Aging Well in the Gorge November 20th 2019

How often have you heard that you should start following a Mediterranean diet? But do you know what that really means? And if you do, how often do you follow it? I you’re like me, you may have found it hard to give up the pizza and ice cream.

But there are good reasons to follow a Mediterranean Diet. According to the websites Medline Plus (the U.S National Library of Medicine website which does not include annoying ads!) and the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean Diet is a heart-healthy eating plan that may lead to more stable blood sugar, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and a lower risk for heart disease and other health problems.

So if you want to follow a Mediterranean Diet what should you eat?

You should serve plant-based meals with just small amounts of lean meat and chicken; more servings of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and legumes (You should aim for 7 to 10 servings a day of fruit and vegetables); foods that naturally contain high amounts of fiber such as grain bread, cereal and pasta; and plenty of fish and other seafood such as fresh or water-packed tuna, salmon, and trout which are healthy choices rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that may reduce inflammation in the body and also help decrease triglycerides, reduce blood clotting, and decrease the risk of stroke and heart failure.

I addition when preparing your meals use olive oil as the main source of fat. Olive oil is a healthy, monounsaturated fat which has been found to lower total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol levels. Nuts and seeds also contain monounsaturated fat. And try spicing it up. Herbs and spices boost flavor and lessen the need for salt.

Now that you know what you should eat, what shouldn’t you eat or eat only in small amounts?

Limit your intake of red meat. If you eat meat, make sure it's lean and keep portions small. Throw allow the Halloween candy and avoid other sweets and desserts. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry and eggs. (Eat low-fat Greek or plain yogurt and small amounts of a variety of cheeses.) Avoid butter - and instead of putting butter or margarine on bread, try dipping it in flavored olive oil.

If you aren’t following a Mediterranean diet, try it. Many people who switch to this style of eating say they'll never eat any other way – although I’ll still have to have my occasional bowl of ice cream!

I recently heard from Rod Runyon that the Columbia Gorge Veterans Museum on second street needs volunteers and board members – and you don’t have to be a veteran to volunteer. Show your appreciation to our veterans by volunteering. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00.

Last week when I mentioned the St. Peter’s and the Center’s Holiday Bazaars on the 23rd; and the Mosier Holiday Fair on November 30th and December 1s (that’s a gentle reminder), I forgot to include Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Christmas Bazaar from 10 to 2 on Saturday December 7th at UCC on 5th and Court. Besides hosting a variety of vendors, there will be serving their popular luncheon that includes your choice of soup and pie. It all goes to support the good work of the Columbia Gorge Habitat for Humanity – building homes and community.

The expression seldom heard anymore is “Knee high to a grasshopper” but as Lana Tepfer points out, that’s still higher than a “snake’s belly”. I received correct answers from Becky Roberts, Laura Comini, Sandy Haechrel, Sam Bilyeu, Louise Wooderson, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Cheri Brent, Kim Birge, Darlene Marrick, Jeannie Pesicka and Alice Penman this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Switching to the subject of dance, for this week’s “Remember When” who was the American ballroom dancer and businessman whose name is most often associated with the dance studio chain that bears his name and in 2019 celebrated more than 100 years of teaching dance across the globe? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 mail it with a DVD of the film Top Hat - the 1935 American screwball musical comedy starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Well, it’s been another week, weaving and bobbing when trouble heads my way. Until we meet again, keep your spirits up and the barking dogs down.

Commandment #12 for growing older, “When you were a child, you thought nap time was punishment.  Now it feels like a mini vacation."

Aging Well in the Gorge November 13th 2019

Last week the Center with the support of the Jessie F. Richardson Foundation celebrated the “Wasco County Ageless Awards” recognizing the contributions of older adults over seventy five and their importance in our communities. The four deserving honorees were: Lucille Petersen, Bill Hamilton, Prudence Amick and Terry Stoddard. But I’m sure you know of others who are respected and admired for their contributions whether large or small. They don’t give their time for the recognition, but why not tell them thank-you when you see them next.

It is important to honor individuals over seventy-five because it highlights the value of older adults in our youth oriented society. From conversations I’ve had at the Center, I’ve learned many folks feel they are treated as if they are invisible: ideas ignored, opinions dismissed and skills unappreciated. The attention they do receive may be well intentioned and often appreciated, but can be patronizing, “Let me take those groceries out for you.” By many, older adults are viewed as a burden and not the asset they are or can be.

Sometimes we buy into that belief ourselves becoming less confident and engaged and feeling there isn’t anything we can do. But as Lucille Petersen told me, even with her diminished eyesight she will continue to help in any way she can because “I’m old but I’m not dead!”.

Thank goodness because today it is harder to find individuals to volunteer. People are working longer, traveling more and enjoying their own personal pursuits. And at the same time, many services once funded by the government have been transferred to non-profits - knowing they will need to raise more money and attract more volunteers to operate.

The need is greater than ever, and it is critical for individuals to step forward - no matter their age – for the health of our communities. It was an honor to recognize Lucille, Bill, Prudence and Terry who have stepped forward, and shown they are not invisible by making a difference in people’s lives.

The Dalles Community Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Mary’s Academy has become an annual tradition but as you can imagine it takes a lot of work and can’t happen without volunteers. Salvation Army is once again organizing the dinner and is looking for volunteers. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved: set up and prep from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm; serving and delivery from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm; and clean up from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. It is preferred that you sign up by going to the Salvation Army’s website Or if you would rather, you can call 541-296-6417.

Holiday season is upon us. How can you tell? The holiday bazaars have already started - and there are many more to come. The Center will be hosting its Holiday Bazaar on November 23rd from 9:00 – 3:00. The date may sound familiar because it’s the same day as the St. Peter's 41st Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s. Then a week later is the Mosier Holiday Fair on November 30th and December 1st from 10:00 – 4:00 each day. It is a benefit for the Mosier Community School with over 50 artisan vendors in the event's 40th year. Admission is $2 per person plus 1 non-perishable food item, and children under 12 are free.

The name of the musical group that recorded the #1 song “Flowers on the Wall” and named themselves after a brand of facial tissue they noticed in a hotel room was the Statler Brothers. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Delores Schrader, Rhonda Spies and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Bobetta Stewart.

There are many expressions we seldom hear any more: “Heavens to mergatroyd”, “Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle” and “Sounds like a broken record”; as well as words: “moxie”, “swell” and my favorite “fiddlesticks”.    

For this week’s “Remember When” question complete the following expression used to describe someone very young. “I have known him since he was knee high to a _____”. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 mail it with a picture of David Carradine's character in the 1970s TV drama "Kung Fu.".

Well, it’s been another week, keeping one foot in the past and two in the future. Until we meet again, be kind – you don’t know what burden the person is carrying.

Commandment #5 for growing older, “The biggest lie you tell yourself is, "I don't need to write that down. I'll remember it."

Aging in the Gorge November 6th 2019

Monday is Veterans Day and I hope you can take time to honor, in your own way, the Veterans who served our country - whether it is by watching or participating in the Veterans Day parade which starts at 11:00; or attending the community potluck at the Oregon Veterans' Home following the parade hosted by the VFW Post and Auxiliary 2471. Or how about showing your appreciation year-round by deciding to volunteer at the Wasco County Veterans Service Office.

The Veterans Service Office works hard to support our veterans and their surviving spouses by assisting them with veterans claims. This includes disability compensation, non-service connected pensions for war period veterans, aid and attendance, VA health care, education benefits, VA loan information, and more. To answer any questions, Veterans Services Officer Patrick Wilbern will be at the Center from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm on Tuesday, November 12th. Or you can attend his presentation at Flagstone Senior Living on November 13th from 1:30 – 3:00.

But what do you know about Veterans Day? Here are a few facts I found on the U.S. Department of Defense website.

1) There is no apostrophe in Veterans Day.  The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, as an apostrophe would imply. It’s a day for honoring all veterans.

2) Veterans Day is not the same as Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a time to remember those who gave their lives for our country. Veterans Day honors all of those who have served the country in war or peace whether living or not - although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.

3) Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day commemorating the end of World War I. World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919. However, the fighting ended when the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day. In 1926, Congress officially recognized it as the end of the war, and in 1938, it became an official holiday, primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I.

But then World War II and the Korean War happened, so on June 1, 1954, at the urging of veterans service organizations, Congress amended the commemoration by changing the word “armistice” to “veterans” so the day would honor American veterans of all wars. 

4) For a while Veterans Day was officially recognized on the fourth Monday of every October. Congress signed the Uniform Holiday Bill in 1968 to ensure that a few federal holidays including Veterans Day would be celebrated on a Monday hoping it would encourage travel and other family activities over a long weekend.

On Oct. 25, 1971, the first Veterans Day under this new bill was held and as you would guess, there was confusion about the change. Within a few years, it became apparent the public wanted to celebrate Veterans Day on November 11th, since it was a matter of historic and patriotic significance. On Sept. 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed another law which returned the annual observance to its original date.

Now to last week’s “Remember When” question. The name of the Russian-like spies working to "catch Moose and Squirrel" in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show were Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale working for the dictator Fearless Leader. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Carole Earl, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Barbara Cadwell.

My high school class showed their unique sense of humor by using the #1 hit song “Flowers on the Wall” as the theme for their spring dance – since many of us were considered “wallflowers”. For this week’s ‘Remember When’ question, what musical group recorded “Flowers on the Wall”; was Johnny Cash’s backing vocals for over eight years; and hosted their own show on The Nashville Network? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a brand of facial tissue the band was named after – and it wasn’t Kleenex!

Well, it’s been another week, trying to stay ahead of the curve. Until we meet again, as my wife said to me, “You know you’re old when you can’t recognize half of the Halloween costumes. (And what or who is Marshmellow?)

“The reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another.” George Eliot

Aging Well in the Gorge October 30th 2019

What do you remember about visiting the dentist when you were a child? Fishing for a small toy out of the fish tank if you were good during your visit? Or a long needle painfully inserted in your gum before filling a cavity? 

However you may feel about visiting a dentist, maintaining good oral health is important at any age, because as older adults we still encounter cavities, gum disease and dry mouth. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has published a fact sheet for older adults on these three oral health issues which you can find by googling NIH Older adults and oral health. (And if you’re wondering as I was, craniofacial is a medical term that relates to the bones of the skull and face.)

But you already know the basics to prevent cavities and gum disease because you’ve heard them since you were a child: use a fluoride toothpaste; brush twice daily and floss regularly; and see a dentist for regular check-ups.

But one problem I only recently encountered is dry mouth: the feeling there is not enough saliva in your mouth. In my case it is a side effect of one of my medications, but it can also be caused by dehydration and disease. Since saliva helps keep harmful germs in check, less saliva increases the risk of developing tooth decay. If you think you have dry mouth and it feels uncomfortable, see a dentist or physician to find relief.

A challenge though is Medicare doesn’t pay for dental work - as if your mouth is not a part of your body. You must purchase a separate Dental plan. (Several dentists offer their own insurance plans.) But just as you take care of the rest of your body, it is important to practice good dental hygiene as we grow older.

And as an addendum, I just learned from a friend that before his hip replacement he had to have a dentist sign-off that there were no infections in his gums - and it cost over $800! Another reason to see your dentist regularly.

Here's a shout out to the local Elks. They have moved into the same building as the Eagles but don’t get the idea they are going away – they are still doing good things for the community. For example, they just donated $1500 to The Dalles Meals-on-Wheals which provides home delivered meals as well as serving noon meals at the Center. Because of limited federal funding, Meals-on-Wheels appreciates any donations. And they are always looking for drivers!

On November 5th at 1:00, Kerry Cobb will be discussing Art Masterpieces. In her presentation you will learn about some of the most famous pieces of western art and why they are so iconic and the stories behind their creation - from Michelangelo’s David to Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus to Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

And on Friday November 8th there will be a bus going from the Center to Hood River to tour the Art Gallery at the Columbia Center for The Arts (CCA) and see the live performance of An Evening of Poe - with dinner in between. We’ll leave the Center at 3:15 and return to The Dalles around 9:30. The show and transportation are free (thanks to CCA), so the only cost is your dinner. Call the Center to sign up.

Now that Gorge Happiness Month is almost over, don’t forget the 3 daily habits proven to make us happier and healthier: gratitude, acts of kindness and a moment of silence.

The game show hosted by Allen Ludden where two teams attempt to convey mystery words to each other using only single-word clues was Password. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Barbara Cadwell, Jess Birge, Cheri Brent and Alice Mattox this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Continuing October’s theme of 60’s television shows, this week’s question is about the animated television series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show which aired from 1959 through 1964 and was known for its quality writing and wry humor. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of their main adversaries - the Russian-like spies working to "catch Moose and Squirrel"? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a picture of Fearless Leader.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my body’s engine light from coming on. Until we meet again, keep living your life with courage, humor and gratitude.
“If only my teeth were as white as my legs.” Unknown


Blog Archive