills. You can find more information at the Dementia Friendly America’s website - www.dfamerica.org.

1.Greet people warmly even if you think they do not remember you. If they seem confused, remind them who you are. 2. Slow your pace slightly and allow time for the person to process and respond. 3. Speak clearly and calmly, be patient and understanding. 4. Keep communication simple; ask one question at a time. 5. Listen with empathy and seek to understand the person’s reality or feelings. 6. Connect on an emotional level even if conversation topics shift or do not make sense to you. 7. Be aware of the person’s and your own body language: smile, make eye contact at eyelevel. 8. Enjoy spending time with the person in the present moment. 9. Offer hugs, hand holding as appropriate. 10. Avoid arguing with or embarrassing the person.

But doesn’t this advice apply to almost any interaction? I mean I wish my wife would slow down and speak clearly and calmly. (I can’t understand you!) And I’m sure she wishes I hadn’t embarrassed her by saying what I thought was a witty comment. (But the hugs and hand holding can make up for it all.)

Those with memory loss deserve to be treated with respect and dignity – not with pity.  And we can start by remembering to use these dementia friendly communication skills.

You’ll want to put this on your calendar! The Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation is holding a “Under the Sea Dance” for folks 55 years young and up on Saturday, March 10th from 12:30 – 2:30 at the Civic Auditorium. Enjoy an under the sea adventure unlike any other – and without getting wet! There’ll be music, dancing, snacks, and activities creating memories you’ll never forget. The cost is $15 per person and you can purchase tickets online at www.nwprd.org or at the door.

The fourth and final program for the Original Courthouse Regional History Series is “Obsolete U.S. Currency: From the Half Cent to the $100,000 Bill”. Rodger Nichols reveals what pioneers carried as pocket change and will share stories of odd and unusual currency. He is also willing to do a free evaluation of three coins or bills per person after his program. Program begins at 1:30 pm at the 1859 courthouse, 410 West 2nd Place.
The American female figure skater who won a Gold Medal in the ladies singles at the 1968 Winter Olympics was Peggy Fleming.  (This week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is the avid viewer of figure skating, Tiiu Vahtel.)

Now that the fun of the Winter Olympics is over, let’s get serious and talk about high school grades. Today to earn an A, you must answer 90% of the questions correctly, and for a B, 80%. But if my memory hasn’t failed me, it was harder during my high school days. For this week’s “Remember When” question, in high school what percentage of the questions did you have to answer correctly to earn an A; and a B? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with your senior year high school report card.

Well, it’s been another week, deciding what to do about the weather. Until we meet again, nature is not always a kindhearted mother.

“Here is a rule I recommend. Never practice two vices at once.” Tallulah Bankhead

Aging in the Gorge February 20th 2018

Last week you may have read an article in the Chronicle’s 2018 Life Planning Guide, encouraging parents to start a conversation with their adult children about such things as their hopes and fears, their financial situation, their personal property and long-term care.  

But as adult children, what should you say to your aging parents, or more specifically what should you NOT say? On the Next Avenue website, Linda Bernstein writes about “8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents” to avoid the conversational potholes especially when their health and cognitive abilities are declining. And though it speaks to aging parents, it could be applied to any family member or friend.

Would you say any of these things?

1. “How can you not remember that!?” Short term memory often goes before long term memory. You can remember what happened on your wedding day but forget what you had for breakfast. It is scary thinking you may be losing your memory. An alternative is to use post-it notes and reminder calls.

2. “You could do that if you really tried.” It’s hard knowing you can no longer do things you once were able to do. And it doesn’t help to be reminded. Try to find out what the specific difficulty is and see if you can work around it or find someone to help.

3. “I just showed you how to use the DVR yesterday.”
It is difficult to learn any new technology, but even worse if your cognitive abilities and eyesight are declining.

4. “What does that have to do with what we are talking about.”
Often conversations go rogue. Maybe it’s a reduced attention span, or they haven’t been able to follow the conversation because of hearing loss. In these situations, gently bring the conversation back around or just listen.

5. “You already told me that.”
How many times have you repeated a story? Be patient - even though this is the umpteenth time you’ve heard about the space shuttle lifting off at Cape Kennedy.

6. “I want your silver tea service when you die.”
Nothing like coming across as a circling vulture! Do remind them that by making their wishes known, it could avoid future sibling conflicts.

7. “Wake up! I thought you wanted to see this.”
Darkened rooms or theaters can be an automatic cue to fall asleep. (I don’t think I have completely seen any of the recent Star War movies.)

8. “Hel-lo?! Your grandson’s name is Ryan.”
Sometimes it is not what you say, but how you say it. Say it gently with a friendly smile.

Conversations can be frustrating, especially with someone in the early stages of memory loss. But be patient and gentle. There may be a time when you will find yourself on the other side of the conversation.

Sunday, February 25th from 10:00 – 1:00 is the Center’s Bagel Brunch prepared by the Bagel Guy himself, Rick Leibowitz. You will have your choice of four kinds of bagels, (and these aren’t your Fred Meyer Bagels, but handmade bagels your grandmother would have made), three flavors of cream cheese, and smoked salmon. In addition, there will be apple crisp and fruit salad. Tickets are only $10.00 and can be purchased at the Center. The Bagel Brunch is sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek.

A brand-new production of The Sound of Music is coming to Portland’s Keller Auditorium and you can be there. I have eight tickets left for the Sunday matinee performance on March 11th. The ticket price is $75 including transportation.

The two-time figure skating champion who first started providing figure skating commentary during the 1960 Winter Olympics was Dick Button. (Although he didn’t show me a double axel jump, the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Dennis Wygal. And from last week, I forgot to mention Jim Ayers, and the person with the mystery signature, Dennis Davis.)

Sticking with the Olympics, for this week’s “Remember When” question, what female figure skater won a Gold Medal in the Ladies Singles at the 1968 Winter Olympics, the only Gold Medal won by the United States? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with an a bottle of Robitussin.

Well, it’s been another week, taking it as it come. Until we meet again, it is what it is.


“I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is ‘Yes’.” Leonard Bernstein

Aging Well in the Gorge February 13th 2018

It's a mystery!

A box of exquisite, embroidered quilt blocks was found in an empty house and donated to the Center’s Quilters. Each of the sixty-three quilt blocks had a signature stitched into them, but the blocks were never made into a quilt – until now.

Francie Yuhas assembled the blocks into a queen size quilt and the rest of the Center Quilters hand stitched the quilt together with batting and backing. The finished quilt is now on display in the dining room at the Center. But here’s the mystery. The Center Quilters don’t know why these signed quilt blocks were made. Could it be for a wedding or family reunion quilt, or a quilt made for someone leaving the area? Some of the names on the quilt blocks are: Ella Craig, Leola Egbert, Ruby Franz, Gertrude Maier and Isabel Sandoz. (You can find a list of all 63 names at the Center.)

The Center Quilter’s would appreciate any information as to why the sixty-three names are represented on the quilt. If you have any information, call the Center or you can find the Center Quilters downstairs at the Center every Monday between 10:00 and 3:00 PM.

Did you know rural Americans are twice as likely to die from opioid misuse as their urban counterparts—and adults ages 45 and older comprise nearly half of these deaths? You can learn more about the effects of opioid abuse by attending the Webinar “Opioid Issues & Trends Among Older Adults in Rural America” at the Center on February 21st starting at 11:30. Afterwards representatives from YouthThink will answer any questions.

The Flu can have serious complications particularly for older adults. This year the flu is hitting particularly hard, so don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you have a persistent cough, fever higher than 102 F and chills, a hard time breathing, shortness of breath, or chest pain when you cough. If tests show you have the flu and your symptoms started within the last 48 hours, your doctor may suggest antiviral medicine which can make you feel better and shorten your illness by 1 to 2 days. And to help prevent the spread of the flu, wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds including the areas between your fingers and around your nails.

Have you ever wondered who is an Odd Fellow and what they have to do with cemeteries? Well, “Independent Order of the Odd Fellows and Its Cemeteries” is the third of the February Regional History Forums at the Original Wasco County Museum on February 17th starting at 1:30 p.m. The sexton of the local Odd Fellows Cemeteries, Craig Hector, will share the unique history and values of the I.O.O.F. and how since the nineteenth century, the lodge's concern for common folks, beyond their fraternal organization, led them to sponsor cemeteries that were open to all.

Friday night you missed a fantastic International Chicken Dinner prepared by Rick Leibowitz with assistance from Tammy and her outstanding crew from the Baldwin Saloon; and with delightful desserts from Petite Provence served by the fun loving Red Hat Ladies. The whole evening was sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek, who will also be sponsoring the Bagel Brunch, once again prepared by Rick Leibowitz, on Sunday February 25th from 10:00 – 1:00. Tickets are only $10.00 and can be purchased at the Center.

The name of the type of British-French supersonic passenger jet airliner that was first flown in 1969 was the Concorde. (I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket whose name was left on my desk but I couldn’t read the signature!)

Figure skating is one of the most watched Winter Olympic sports, and even though I can’t remember who ever won, I do remember the always present TV analyst. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was the two-time figure skating champion (1948 and 1952), who first started providing figure skating commentary during the 1960 Winter Olympics? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center while performing a double axel jump.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to catch my breath. Until we meet again, take to time to discover and share your gifts.


“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” Jacki French Koller

Aging Well in the Gorge February 6th 2018


It’s February, that time when you find out whether you paid Uncle Sam too much or not enough. There are many excellent tax preparers in the Mid-Columbia region, but if your tax situation is relatively simple, there is free help available through AARP Tax Aide. Since Tax Aide is supported by the AARP Foundation but also other federal and private grants that focus on helping low to moderate income persons or families equally, Tax Aide cannot give preference to any particular age group.

Tax Aide started last weekend and will continue through April 14th. In the area, there are three Tax Aide sites: The Center from 2:00 – 6:00 on Fridays and 9:00 – 1:00 on Saturdays; Tygh Valley Community Center from 9:00 – 1:00 pm on Thursdays, and the Rufus Community Center in Sherman County on Saturdays where you’ll need to call 541-993-1054 to make an appointment.

For your Tax Aide appointment, you’ll need to bring several documents: last year’s tax return; government issued identification for both tax payer and spouse even if both are not present when the taxes are being prepared; and a Social Security identification card (original, photocopy or a photo on your smartphone) for all individuals listed on the tax return.

And finally, don’t forget the obvious: all tax documents or statements that show income received and all tax documents or itemized statement that show expense incurred by you and your family.

One benefit of getting older is that there are some things you just don’t have to do anymore. For example, I’ve met more folks my age who tell me they don’t drive at night anymore. But I’ve realized as I was driving to Portland after dark, you must be out of your mind to want to drive at night - no matter your age! Think about it. The dark stretches of road where you can only see as far as your high beams reach; the barely visible street markings, the blinding headlights of oncoming traffic, and I won’t even mention the fun of driving through the rain in the dark.

How did I ever think that was such a pleasure? And now if I don’t need to drive at night, I can say to myself, “No, I think I’ll pass” and enjoy the evening at home with my wife.

Whether you are a railroad buff or not, you should check out the second of the annual February Regional History Forums at the Original Wasco County Museum on February 10th starting at 1:30 p.m. Retired math teacher Loren Delaney, who was born in The Dalles and raised in Wishram, will present “Fourteen Miles on the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad” - a tour of north shore railroad history between mile posts 94 and 108.

A couple quick reminders since I hear all too often, “I was planning on coming to (fill in the blank), but I forgot!”

The International Chicken Dinner is this Friday, February 9th from 5:00 – 7:00 sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek and prepared by Rick Leibowitz with assistance from the Baldwin Saloon and desserts from Petite Provence. The cost is $20 per person and only 200 tickets are being sold.

And Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of the Columbia Center for the Arts, will be speaking about “The Art & History of Photography” at the Center on Wednesday, February 7th at 10:30. Learn about the origins of the photographic arts and experience the work of noted photographers.

The American who won a 1932 Olympic swimming gold medal and starred in the science fiction film serial Flash Gordon was Buster Crabbe. (I received correct answers from Sandy Haechrel, who also remembers Buster Crabbe as Tarzan, Joanne Scott and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Kay Tenold.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the type of British-French turbojet-powered supersonic passenger jet airliner that had a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound and was first flown in 1969? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a 1997 New York to London round trip ticket on this type of airliner which cost at the time only $7,995.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying this unusually mild winter weather. Until we meet again, remember forgetfulness isn’t a memory problem, it is just a retrieval problem.


“The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Aging Well in the Gorge January 30th 2018

When we were younger we didn’t spend much time thinking about our purpose in life. We knew what it was: find a job, get married and raise a family – at least that was what we were told.

But now that the children have left home to find a job, get married and raise a family – at least that is what we told them; and we have retired from the obligation of work, what is our purpose now?

To help answer that question, The Dalles Blue Zones Project is offering a Purpose Workshop at the Center on Tuesday, February 6th starting at 5:30. The Purpose Workshop will help you discover a clear definition of your gifts and identify ways you can use those gifts every day, either through existing or new avenues in your lives - such as volunteering. Through this process you can deepen your sense of purpose and find greater meaning in your life, significantly impacting your health, happiness, and longevity – even at our age. You can RSVP for the workshop at http://go.bluezonesproject.com/tdpurpose01 or via Facebook.

Thanks to financial support from Columbia Basin Care Facility and The City of The Dalles, new flooring has finally been installed in the Center’s dining room. And at the same time, the upstairs restrooms have been remodeled with new flooring, and a fresh coat of paint; and they should have new sinks and faucets installed by the end of this week. Thanks to our local contractors for doing a fantastic job including Oliver’s Floor Covering, Garry Denney Floor Covering, Devco Mechanical and Terray Harmon Painting. And a big thank-you to Jess Birge for helping to reinstall the newly painted restroom stalls.

And why not check out the new dining room floor and remodeled restrooms when you stop by the Center to purchase your tickets for the International Chicken Dinner on February 9th from 5:00 – 7:00 sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek. The price for this one-of-kind dinner prepared by Rick Lebowitz with assistance from the Baldwin Saloon and desserts from Petite Provence is only $20. But hurry. Only 200 tickets are being sold!

When we were youngsters, our mothers would often tell us as we left for school, “Don’t forget to take your lunch!”  And now that we are oldsters at the other end of the age continuum, your spouse may tell you as you head for the store, “Don’t forget the lettuce!”

It seems no matter our age, we need reminders. So here is a quick reminder about the first installment of the annual February Regional History Forum at the Original Wasco County Museum, located at 410 W. Second Place. On February 3rd starting at 1:30 p.m, Susan Buce, local historian and Collections Registrar for the Discovery Center, will present “Airmail Beacons of the Columbia River Gorge" - a fascinating look back at a little-known part of Gorge history. The Airmail beacons served to guide the pilots who flew the mail by air from coast to coast in the 1930’s; and were maintained by “mechanicians" who kept the blinking lights shining for the pilots to see.

Kerry Cobb, Executive Director of the Columbia Center for the Arts, will be back at the Center on Wednesday, February 7th at 10:30 to present a 90-minute talk on “The Art & History of Photography”. You will learn about the origins of the photographic arts, and experience the work of noted photographers from the 19th-21st century.

The 1973 film that told the story of two con-artists involved in a complicated plot to scam a mob boss was The Sting. (The only correct answer I received was from world traveler Sandy Haechrel, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.)

This week’s “Remember When” question comes from one of those conversations I can’t remember with whom or why I had it - and it was only last week! What American won a 1932 Olympic swimming gold medal and starred in the science fiction film serial Flash Gordon? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a short description of the planet Mongo.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering if we are going to escape the winter without any more snow. Until we meet again, everything seems to take longer than you think – but, it’s not like we don’t have the time.

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

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