LEARN ABOUT CapTel – A FREE service that gives those hard of hearing the ability to communicate on the telephone. Speaker: SUSAN KIRK


The Benefits of Using MCMC’s MyChart Speaker. KAREN JONES

AARP Tax Aide is on Fridays from 2:00 - 6:00 and Saturdays from 9:00 - 1:00.


Doors open at 4:00 and games start at 6:00. New players encouraged to arrive by 5:30. Average payout is over $1300 each night. Minimum buy-in is $10.

UPDATED 3.19.19

Aging Well in the Gorge March 20th 2019

Do you ever feel you’re a day late and a dollar short? Today I do because last week was Brain Awareness week - and I missed it. But in the spirit of “better late than never” I want to share some memory tips from the AARP program “Staying Sharp”.  

First and most important, PAY ATTENTION. Often when we forgot something, we just weren’t paying attention. For example, I couldn’t remember where I laid the car keys because when I came home, I was too focused on how fast I could get to the bathroom!

Second. Avoid multi-tasking. It is a myth that your brain can focus on two tasks at the same time. What your brain actually does is quickly switch back and forth between the two tasks. But as we age, our brains can’t switch as fast and at the same time are more easily distracted.

Third. Write it down. I am often frustrated when I have an earth-shattering idea that will bring peace and harmony to the world - or at least make my life a little better - and I forget it! I’ve adapted and you’ll see plenty of sticky notes around my house.

Fourth. Establish a routine. Do you use a pill box? I never wanted to because I thought it was an indisputable sign I was getting “old”. But after several times not remembering whether I took my pills, (which is not a good thing) a pill box has become an essential part of my morning routine.

Fifth. And relax. Don’t stress out when you forget where you parked the car. You always find it, right? During my younger days there were many times when I couldn’t think of a word using “whatsimacallit” or “thingamajig” instead. But did I worry that it was an indication of early dementia? No! And today with all the instant electronic notifications and distractions, I’m sure young people have many of their own “senior” moments.

If you want to learn more, you can join the Center’s Brain Fitness Club which meets every Monday at 1:00. For the next several weeks, we’ll be learning more about the brain by developing the curriculum for a brain fitness class starting sometime in April.

I’ve mentioned before that if you have Medicare questions you can call SHIBA Medicare counseling at 541-288-8341 or the Center at 541-296-4788 to schedule a free appointment.

But if your questions aren’t urgent, you can attend one of the free Medicare 101 classes at CGCC on Tuesday, April 9. To register for the 9:00 – 1:00 class at the Hood River campus call 541-308-8202; and to register for the 1:00 – 3:00 class at The Dalles campus call 541-506-6011.

Until then here is a “Medicare Minute” to store in your long-term memory for future use.

If you find your Medicare supplement premiums keep going up, one option is to change to a cheaper policy. But in most states that means going through underwriting which often makes it difficult to change because of pre-existing conditions.  

But Medicare beneficiaries in Oregon are fortunate. During the thirty days following your birthday, you can change from one Medicare supplement to another of equal benefits with no underwriting. You can find which companies have lower rates by consulting the 2019 Oregon Guide to Medicare Insurance Plans which you can pick up at the Center or by calling 541-298-8341.

When television stations signed off, the picture design following the national anthem was called a Test Pattern. I received correct answers from Sandy and Bob Haechrel, Cheri Brent, Jerry Phillips, Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, who I didn’t miss this time, Mike Carrico.

In July of 1962 the first commercial communications satellite was launched and within a year successfully relayed through space the first telephone call, telegraph image and the first live transatlantic television feed. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this communication satellite? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a 45 record of the song that was named after the satellite which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of 1962.

Well, it’s been another week, knowing it’s all good. Until we meet again, keep reaching for the stars – even though takes a little more effort.

“There is an art to flying, or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” Douglas Adams

Aging Well in the Gorge - March 13th 2019

You’ve probably seen the ads urging you to call “Company Rip-off” at some 800-number promising to reduce your home mortgage payments. If you’re like me, you just ignore them because you know there is no such thing as a “free lunch”.

But here is an exception – if you qualify. On Thursday, March 14th at 11:00 at the Center, Dave Peters from the Housing Resource Center in The Dalles will explain the Principal Reduction and Lien Extinguishment (PR/LE) program. It is designed for homeowners who are on a fixed income and struggling to make their mortgage payment.

There are requirements: your house payment must be at least 25% of your income before enrolling in the program and less than 36% after the loan is recast. But the program will pay up to $50,000 to reduce the unpaid principal balance of the mortgage so that the loan may be re-amortized resulting in a sustainable lower monthly payment. The benefit is provided in the form of a no-interest, five-year forgivable loan for which a lien will be recorded against the property.  The amount due goes down 20% each year until after 5 years when the amount due is zero.

Now that may sound confusing. So if you have questions, Dave can help and determine if you qualify. If you can’t attend Dave’s presentation, you can call him at 541-296-5462.

If you ever wanted to learn how to decorate cakes, cupcakes, cookies, or pies this is your chance. Pie Pizazz is a cake decorating class offered by Texas Pastry Artist Stasha Garcia. It will be held at the Center from 1:00 – 4:00 on the third Saturday for the next six months starting Saturday, March 16th. The cost is $25 for each session with a $5 initial registration fee. Space is limited. Call Stasha at 830-456-7424 to register or drop by the Center to pick up the necessary information. And when you finish the class, make sure you leave a decorated cupcake at the Center’s front desk with a note “For Scott”.

“Free Caption Telephone Devices for the Hearing Impaired” is the next “Lecture for the Curious” at the Center on Wednesday, March 20th at 1:00 pm. Susan Kirk, CapTel Training Specialist, will explain Oregon CapTel, a FREE service that gives people who are hard of hearing the ability to communicate using captioned telephones.

Who would have thought last Wednesday we would again have to postpone Lucille Torgerson’s “As I Was Saying” presentation because of snow! It’s March, right?  But we’re not waiting another month. Her presentation with Widge Johnson where she’ll share her experiences writing her life story will be this Friday, the 15th at 11:00 AM.

Now that the snow is receding back north, my “back” wants to thank several folks for helping clear the Center’s parking lot of snow: Nick Nelson and his Snow Clearing Service for his quick response - twice; Al Wynn for stopping by on his Kubota tractor; and Gene and Nichole from Wasco County.

The name of the 15,000-pound computer that was introduced on TV in the 1950's and tallied presidential election's results before our very eyes was UNIVAC. This week’s winners of a free quilt raffle ticket each are Sandy Haechrel who once worked for UNIVAC in St. Paul, Minnesota as a technical editor, and Jerry Phillips who remembers the UNIVAC seen on CBS in 1952 was a dummy console built in the TV studio complete with blinking Christmas lights because the actual UNIVAC-5 was too large to move. 

Back in the prehistoric days of black and white television shows, if you stayed up too late you could catch the television station sign off with the national anthem followed by a picture design which was used by engineers to adjust the picture quality. For this week’s “Remember When” question what were these designs commonly called? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a picture of the Indian head that was shown on the most popular design.  

Well, it’s been another week, looking for more sunny skies. Until we meet again, there is always an answer. The challenge is finding it in your own life time.

“A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Roald Dahl, writer

Aging Well in the Gorge March 6th 2019

Have you heard the phrase “Walk Like a Penguin”? And I’m not talking about the supervillain in the Batman movies.

It’s a way to think about walking safely in snow and ice. For the last several weeks, I’ve been meaning to share this concept, but I kept thinking it’s too late. It’s not going to snow again.  Ah, the optimistic fool I am.

But to make sure it doesn’t snow again during what’s left of this winter, I’m going to finally share with you how to walk like a penguin to avoid falls and slips during these icy conditions.

I first saw “Walk Like A Penguin” signs outside The Dalles Fitness and Court Club (which will soon be another name left to the old timers to remember such as Treaty Oak, Valley Vista or Camlu). I had guessed it meant to step carefully but I recently discovered a more detailed description, so I don’t have to watch a National Geographic special about penguins.

To walk like a penguin, it is suggested you do the following: point your feet out slightly; bend your knees and keep them loose; extend your arms out to your side and hands out of your pockets; and take short steps or waddle.

In addition, since we haven’t evolved webbed feet yet, wear shoes or boots with traction. Assume all wet and dark areas on pavement are icy - especially around snow banks where the melt off freezes over-night. And if it’s still too treacherous, wow your friends and “Slide Like A Penguin” on your belly across the snow.

Whether it’s icy or not, this is a good time to remind yourself that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. So, don’t rush and stay focused - until next winter when you’ll know to “Walk Like A Penguin”!

“Lectures for the Curious” start this month at the Center. There is one lecture each week in March beginning Wednesday, March 6th at 1:00 with Lucille Torgerson and Widge Johnson presenting “As I Was Saying”- tips on how to write your life story.

Then on Tuesday, March 12th 1:00 PM, “From Pioneer Drugstore to Community Icon: The Waldron Brother's Drugstore” describes the fascinating history of the Waldron Brother’s Drugstore (also known as the Gitchell Building). Speaker: Eric Gleason - local resident and professional archaeologist.

On Wednesday, March 20th 1:00 PM, “Free Telephone Devices for the Hearing Impaired”. Learn more about Oregon CapTel’s Captioned Telephones and smartphones offered through Sprint which give people who are hard of hearing the ability to communicate on the telephone - and these services are FREE! Speaker: Susan Kirk - CapTel Training Specialist

Tuesday, March 26th 1:00 PM “Benefits of Using MCMC’s MyChart”. Learn how to access the many advantages of MCMC’s MyChart: scheduling appointments, checking test results, paying bills, or searching for medical information. Speaker: Karen Jones - MCMC Health Information Manager.

If you have thrown the Chronicle in the recycling bin and forgot when Eric Gleason is going to speak at the Center, the easiest place to find the information is on the Center’s website. It’s not fancy but is generally up to date and 95% accurate (They’ll always be a few mistakes to show I’m not an infallible robot). Go to www.midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com or just google Mid-Columbia Senior Center.

The irreverent World War II novel by Joseph Heller first published in 1961 whose title became a way to describe a “no-win” situation was Catch-22.  I received correct answers from Jerry Phillips, Sandy Haechrel, Lana Tepfer, Bob Earls, Carol Earl, Darlene Marick, Bobette Stewart, Dan Ericksen, and Sally Forster this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And from last week I missed Laurel Slatt, Kathy Viemeister and Sandy Haechrel.

Lana Tepfer answered my plea and emailed me this challenging question – the first of this month’s questions about early technology. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the 15,000-pound computer that was introduced on TV in the 1950's and tallied presidential election's results before our very eyes? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a box of 5,000 vacuum tubes.

Well, it’s been another week, wishing for at least one good idea. Until we meet again, keep your chin up and your hands warm.

“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it and make it the life you want to live.” —Mae Jemison

Aging Well in the Gorge February 27th 2019

Growing older is hard to prepare for. You have hopes of what your future will look like: staying active with friends, being financially secure, discovering new experiences, but so often something appears out of the clear skies and rains on your parade.

When I ask friends at the Center how they handle the uncertainties of life, the most common answer I hear is a “positive attitude” - making the best of whatever happens. But what can you do to develop and maintain a positive attitude?

I found this INC. magazine article on the Internet, “8 Ways to Improve Your Attitude” by Geoffrey James. The readers of INC. magazine are go-getter entrepreneurial types, but these suggestions can also apply to us “go-getter” older types. How many of these qualities do you possess?

1. Always act with a purpose. 
2. Stretch yourself past your limits every day. 
3. Take action without expecting results. 
4. Use setbacks to improve your skills. 
5. Seek out those who share your positive attitude. 
6. Don't take yourself so seriously. 
7. Forgive the limitations of others.
8. Say "thank you" more frequently.

Even following these suggestions, keeping a positive attitude can still be challenging. There may be days you feel like standing up and fighting back the hands of time from throwing you down the stairs. But there may be other days when you feel angry knowing you are no longer physically or mentally who we once were; or days when you feel resigned believing there isn’t anything you can do to change your life’s direction; or days when the chemo treatment just makes you feel so crappy you just want to stay in bed.

It takes effort to keep your spirits up, finding the best in each day and maintaining a positive attitude. But for those days when it is a struggle to do your best, this prayer might sound familiar.

“So far today, God, I have done alright. I haven’t gossiped, lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty selfish, over-indulgent, or told anyone to mind their own business and to stay out of mine. I’m really glad about that. But in a few minutes, I’m going to get out of bed and from them on I’m probably going to need a lot more help.”

Thanks to everyone who made the Center’s Fundraiser Dinner and Auction a financial success: our sponsors – The Springs at Mill Creek, Ray Schulten’s Motors and Cousins Restaurant; The Pines Winery; all the wonderful volunteers including the Red Hat Ladies and Boy Scout Troop #396; the night’s master auctioneer and entertainer - Rocky Webb; and especially Joan Silver, Vicki Sallee, Nancy Sallee and Jana Webb who planned and organized the event. And as promised we raffled off the Chicken Coop and the lucky winner was Matt Eby.

The snow forced us to postpone this class last month, but we’ll try again on Wednesday, March 6th at 1:00 when Lucille Torgerson and Widge Johnson will be presenting their one-hour class, “As I Was Saying – Writing Your Life Story for Your Family, Friends and Yourself”. If you ever wanted to write your life experiences to share with others, this will be a great place to start.

The title of the book written by Truman Capote that detailed the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in a small farming community in Kansas was In Cold Blood. I received correct answers from Sue Ortega, Ruth Radcliffe, Barbara Caldwell, Jerry Phillips, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, Cheri Brent and Lee Kaseberg - this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Ruth Radcliffe.  

The irreverent World War II novel by Joseph Heller first published in 1961 follows the life of Captain John Yossarian, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of this book that became a cult classic, especially among the Vietnam War generation, and the title has become a part of our modern vocabulary describing a “no-win” situation. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer on the back of the poster for the film adaption released in 1970.

Well, it’s been another week waiting for the signs of spring to rise out of the winter snow. Until we meet again, what’s been doesn’t necessarily mean what will be.
“The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way.” Diana Arbus, Photographer

Aging Well in the Gorge February 20th 2019

Help me with this question. What does “old” look like?

Here’s the reason I’m asking. I take a diuretic and for me one of the side effects is dry mouth. And because of my dry mouth, I apparently make strange mouth contortions to moisten my mouth. It hasn’t been a problem until the other day when my wife told me to stop because, as she put it so eloquently, ”IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE AN OLD MAN!” Now what does that mean? Some toothless old guy gumming his saliva?

I’ve mentioned how I must keep up a certain appearance for my children to protect myself from their loving concern. But my wife? She has lived with me long enough to know I’m no spring chicken - not even an autumn rooster.

But this whole episode begs the question, what should I look like at 71? What should anyone look like when they grow older?

Should I dye my hair? Pump iron for two hours a day? Purchase the latest anti-aging creams?

The model and actress Lauren Hutton once said “We have to be able to grow up. Our wrinkles are our medals of the passage of life. They are what we have been through and who we want to be.”

I’ve decided I’m not going worry about how old I look. I’ll display my medals with pride knowing I am what I am. And if my grey hair, balding scalp and wrinkled skin (and strange mouth contortions) is the price to pay for a long and wonderful life, I’ll take it any time.

You only have a few days left to purchase raffle tickets for the Chicken Coop. The drawing will be held at the Center this Friday, February 22nd during the Chicken Dinner and Auction – the Center’s major fundraiser for the year. Tickets are $10 or three for $25.  

If you’re soon turning 65, (and congratulations, you made it this far!), you probably have questions about enrolling in Medicare. As in any health insurance program, it’s complicated and can be confusing and frustrating.

You have a seven-month window to enroll called the Initial Enrollment Period which begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. You can go to www.medicare.gov to learn more about how to enroll.

But if you’re like me and find it more comfortable to talk to someone face-to-face, there are SHIBA (State Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) volunteers to help you through the Medicare maze. To schedule an appointment, call the local SHIBA line at 541-288-8341 or the Center at 541-296-4788. A SHIBA counselor should return your call within 48 hours.

The Center’s Loan Closet of durable medical equipment has been enlarged, organized and cleaned thanks to the help of Joyce Browne, Karen Miller and Sue Arguelles. It is one of the Center’s most popular programs, but it depends on a constant supply of donated used medical equipment. The Center currently has plenty of walkers, both two wheel and four-wheel, but is short of commodes, shower benches and toilet seat risers. You can drop off any donated items at the Center, and if the Center is closed just leave them at the front door. I haven’t yet seen any thieves running down the street with a toilet seat riser under their arm.

The title of Jacqueline Susann’s first novel published in 1966 which received poor reviews but was the biggest selling novel that year was Valley of the Dolls. I received correct answers from Vicki Sallee, Jerry Phillips, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Deloris Schrader and Lorna Elliott this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.

We’ll stick with literature for two more weeks. In 1966 Truman Capote, wrote one of greatest true crime books ever written establishing a new literary form: the “nonfiction novel”. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the title of the book that detailed the 1959 murders of four members of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community. Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer with a picture of the Finney County Courthouse in Garden City Kansas.

Well, it’s been another week wishing spring would grab my snow shovel and store it away for another year.  Until we meet again, there is no wrong time to start living the life you want to live.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”  Walt Whitman

Aging Well In The Gorge February 13th 2019

The look of retirement has changed over the last half century. Today many who reach retirement age want to keep working by finding a part-time “gig” for the personal satisfaction and additional income. The number of “gigsters” - older adults working part-time - is growing particularly with the current high unemployment rate. If you are willing to commit the time and the employer is willing to be flexible, it can be a win-win situation.

For example, CGCC is currently recruiting for part time instructors – a perfect opportunity for qualified retirees. You can learn more by attending the Part-Time Instructor Job Fair on Saturday, February 16th from 10:00 – 12:00 at The Dalles Campus Building 3 or visit www.cgcc.edu/jobs.

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather work for yourself as an in-home care worker or house sitter - or turning your hobby into a small business selling your handmade crafts at bazaars or on the website Etsy.

Whether working part-time for an employer or yourself, being a “gigster” can be rewarding by keeping yourself engaged and connected while earning a few extra dollars - as long as it doesn’t become a “real” job! 

The Center was rockin’ Friday night with over ninety folks attending the “50’s, 60’s, 70’s Dance Party”. We showed that older folks still know how to party - we just now have to get to bed earlier! There were all generations on the dance floor including several young adults from Dufur; and Lucille Torgerson, the impromptu queen of the evening, with her escort Mike Ballinger. And everyone had a “groovy” good time.

But the evening would not have been possible without the vision and energy of Judy Merrill, Connie Krummrich, and Widge Johnson and master DJ Randy Haines, with help from Adie Jones, Cyndi Russell and Linda Jackson plus all the donated finger foods. And I can’t forget the dance sponsors: The Springs at Mill Creek and Schultens Ford.

And yes, we will do it again!

The Center’s February Celebration concludes with a Fundraiser Dinner/Auction on Friday, February 22nd sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek, Schultens Ford and Cousins Restaurant - who will be serving a Chicken Cordon Bleu dinner. There will be some great auction items: a night at the Wildhorse Casino with dinner for two; a night’s stay at Mcmenamins Edgefield; Portland Trailblazer tickets; and 18 holes of golf at Chinook Winds. Tickets are $35 - but we are only selling 100 tickets. You can purchase your tickets at Klindt’s (only cash or checks accepted) or at the Center.

The Dalles Blue Zones Project is initiating a series of Eat Wisely Events starting with a Potluck Moai Launch at the Center on Tuesday, February 19th from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. If you don’t remember, a moai is a term used in Okinawa, Japan to describe a social support group engaged in a common activity while sharing stories, advice and life experiences.

For the Potluck Moai bring a healthy dish to share; and then over the next ten weeks you can join a moai group of 5-9 persons meeting over 10 weeks sharing healthy meals and habits. Also, if you want to know more about cooking healthy foods for a group of friends while staying within your budget, there will be cooking demonstrations at the Center on the first and third Tuesdays of March and April. If you have questions, call 541-288-4487 or email Amy Krol at amy.krol@sharecare.com.

The 1962 book written by Rachel Carson that inspired the environmental movement is Silent Spring. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Lee Kaseberg, Sandy Haechrel, Adie Jones, Ann Radford, Cheri Brent, Lana Tepfer, Jerry Phillips, Jeanne Pesicka and Mary Haas this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket.

We’re going to keep on a literary track but this time taking the low road. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the title of Jacqueline Susann’s first novel published in 1966 which was panned by the critics but was the biggest selling novel that year and has sold more than 31 million copies - making it one of the best-selling works in publishing history? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer written on a bottle of prescription barbiturates.

Well, it’s been another week keeping warm under the blankets. Until we meet again, you know you’re getting older when you begin telling a story with “I’ve probably told you this before, but …”

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” Carl Reiner

Aging Well in the Gorge February 6th 2019

You may have heard of the Blue Zones Project in The Dalles - a well-being improvement initiative designed to help make healthier choices easier. It is based on the idea that much of our health and longevity is determined by our environment, so optimizing our surroundings can add both quantity and quality to our lives.  And when the entire community participates – including the Center, schools, and restaurants – small changes can reap large dividends.

In support of this initiative, the Center is working to become a Participating Organization. This requires the Center to complete several actions within six months such as starting a Moai Walking Team, hosting plant-based cooking events, and posting Blue Zone information on the Center’s website.  

But another requirement is to encourage community members to complete a Blue Zones Personal Pledge and return it to the Center. The pledge consists of selecting at least five actions from the list below. If you are already doing some of them, give yourself a pat on the back. And then consider challenging yourself by completing several additional actions in the next six months. You can find the Personal Pledge in more detail on the Center’s website (www.midcolumbiseniorcenter.com) or pick one up at the Center. More information is available on The Dalles Blue Zones Facebook page.

1) Keep a comfortable pair of walking shoes in plain sight to provide that nudge to move naturally daily. Or maybe a speedo swimsuit pinned to the front door? 
2)  Adopt a dog. Those daily walks will keep you moving! 
3) Attend a Blue Zones Purpose Workshop. 
4) Remove all computers and electronics from your bedroom. Here most older adults have an advantage by not being addicted to their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. 
5) Designate a space in your home for quiet time, meditation, or prayer. 
6) Stock your cupboard with 10-inch dinner plates because you mindlessly eat more calories when eating off larger plates. And that doesn’t mean you can go back for seconds! 
7) Remove TVs and computers from the kitchen and dining areas. They lead to mindless eating and consuming needless calories. 
8) Own a bathroom scale and weigh yourself regularly. 
9) Attend a plant-based cooking class. Knowing how to cook plant-based dishes that you enjoy increases the nutritional quality of your meals.
10) Grow a garden at your home or adopt a plot at a community garden. 
11) Schedule a weekly happy hour with friends and a small glass of red wine - IF you have a healthy relationship with alcohol. 
12) Have a conversation about getting older. Join the Center’s “Let’s Talk” group every Friday at 11:00. Or have a honest conversation with your adult children about what you want. 
13) Belong to a faith-based organization.

I often receive comments about the “Remember When’ questions, and what I particularly like to hear is, “I’d forgotten all about that”. My goal is not to stump you, although this last week’s question was a tough one, but to bring back memories of past experiences: attending a Beatles concert in Portland, remembering where you were when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, or when you first heard classmates playing “Hang on Sloopy” at your high school’s talent show. Reminiscing is one of the advantages of aging: giving us a deeper perspective of life and of who we are. But most of the questions come from my limited experiences, an Indiana boy attending high school and college in the 60’s. So, if you can think of any questions, send them my way.

A “wet rag” was someone who was unpopular and just not fun to hang out with. Only Jeanne Pesicka answered the question correctly, although with a little coaching, and receives a free quilt raffle ticket. And from last week I missed Sandy Haechrel driving by in her “jalopy”.  

The Dalles Library has several book groups one of which is a non-fiction book group which meets on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 PM. The book they are reading for February was written by Rachel Carson and published in 1962.  For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this book that inspired the environmental movement? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or return your answer written on the back of a gallon of DDT.

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep the fire burning. Until we meet again, here’s one of Roger Rosenblatt’s rules for aging, “Just because the person criticizing you is an idiot doesn’t make him wrong.”

Aging Well in the Gorge January 30th 2019

Over the last two years there have been major improvements to the Center thanks to the community’s support: the hundreds of individuals, foundations, The City of the Dalles, Wasco County, NWC PUD and Columbia Basin Care. An elevator has been installed, the upstairs restrooms remodeled, and all the old upstairs floors have been replaced - except one: the floor in the Deschutes room. The floor tiles are worn and falling apart - although there is one positive benefit from the floor. It reminds me how bad the dining room floor previously looked before the Center received a donation from Columbia Basin Care to replace it.

To raise funds to replace the Deschutes Room floor and for the Center’s operations, the Center will be hosting its Annual Fundraiser Dinner Auction on Friday, February 22nd sponsored by our friends at The Springs at Mill Creek, Schultens Motors and Cousins who will be catering the Cordon Bleu dinner. Doors open at 5:00, dinner served at 5:30 and the auction will begin at 6:30. But only one hundred tickets will be sold, so purchase your tickets early. The tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at the Center or Klindt’s Booksellers.

And what may be most important to some folks, the winning raffle ticket for the Chicken Coop will be drawn at the fundraiser. Purchase your Chicken Coop raffle tickets at the Center for $10 apiece or three for $25 dollars.

I know many of you don’t carry around an appointment book or have a smart phone to keep track of your schedule and appointments; and you may not even care what day it is. (If you’re retired isn’t every day Saturday?) So, I just want to remind you of two events coming to the Center in the next two weeks.

On Wednesday, February 6th at 1:00, Lucille Torgerson and Widge Johnson will be presenting their one-hour class, “As I Was Saying – Writing Your Life Story for Your Family, Friends and Yourself”. If you ever wanted to write down your life experiences to share with others, this will be a great place to start. I wish my mom and dad had written their life story so I would have a better idea of the challenges they faced and the accomplishments they achieved.

Then two days later on Friday, February 8th the Center is hosting a 50’s, 60’s 70’s dance with master DJ Randy Haines spinning his imaginary 45’s - plus trivia, Name That Tune and door prizes. It is an over 21 event because Freebridge will be selling beer and The Pines selling wine. But before you come, you may want to refresh your dance moves by watching YouTube videos of American Bandstand where I learned the latest dance moves. (Okay, maybe I should say watched. Because at dances, when I was forced to attend by peer pressure, you would usually find me along the wall trying to avoid eye contact with any girl - fearing some girl would actually want to dance with me! Anyone else remember being a wallflower back then?)

This is the last week for questions about “phrases we don’t hear anymore” and I hope it is one you remember. (I asked my wife the question and she had no idea. And she’s a smart cookie!) For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was someone called who was unpopular and just not fun to hang out with? And to give you a clue since this is a difficult one, the answer I am looking for is composed of two three-letter words. Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write you answer on the back of an old dish cloth.

Well, it’s been another week trying to stay on the bucking horse as long as I can. Until we meet again, as I am frequently reminded, only your true friends tell you when your zipper’s unzipped.

Here’s one of those “Isn’t that the truth” quotes I heard from John Zalaznik describing how things turn upside down as we get older, “When I was younger, I exercised so I could stay well. Now I try to stay well so I can exercise.”

I didn’t receive the February menu in time for this week’s column because Denise Patton, the director of the Meals-on-Wheels program, had other things on her mind. She and Gary are first time grandparents! Congratulations.

Aging Well in the Gorge January 23rd 2019

It’s almost February, that time of the year 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. And because Tax Aide is supported by federal and private grants as well as the AARP Foundation, it is open to all ages with a focus on assisting low to moderate income persons and families.

AARP Tax Aide begins Friday, February 1 downstairs at the Center and continues every Friday from 2:00 – 6:00 and Saturdays from 9:00 – 1:00 through April 12th. In addition, there are two other sites: Tygh Valley Community Center from 9:00 – 1:00 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. But be patient. With new software and tax laws, lines may be especially long.

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.

Lucille Torgerson, with the help of Widge Johnson, just finished writing her life story and found it to be an incredible experience. They would like to help and encourage others to write their own life story by sharing what they’ve learned. Their one-hour class, “As I Was Saying – Writing Your Life Story for Your Family, Friends and Yourself” will be on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:00 at the Center. If you ever thought about sharing your life adventures, you’ll want to attend this class.

Here’s your chance to step back in time - dancing to the tunes you grew up with: “Indian Love Call”, “Wooly Bully”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, “How Sweet It Is” and the favorite of one of The Dalles’ distinguished councilmen - “Wild Thing” at a “50’s 60’s and 70’s Party!” It will be held at the Center on Friday, February 8th from 6:30 to 9:30 - which is past my bedtime, but I’ll make an exception. (And remind me, what was so exciting about staying out late at night when we were younger? Was it because it showed our independence? Made us feel more adult like? Or did we just want more time after dark to “neck” with our steady?)

Music will be provided by master DJ Randy Haines plus Name-that-Tune, Trivia and door prizes. Ticket are $5 per person which you can purchase at the Center or at the door. And send me your favorite song request, the song that got you on the dance floor, to  mcseniorcenter@gmail.com or text me at 541-980-4645.

The Center will also be hosting its Annual Fundraiser Dinner Auction on Friday, February 22nd. The goal is to raise money for the Center’s operations but also to replace the Deschutes Room floor - the only floor upstairs that hasn’t yet been replaced. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at the Center.

Continuing with the theme of words seldom used anymore, this week’s “Remember When” question is, What was an inexpensive, delipidated old car called which was often the means of transportation for teenagers in the 1950’s? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write it on the fender of Archie Andrews' red, open-top antique car.

The name of the dare used when the first dare was refused was a double dog dare or for those who liked to keep it simple a double dare. I received answers from Cheri Brent, Sandy Haechrel, Carol Earl, Jerry Phillips, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Harold and Lucile Stephens. And I missed Jerry Phillips and Elaine who had answered galoshes. And going back even further to the blue plate special, I missed Carol Earl. Now have I caught up?

Well, it’s been another week throwing mashed potatoes against the wall - or is it spaghetti? - and seeing if it sticks. Until we meet again, let that “little light of yours” shine.

“Ever since the beginning … to keep the world spinning… it takes all kinds of kinds.” Miranda Lambert

Aging in the Gorge January 16th 2019

I still remember my cardiologist walking back into the exam room with a smile on his face and telling me, “Guess what? You have AFib.” (It does reduce the anxiety when your doctor gives you such news with a smile.)

You may also be one of the nine percent of older adults 65 or older who have Atrial fibrillation or AFib. I have learned one of the most serious complications of AFib is stroke. And if you are at five times greater risk of having a stroke, it is probably a good idea to be able to recognize the signs of a stroke and know how to respond. Every minute counts and fast treatment can lessen the brain damage and a stroke’s debilitating effects.

In their efforts to raise awareness about stroke, the American Stroke Association (ASA) and the National Stroke Association (NSA) promote the acronym FAST which stands for:

Facial drooping - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arm weakness - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficulty - Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
And Time - Don’t drive yourself to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call 911 for an ambulance so medical personnel can evaluate your condition and begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room. Stroke treatments that work best are available only if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours of the first symptoms, so note the time when any symptoms first appear.

FAST covers most but doesn’t cover all the signs and symptoms. If a person suddenly has trouble doing something they normally would be able to do, it’s possible it could be a stroke. In addition to facial drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulty, sudden confusion, trouble with their vision, sudden difficulty walking or a sudden severe headache are also possible symptoms.

Finally, it is helpful to know there are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic. In a hemorrhagic stroke, a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding tissue. An Ischemic stroke is when a fatty deposit, or clot, obstructs a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.

Ischemic strokes are much more common accounting for about 87% of all cases.
If your symptoms go away after a few minutes, you may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Although brief, a TIA is a sign of a serious condition that will not go away without medical help. But because TIAs clear up, many people ignore them. Paying attention to a TIA can save your life. Tell your health care provider about your symptoms right away.

People with AFib are at greater risk of a stroke, but anyone can experience a stroke. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. If you want to learn more, the ASA and NSA websites offer detailed information including diagrams and animations about strokes and how they affect people.

I received two different correct answers for last week’s question. Cheri Brent, Louise Wooderson, Laura Comini, Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Sandy Haechrel and Mary Haas (this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket) remember calling the rubber boots you slipped over your shoes Galoshes. And Bob Haechrel and Gary Conley remembers them as overshoes. And from some week before (I lose track of what was when), I missed Cathy Wilson’s answer Oceans Eleven and she even emailed a picture of the Rat Pack - the personification of 60’s sophisticated cool; and Marta Moser and Ron Nelson who answered correctly “Blue Plate Special” all of whom are also winners of a quilt raffle ticket each.  

You may remember back in the day when someone would egg you on by daring you to do something – usually something you knew you shouldn’t. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was a dare called that was twice as challenging and used when the first dare was refused? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of the movie A Christmas Story.

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep my balance. Until we meet again, as hard as you may try it’s hard to have a big head when you keep making silly mistakes.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

Zging Well in the Gorge January 9th 2019

My wife and I are back home in The Dalles where it’s nice to once again sleep in your own bed and return into your regular routine. There is something to be said for the familiar.

It was a nice trip visiting my son and daughter. (I still don’t know what they really do.) And I think I passed another year where they won’t feel the need to take care of me – yet! But there was something I did for the first time – and no, it wasn’t bungee jumping.

Most of us probably don’t enjoy the patronizing attitude of some younger folks who often “assume” we can’t do anything on our own - that we have to be assisted opening doors, getting into a car or going online. I know they are trying to be nice and respectful, but couldn’t they just ask instead of assuming.

But once in a while it is expedient to play into those stereotypes – in other words, playing the “Age Card” to get out of a sticky situation.

That occurred when my daughter’s best friend invited us to dinner the night we flew in to San Diego. We hoped to spend the little time we had with our daughter, so for the first time we decided to play the “age card” and asked my daughter to tell her friend, “You know, my parents are older, flights wear them out and they do go to bed awfully early!’ And it worked. No hurt feelings and we spent more time with our daughter.

I would be interested to know if you ever played the “Age Card” – when you didn’t want to change a tire or repair a leaking pipe under the sink when knew you could. Email me your experiences to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

The Center’s AARP Smart Driver class occurs every third Monday and following Tuesday of each month - and if you check your new 2019 calendar that means the 21st and 22nd of January. The class is from 8:45 am to 12:05 pm on both days and the cost is $20 ($15 for AARP Members). Call (541) 296-4788 to sign-up. And after the class, you can enroll in CarFit – a free 20-minute session which helps you adapt to your car, and adjust your "fit" within it, in order to reduce your risk of injury during a crash.

They say people are more afraid of giving a speech than dying. But I would rank above both of those dancing on stage in front of your friends. That’s why I admire anyone who participates in “Dancing with the Gorge Stars”.

This fundraiser for the Mid-Columbia Community Concert Association will be held Friday, January 11th at 7:00 PM at The Dalles High School. If you aren’t familiar with the event, it is where six friends and neighbors from the Gorge are paired with a professional dancer from the Utah Ballroom Dance Co.; practice a dance routine for hours; and then perform it in a beautiful costume – which sounds pretty intimidating to me but makes for a very entertaining evening. You can purchase tickets at the door or at Klindt’s Bookstore, Lines of Designs and The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.

The term commonly used by diners and cafes from the 1920s through the 1950s that referred to a low-priced meal was a “Blue Plate Special”. (I received correct responses from Cheri Brent, Jeannie Pesicka, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Mary Davis who emailed me an online clipping of a 1926 ad in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper for Halloran’s “Landmark for Exceptional Cooking” which served Blue Plate Specials. And from the previous week, the only response I received was from Cheri Brent.)

When I was a child there were many things I was made to do by my mother that I didn’t enjoy. One was when on rainy days I had wear over my shoes those thin rubber boots with buckles. Because they had to be tight fitting, they were always difficult to put on and take off. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what do you remember calling those rubber boots you slipped over your shoes? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a forecast for heavy rains.

Well, it’s been another week wondering what lessons I’ve learned. Until we meet again, you always discover something new when you’re lost.

“If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone.” Robert Fulghum

Aging Well in the Gorge January 2nd 2019

Do you still make New Year’s resolutions? My resolution had been to decide what I want to be when I grow up – and I’m running out of time! But you may have something more practical such as one of the most common resolutions: losing weight and exercising more.

If your resolution is the latter, here are six suggestions from the National Council on Aging on how to move more and sit less during the winter months when the temperatures drop, sidewalks are slippery, and winter weather hinders outdoor activities.

1. Explore arthritis-friendly exercise videos. Check out these short videos with exercises focused on reducing joint pain through stretching and building strength. There are options for working out your upper and lower body, as well as trying out Tai Chi, all in your own home. https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/videos/

Also, the Arthritis Foundation’s “Walk With Ease” self-directed program is a physical activity and self-management intervention developed for people living with arthritis and/or other chronic health conditions who want to be more physically active. https://extension.oregonstate.edu/walk-ease.

2. Find an exercise class near you. It can be hard to stay motivated while exercising alone. Find an exercise class that can offer different options for activities and provide an opportunity to meet up with friends. You can find classes at Water’s Edge, The Dalles Fitness and Court Club and at the Center. One popular class that has been proven
effective is “Strong Women” (and men) which is available at the Center and CGCC.

3. Go mall walking. Okay, you aren’t going to find an indoor mall in The Dalles, but you can walk a good number of steps around Home Depot - if you don’t stop to check out the latest refrigerators or power tools. There is a “Mall Walking Resource Guide” found at https://www.cdc.gov/prc/mall_walking.html.

4. Take steps to prevent falls. If you do walk outside, take precautions to avoid slips and trips on icy sidewalks. Check out how you can “Winterize to Prevent Falls” at

5. Get a workout to go. Go4Life’s “Workout to Go” guide has several options for exercising in your own home, including hand grips, wall pushups, and arm raises.

6. Find an indoor community pool or track. We don’t have an indoor track – at least until the Youth Center is built, but there are pools available at Water’s Edge or The Dalles Fitness and Court Club.

Whatever you do it needs to be fun. It can’t be a chore. And the mantra “No Pain, No Gain” you can forget. You aren’t preparing for the Olympics. Remember to take your time. You aren’t exercising the body you once had, but the body you now have!

“Give the Gift of Warmth” is the theme of this year’s Annual Blanket Drive hosted by the Wasco County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). On Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at 523 East 3rd St. (across the street from Sawyer’s Ace Hardware) you can drop off NEW or gently used (and washed) blankets, socks and other warming items. All items collected from this drive will be donated to The Warming Place in The Dalles, and to Gilliam & Sherman County Emergency Management.

For more information about this blanket drive or the Medical Reserve Corps, contact Tanya Wray at tanyaw@co.wasco.or.us. (541) 506-2631 or visit the North Central Public Health District webpage at www.ncphd.org.

The name of the 1960 American heist film starring five of the Rat Pack: Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop was Ocean’s Eleven. (Once again because of the holidays I am writing this early, so I will include the correct responses in next week’s column.)

There are several colloquial phrases I remember from growing up in Indiana that I seldom hear anymore. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the term commonly used by restaurants, especially diners and cafes, from the 1920s through the 1950s that referred to a low-priced meal that usually changes daily? Email your answer to www.mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the 1926 advertisement in The New York Times for "The Famous Old Sea Grill Lobster and Chop House" where you could still get "a steak-and-lots-of-onion sandwich for a dime".

Well, it’s been another week living day to day. Until we meet again, keep learning, moving and always keep dreaming.

“I know. I'm lazy. But I made myself a New Year’s resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have 'til December, right?” Catherine O'Hara

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