Updated Thursday April 1st 2020

GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WHO TYPICALLY DO NOT FILE FEDERAL TAX RETURNS

The latest from the Treasury Department.

If you receive Social Security and do not typically file federal tax returns, the treasury department has reversed its position and you will now NOT have to file a simple tax return to receive your Economic Impact Payment of $1200.

You can find more information by clicking on the link below to an article in the Washington Post.

Washington Post Article April 1st

ALL TOGETHER ALONE WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

The Center's Quilters have started a COVID-19 Homemade Face Mask project to help fulfill the need in the area. Click on the link below for patterns and directions, needed material and how the masks are to be collected. The quilters are prioritizing the Meals-on-Wheels drivers, long term care facilities and group homes while distributing over 230 handmade masks. If you personally want a mask call the Center at 541-296-4788 and we will put on the list.

Handmade Face Mask Information including a Pattern

THE CENTER

The Center is closed, and all classes and activities are canceled except for MEDICARE HELP, call the local coordinator at 541-288-8341, and the MEDICAL EQUIPMENT LOAN CLOSET call 541-296-4788 to see if we have the equipment you need and to schedule a time for pick-up.

TAX AIDE has been canceled indefinitely but the filing date has been extended to July 15th. I have not heard if or when the program will start up again but hopefully will have some idea by the first of May.

MEALS-ON-WHEELS

Meals-on-Wheels is delivering meals but is not serving meals in the dining room. If you want a take-out meal, call Meals-on-Wheels at 541-298-8333 before 10:00 and pick up your meal at noon but not before.

CIRCLES OF CARE

Circles of Care is looking for older adults who are self-isolating and need support during these difficult times. Because of the situation they are limiting their assistance to picking up groceries and check-in calls. They are also looking for volunteers to support older adults who are self-isolating because of COVID-19. Call Gracen 541-397-0724 or email her at gbookmyer@ageplus.org.

Aging in the Gorge April 1st 2020


Lives have been lost and routines have been disrupted. By now, most people are taking the pandemic seriously: social distancing, hand washing and sanitizing (although I think my wife is taking it too seriously when she insists I stay six feet away!)

With all the anxiety and uncertainty, “When is this going to end?”, we still must remember to laugh which may be the best antidote for these strange times. So, I want to share three jokes from the book Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks by William Novak.

But first, a few words from our sponsors.

The Mid-Columbia Senior Center’s Quilters are making handmade face masks and are asking folks to do the same. You can place donated face masks in the box outside the Center’s front door to be distributed to those who need one to protect themselves and others. More information including patterns can be found on the Center’s website www.midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.

Even though the center is closed, we are answering calls at 541-296-4788 thanks to the wonder of call forwarding. Meals-on-Wheels is delivering meals; and offering take-out but you need to call before 10:00. For more information call 541-298-8333. And because folks still turn 65 even when there’s a pandemic, SHIBA (Medicare counseling) is available by calling or texting 541-288-8341.

In addition, if you would like to volunteer helping older adults or know of anyone needing groceries delivered or a friendly check-in by phone, you can call Circles of Care at 541-397-0724 or email Gracen at gbookmyer@ageplus.org.

Now back to the show! Here are three jokes you may have heard before, but I hope they still make you smile. The theme is “Try to Remember”.

A man walks into a pharmacy. “I’m looking for some acetylsalicylic”, he tells the druggist.
“You mean aspirin?”
“Thank you! I can never remember the word.”

A doctor is sent to a nursing home to test the minds and memories of the residents. To save time, she interviews them in groups of three. The first group she meets with consists of three men.
Turning to the first one, she asks, “What’s nine times thirteen?”
“That would be four hundred and six”, the man replies.
Without giving any indication that his answer is wrong, she turns to the second man. “What do you think, sir?” What’s nine times thirteen?”
“That’s easy”, he says. “It’s Thursday.”
She turns to the third man and says, “Nine times thirteen?”
He answers immediately. “One hundred seventeen.”
“Excellent,” says the doctor. “How did you get it so quickly?”
“Simple”, he says. “I just subtracted four hundred and six from Thursday.”

Frank Sinatra goes to see his mother in a nursing home. It’s his first visit and the residents are thrilled to see him.
He patiently answers their questions and signs a few autographs. When he notices a woman who is sitting alone and paying no attention to him, a mixture of compassion and narcissism prompts him to go over and sit with her.
“How are you today?” he says.
“Not too bad,” she replies. “Are you here to visit someone?”
“Yes, my mother lives here. By the way, do you have any idea who I am?”
“No,” says the women, “but if you go to the front desk, I’m sure they can tell you.”

The comedian who hosted his own weekly variety show and whose character Geraldine Jones popularized the catchphrase “What you see is what you get” was Flip Wilson. I received correct answers from Sam Bilyeu, Beverly McKinney, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Jim Ayers, Glenna McCarger, Patty Burnet and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Jess Birge who still has two Flip Wilson albums.

It’s the first Wednesday of the month so it’s again “What use to beeeeeee there!” and the category is “Where you rest your head”. For this week’s two-part “Remember When” question, what was the previous name for what is now Cherry Heights Living; and what was the name of the hotel that is now Shilo Inn? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with an original vintage postcard of the Tillicum Motor Inn (which you can buy on Amazon for only $18.99!)

Well, it’s been another week, trying to adapt to the new normal. Until we meet again, as the Center’s quilters say, “All together - alone, we can make a difference!”

“These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes, Nothing remains quite the same. Through all of the islands and all of the highlands, If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane.” Jimmy Buffett

Aging Well in the Gorge March 25th 2020


Do you feel as if you’re an actor in an episode of Twilight Zone - living in an alternate universe?  

I wish we could change the channel, but this pandemic crisis is real - turning our world upside down: church services and events canceled; volunteers no longer needed; and we are told to stay home and avoid friends. And making it worse, COVID-19 can be spread by people who are asymptomatic, not showing any signs of the virus, making us cautious of anyone we meet. Our usual means of connecting with each other have been eliminated.

But we still need to be connected. My children have called four times in the last week, reminding me, no, more like telling me, to stay home ALL the time. That I can’t do, but I am working from home and if I do go out, I’m maintaining the suggested social distance of six feet (One solution is to carry a six foot walking stick. If you can whack the person, they know they’re too close!)

If you are following the advice of public health officials by staying home and would like someone to talk with – or you have no one to pick up groceries or your medications, you can call Circles of Care at 541-397-0724 or email Gracen at gbookmyer@jfrfoundation.org. Circles of Care is a pilot program in The Dalles that connects older adults who need support with volunteers who can provide that support.

You can also call Meals-on-Wheels. They are still delivering meals but are in desperate need for drivers. An eighth route is being added because of the number of delivered meals has increased to over 140 meals a day. And because of COVID-19, they have lost several drivers who are self-isolating.

At the Center, all classes and activities are now canceled. But if you need help with Medicare, you can still call the local coordinator at 541-288-8341. And if you need medical equipment call me at 541-980-4645 and I can meet you at the Center while maintaining our six feet of separation. (Remember, I’ll be caring my walking stick!)

For many of us, staying home is not easy. Here are ten ideas to consider.

1. Contact five friends by phone, email, or Facebook. They’ll be glad to hear from you.
2. Exercise your brain using the free “Staying Sharp” program found on AARP’s website.
3. Take a walk - even if it’s raining.
4. Work in your garden – it’s also great therapy.
5. Clean house - in both meanings.
6. Learn how to use your Instapot - finally.
7. Draw – you only need a pencil and paper.
8. Practice meditation - there are apps and YouTube videos.
9. Start writing your life story - and it doesn’t all have to be true!
10. Create a disaster plan. Nothing like a real crisis to get you motivated.

This is a time we need to care for each other. Until this dark cloud passes, stay connected, wash your hands and if you do leave your home - take your walking stick.  

The name for the moistened piece of paper rolled into a ball and blown through a straw was called a spit wad or spit ball. I received correct answers from Bud Earl, who taught in The Dalles and who knows intimately about spitwads, Mary Hass, Virginia Johnson, Diane Weston, Jim and Betsy Ayers, Carol Earl, Lana Tepfer who said all the guys loved spitwads but were hated by the girls - except for this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Widge Johnson, who remembers with great pride the days when she could get enough air into her lungs to blast one across a room… and not hit a nun! (Last week I missed Judee Flint and Ronda Spies- again. And my apologies to everyone else I’ve missed.

He hosted his own weekly variety show that featured his most popular character Geraldine Jones who popularized the catchphrase “What you see is what you get”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this comedian who in 1972 was named by Time Magazine as “TV’s first black superstar”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the album The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.

Well, it’s been another week, riding the wave and trying to stay on. Until we meet again, I have found there are two types of people: those who stockpile toilet paper and those who ask, WHY?

Aging Well in the Gorge March 18th 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives across the globe: cancellations and closures, travel restrictions, layoffs or reduced hours, empty shelves and worse - deaths. It is a serious threat particularly for us older adults over 60. But we can do our part to protect ourselves and others by washing our hands often - Wet, Lather, Scrub (20 seconds), Rinse and Dry and by practicing social distancing: keeping three to six feet from each other. (Since I like to shake hands and offer hugs, I find that hard to do - and elbow bumps just don’t feel right. So, don’t be surprised if you see me do as the Japanese and bow when greeting you.)  

I won’t mention all the cancellations and closures, but Meals-on-Wheels is NOT serving meals at the Center this week but are making sure meals are delivered. And I’m not sure what they’re doing next week. The Center is working to stay open (which may have changed by the time you read this) by implementing several conditions: excluding anyone showing flu symptoms, limiting group activities to no more than sixteen, requiring anyone entering the Center to wash their hands or use sanitizer, reminding everyone to keep a safe distance, and sanitizing surfaces with disinfecting wipes or bleach water (4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water).

We’ve been around long enough to know that this too shall pass. But until it does, we need to do our part to reduce the severity of this pandemic. And if you have decided to self-isolate and hunker down at home, make sure you stay in touch with friends and family. And consider this. Why not catchup doing what is now a relic of the past – writing letters.

Have you been singing Happy Birthday twice while washing your hands and wondering “Who am I singing Happy Birthday to?” Or maybe you have mixed it up and chose the first verse of a different song: Gloria Gaynor’s” I Will Survive”? Hank William’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”? or the Temptations “I Can’t Get Next to You”? Email any song you would suggest singing.

You know it’s spring not because of the budding plants, the warmer days (with the occasional snow showers) or the longer evenings, but by seeing Bruce and Lori Harris driving around town in their Today’s Rays pickup getting sprinkler systems ready for spring. And once again I want to thank Bruce and Lori for donating their time servicing the Center’s irrigation system for the last many years.

After writing last week about scam phone calls, I received two – one asking me to press 1 for further information; and the other telling me I needed to call a certain number to avoid being charged for I’m not sure what. They were very convincing if I didn’t know any better.  

But there is some good news as reported on the AARP website. “Attorney General William Barr recently announced the largest-ever annual sweep of alleged fraudsters accused of targeting older Americans. More than 400 defendants have been charged in the past year, and they are purported to have been behind victim losses surpassing $1 billion. Barr also announced that preventing and disrupting transnational elder fraud is now one of the top priorities of the U.S. Department of Justice.” So, there is some hope. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The name given to the failed landing operation along the southwest coast of Cuba led by Cuban exiles opposed to the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro was the Bay of Pigs. I received correct answers from Barbara Cadwell, Lana Tepfer, Cheri Brent and Sam Bilyeu who is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Rhonda Spies

This may be a guy thing, but do you remember moistening a small piece of paper and blowing it throw a straw - a favorite way to disrupt the class by harassing a fellow student? Today you can even find a professional guide on the internet! For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for this moistened piece of paper rolled into a ball? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with your favorite prank from your school days – that you are willing to admit!

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the silver lining in an old worn out jacket. Until we meet again, as they said in in England during WW II “Stay Calm and Keep Your Distance” – or something like that.

 “Introverts Unite – Separately.”  seen on Twitter

Aging Well in the Gorge March 11th 2020


Over the last month the Center has received several calls from individuals who have received spam calls. So, I guess it’s time for the semi-annual reminder on how to avoid scams – even for those of us who think “How could a person be that stupid?” But with the scams becoming increasing sophisticated, any of us could be “that stupid”.  

You already know the basics: don’t ever wire money or send cash or gift cards as a form of payment; don’t give your Social Security number to someone who makes an unsolicited call to you; and NO, your Social Security number cannot be suspended, revoked, frozen or blocked. (The Social Security Administration (SSA) may call you if you’ve working with the agency on some issue or claim. But just to make sure it’s truly the SSA calling you back, hang up and call SSA’s main number at (800) 772-1213).

Also, many of us are learning not to answer calls from unknown numbers. On my phone I try to keep my contact list up-to-date, so I know who’s calling. But I still feel guilty whenever I ignore a call from an unknown number especially if it’s a local number - but half the time it is just an unwanted solicitation. If they really want to talk to you, they’ll leave a message. I just have to remember to check my voice messages!

What I didn’t know were these two suggestions by AARP.

Don’t return one-ring calls from unknown numbers. These may be scams to get you to call hotlines in African and Caribbean countries that have U.S.-style three-digit area codes, and you could incur hefty connection and per-minute fees.

Don’t follow instructions on a prerecorded message, such as “Press 1” or “Press Yes” to speak to a live operator (it will probably lead to a phishing expedition); or press any key to get taken off a call list (it will probably lead to more robocalls).

If you have any questions call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline: 877-908-3360 available Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. This free resource, available to everyone, can provide the information you need to protect yourself and your family.

On Thursday March 12th at 11:00 Stephanie Becker from MCMC will be discussing “Coping with the Blues” - how to pick yourself up when you’re down in the dumps. Learn how to maintain your health and well-being during difficult times while making the most of the rest of your life.

How are you going to spend St. Patrick’s Day? Drinking a bottle of Guinness by yourself? Why not have some fun by attending the 23rd annual “St. Pat’s at St. Pete’s” St. Patrick’s Day concert at 7 PM at the St. Peter’s Landmark on Tuesday, March 17th.  Victor Johnson, the River City Dudes, and others will join Cascade Singers community choir, the ensemble, and “Almost-All-Irish-Almost-All-Brass Band” for Irish classical songs, novelty numbers, traditional favorites and sing-alongs.  Admission is a free-will offering to benefit St. Peter’s Landmark.

The Arctic Circle restaurant was located where Montira’s Thai Cuisine is now, and Momma Jane’s replaced Pat’s Pancake House. But before Pat’s Pancake House, Gary Conley remembers Jumbo Drive-in and Ed Smart’s Secondhand store (I hope I got the right). Does anyone else remember them?

I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Virginia Johnson, John Huteson (who asked if anyone remembers the Hoot Owl CafĂ©), Tiiu Vahtel, Ron Nelson, Cherie Monette, who along with her husband worked at the Arctic Circle, and is this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

The 50’s and 60’s were a time of cold war tensions. But it particularly came close to home when Fidel Castro led a revolt to overthrow Batista’s dictatorial regime in Cuba. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name for the failed landing operation in April 1961 on the coast of Cuba by Cuban exiles opposed to the increasingly communist government of Fidel Castro? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a tape of Ed Sullivan’s interview of Fidel Castro shown January 11th, 1959 on his variety show.

Well, it’s been another week, still waiting for my once a year good idea. Until we meet again, my wife told me there comes a time in every marriage when 70% of the conversations is someone yelling from the other room “WHAT?”.

Aging Well in the Gorge March 4th 2020


You can’t turn on the television or the radio without hearing about the new coronavirus - officially called COVID-19. It’s particularly scary not knowing how far the virus will eventually spread in the U.S. My daughter was so worried she cancelled her flight from San Diego to San Jose to see a K-pop concert - and that’s a big deal for her!

From what I understand there is still much that’s not understood about COVID-19: how lethal it is (it could be twenty times more than the seasonal flu), how many will be infected (because the seasonal flu infects millions, it kills hundreds of thousands around the world each year even though it’s much less lethal than COVID-19), what groups are more affected, and how it spreads (it seems to spread easily).

Although there is the possibility of transmitting COVID-19 by contacting infected objects, it’s spread mainly from person-to-person through the respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

So, what is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19? I’m sure you know the answer. Washing your hands! But I learned it’s NOT how I wash my hands.  

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should follow these five steps. 

1. WET your hands with running water and apply soap. Using soap to wash hands is more effective than using water alone because the surfactants in soap lift soil and microbes from your skin.

2. LATHER your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Lathering and scrubbing hands creates friction, which helps lift dirt, grease, and microbes from your skin. 

3. Now this is the toughest step for me. SCRUB your hands for at least 20 seconds. For me that seems like an eternity. But if you aren’t sure how long, hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice. (I can imagine walking into the men’s restroom and discovering a barbershop quartet singing “Happy Birthday” in four part harmony while scrubbing their hands.)

4. RINSE your hands well under running water. Soap and friction help lift dirt, grease, and disease-causing germs from your skin so they can then be rinsed off your hands.

5. DRY your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol - but you should still rub your hands for twenty seconds!

Public health officials and medical providers are working hard to prevent the worse from the COVID-19 threat. And you can do your part by developing the habit of washing your hands - the right way. It will help you stay healthy now and particularly during the next flu season.

Kerry Cobb’s presentation at the Center on Tuesday March 10th is “Understanding Poetry”. You will read and discuss a variety of timely thought-provoking poems written by master poets. You'll look at poetic message, meaning, and relevance as experienced through the work of artistic poet expression.

The need for home delivered meals has skyrocketed in the last three years from 100 to 140 meals a day. With the increased need, Denise Patton, Director of Meals-on-Wheels, may have to establish another route which means adding more drivers when it’s already difficult to find the volunteer drivers for the current routes. If you have time between 11:00 and 12:30 one day a week, please consider volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels.

The name of the superhero cartoon character popular since the 30’s was “Popeye the Sailorman”. I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Mary Ann Hass, Sandy Haechrel, Julie Carter (who mentioned we can’t forget Olive Oyl, Wimpy and Sweet Pea), Barbara Cadwell, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Lana Tepfer, John Huteson, Jerry Phillips, Rhonda Spies and Patty Burnet from Moro this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

It’s the first Wednesday of the month so it’s time for “Businesses That Were”. For this week’s two part “Remember When” question, what business was first located where Montira’s Thai Cuisine is now; and what popular restaurant use to be in the building Momma Jane’s now occupies? Email your answers to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a frozen pancake.

Well, it’s been another week, keeping an eye on what’s possible. Until we meet again, don’t forget to sing “Happy Birthday” - twice.

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.” Will Durant, historian


Aging Well in the Gorge February 26th 2020


Last week a friend asked, “How old are you?” I’m not at that stage in my life when I can start bragging about my age, but I told her anyway, “I’m 72”. “Wow, you don’t look 72” was her response.

I knew she intended that to be a compliment, and I usually I take it that way. But after thinking more about what she said, I thought “But this IS what 72 looks like!” - and wondered what was her mental picture of 72?

You may have experienced these well-intentioned but veiled ageist remarks based on what our youth focused society thinks old age should look like. Should I have a wrinkled face? Should I see a walker as a sign of decline instead of a means to stay independent? Should I be disinterested in community events? Should I be technologically illiterate?

Even though we know different, we can still internalize these negative perceptions of all older adults which can affect our own health: avoiding water aerobics because we don’t want to be seen in a swimming suit; or no longer walking because we feel embarrassed using a walker.

You may have heard other well intentioned comments based on the false concept that young is better than old; or that demean and devalue a person assuming somehow they are less than who they really are. Here are a few more from the AARP website “Disrupt Aging”.  What do you think?

“Grandma is so adorable.” Is grandma a puppy or a baby? “Adorable” can be demeaning when applied to an older adult.

“Can I help you young lady?” Why mention age at all? This comment just reinforces the cultural value that young is good and old is bad.

“Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.” This generalizes that anyone who is old is not educable or retrainable – such as the belief older adults can’t learn new technologies. It’s not that we can’t. It’s just that we ask the question, “Why?”

“60 is the new 30.” Now what does that mean? In our 60’s are we supposed to be the same as when we were in our 30’s? And would we really want to be?

Older adults are diverse, each with their own individual gifts, challenges and possibilities - as well as different levels of mobility, aptitude and interests. There is not one picture of what our 70’s, 80’s or 90’s should look like.

And yet - knowing how these well intentioned remarks can embody a deeper negative view of aging and older adults, the other day when I learned a friend was 86, my first thought was, “Wow, he doesn’t look 86!”

You’re lucky if you appreciate local history because as this is a leap year there is an extra “Original Courthouse Regional History Forum” on Saturday, February 29th. This week’s forum is “Famous Visitors: Guess Who Came to Dinner?” Rodger Nichols, a man of many talents as well as local historian and member of the Courthouse board, will share stories about notable folks who have come to The Dalles in the past 215 years plus some homegrown notables. The program begins at 1:30 p.m. in the 1859 courthouse behind The Dalles Chamber of Commerce/Visitors’ Center.

The hit television series first aired in 1966 where the IMF leader received his tape-recorded instructions ending with “This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds” was Mission Impossible starring Peter Graves (the younger brother of Matt Dillion - I mean James Arness). I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Diana Weston, Lana Tepfer, Jess Birge, Marta and Guy Moser, Jeanne Pesicka, Dave Lutgens and Ron Nelson this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Elaine Lee.

This superhero could be found in comic strips, theatrical shorts and television cartoons since the 30’s and was one of my favorites when growing up in the 50’s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the character who sang (and you can sing along at home), “I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam, I’m ….” Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a case of a certain green vegetable.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the early morning sunlight. Until we meet again, don’t look for what you don’t want to see.
“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.” Lauren Hutton

Aging Well in the Gorge February 19th 2020


If you don't experience joint pain or stiffness consider yourself lucky because most everyone I know does - and Arthritis is usually the culprit.

According to my go-to site for health information, Medline Plus (Health Information from the U.S. Library of Medicine) there are many types of Arthritis but Osteoarthritis is the most common. Some people call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips, and knees and happens when the cartilage within a joint begins to break down and the underlying bone begins to change. These changes usually develop slowly and get worse over time. So don’t wait!

If you experience joint pain, the first thing is to see a doctor - if you haven’t already. Only a doctor can tell if you have arthritis or a related condition and what to do about it. There’s no known cure for Arthritis, but there are many treatments to try before the last resort: surgery.

Make sure you keep your joints moving. Often your doctor will suggest physical therapy where you will learn muscle strengthening exercises and gentle stretching exercises that move your joints through their full range of motion.

Other suggestions are:
Take a walk every day. (Check online for the Arthritis Foundation's self-directed “Walk With Ease” Program.)
Use heat and cold therapies to reduce joint pain and swelling. A warm morning shower can help.
Try relaxation therapy to help reduce pain by learning ways to relax your muscles.
Use assistive device such as a cane or a jar opener.  
Try over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol Arthritis 8 Hour Extended Relief to help you get through the night.
And know your limits. Balance activity and rest - and don't overdo it.

Also, you may have heard of different complementary practices. My wife believes putting some gelatin in her juice every night reduces her arthritic pain. And my son has mentioned the “possible” benefits of Glucosamine-Chrondrotin supplements. But before you try any supplements, talk to your doctor first to make sure they are safe and there aren’t any harmful interactions with your current medications. You can also visit the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health website which provides the latest objective scientific research on the effectiveness and safety of alternative approaches.

We can avoid many risk factors for arthritis but there is one we can’t: getting older. (Or going back in time and taking better care of my joints!) Talk to your doctor, keep moving but don't overdo it, keep doing what your doctor prescribed, and stay positive. It may be a pain in the, uh, hip. But it’s better than the alternative.


The program for the 2020 Original Courthouse Regional History Forum on Saturday February 22nd is “Finding the Wire Trail:  Early Instant Communication in the Gorge”.
Dave and Helen Wand and Larry McGinnis who live east of Troutdale have been at work finding traces of the original telegraph system that ascended from the Sandy River and continued east to The Dalles following an old Indian trail. The program begins at 1:30 p.m. in the 1859 courthouse behind The Dalles Chamber of Commerce/Visitors’ Center.

The 2 inch diameter hole found in the upper right hand corner of the old school desks was used as an ink well - or as Sandy Haechrel told me an imaginative place to hold flowers.

I received correct answers from Jerry Phillips, Jim Ayers, Vicki Sallee, Diana Weston, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Laura Comini, Dave Lutgens, Patricia Foster, Sandy Haechrel, Kim Birge, Bill Jones, Denise Johnson, Carol Earl, Jeanne Pesicka, Virginia Johnson, Deloris Schrader and Patricia Foster this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Betsy Ayers.

Through the 50’s and 60’s television was such a part of our lives, many of the catchphrases from those days came from popular television series. For this week’s “Remember When” question, in what hit television series first aired in 1966 did the IMF leader receive their tape-recorded instructions ending with “This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording of the theme music composed by Lalo Schifrin.

Well, it’s been another week, wondering if it will ever snow again this winter. Until we meet again, keep your head on your shoulders and your boots in the stirrups.

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

Aging Well in the Gorge February 12th 2020


How many times have you felt embarrassed because you’d just met someone and a day latter you could not remember their name no matter how hard you tried? Don’t worry, it happens to folks of all ages. The good news is there are tricks you can use to improve your ability to remember names.

1. The first trick is the foundation of all memory: focus. You can’t remember anything if you don’t first encode it in your brain by paying attention. With names it can be particularly difficult when you meet someone for the first time: you may be anxious or thinking of what to say next instead of focusing on the person’s name.

2. Repetition. When you meet someone use their name in the first words of your conversation. And then repeat their name several times in the conversation. Try “Hello Betty, it’s very nice to meet you Betty. Now, Betty, how long have you worked there?” You’ll just have to explain that you may sound like a dork, but they’re so important you really want to remember their name.

3. Use your other senses. See their name by writing it out in order to utilize your visual memory. By using different senses, it will improve your ability to remember. The smell of fresh bread or a particular song can flood me with forgotten memories.

4. Make associations. Associate their name to a physical or personal characteristic. You might also try alliteration such as “Dollar Dave” or Big Bertha (or maybe not!). Or in my case I used rhyming words when I met Doreen in college. I can still remember her name by thinking of “Boring Doreen” - and she wasn’t boring at all. But it worked.

5. Create cues. The more you work at remembering a name, the sooner you will be able to recall it. For example, try creating cues. Make a list of the people in your book club and review it until you have all the names memorized.

By using these five tricks, you can improve your ability to remember names. Then you’ll be able to impress your new friends by remembering their names as they stammer trying to recall yours!

The program for the 2020 Original Courthouse Regional History Forum on Saturday February 15th is “Rufus and the Army Camp that Helped End World War II”. Cal McDermid, director of Fort Dalles Museum and a Sherman County native, explores the unique settlement in Old Wasco and later Sherman County, and the role of Camp Rufus in developing technology for bridging the Rhine.

Clarification from last week. I became aware that in addition to conducting the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau conducts over 100 surveys throughout the country - some of which includes visiting households. So, there is the chance you may be visited by someone from the Census Bureau before April 1st collecting information for one of the other Census Bureau surveys. Still in this day of scams and scammers it is good to be cautious. If anything feels suspicious and you want to verify if the worker or even a mailed survey is legitimate, call 301-763-INFO (4636), 800-923-8282 or the Regional office in California at 213-314-6500; or go online at www.ask.census.gov.

Sawyer’s TrueValue was located where the St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store is today and where Sawyer’s Ace Hardware and Rental is now (they changed from TrueValue to Ace Hardware in 2018) was previously the site for Safeway. I received correct answers from John Huteson, Cheri Brent, Laura Comini, Lana Tepfer, Ronda Spies, Ron Nelson, Jeanne Pesicka, Virginia Johnson and Mary Ann Hass this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

Most of you probably remember the old school desks bolted to the floor with a writing table you could open so you could cram your books and papers inside. And a pencil/pen slot carved along the front edge of the top with a two-inch diameter hole in the front right corner. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was that hole once used for?  Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop off your answer scratched in the top of an Antique Vintage Industrial Double School Desk - which will set you back only $165.

Well, it’s been another week trying to keep it straight and narrow. Until we meet again, as Ernie Sillwell told me “You don’t miss what you haven’t seen”.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance of the violet that clings fast to the heel that crushed it.” George Roemish from his poem “Forgiveness”

Aging Well in the Gorge February 5th 2020


Ah, the days when snake oil salesmen only traveled from city to city selling their dubious medical cures. Now with today’s technology, scam artists are found everywhere: at your door, on the phone, by email and now even text messages.

Using all these means, what better time for scam artists to ply their trade than during the 2020 Census when the Census does ask detailed questions about things like income, assets, job status, and household amenities - which in most every other case is no one’s busy. (I heard of one person who has already been visited by someone claiming to be a Census Taker - and the Census doesn’t start till April 1st!)

Even though we are just entering the month of February and only dreaming about April, it’s not too early to know the warning signs to look for during this decade’s census.

When a census taker comes to your door, check for their valid ID badge with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. Also, they will never ask you for money or financial data, such as the amount in your bank account, Social Security number, or mother’s maiden name.  And they will never threaten you with arrest - although you can be fined for not participating.

Online if you receive an email from the Census Bureau be suspicious. The agency almost always makes contact by mail. They don’t send unsolicited emails. If you do receive such an email don’t reply, click links or open attachments - and forward the message to ois.fraud.reporting@census.gov. And for any website that claims to be a Census website, check the web address.  Make sure it has a census.gov domain and is encrypted: look for https:// or a lock symbol in the browser window.

If you receive anything by mail, check to see if the return address includes the U.S. Department of Commerce or U.S. Census Bureau and Jeffersonville, Ind. - the site of the National Processing Center. You may also receive a reminder letter from one of the Census Bureau’s regional offices or headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area.

If you receive a phone call don’t trust caller ID — scammers can use “spoofing” tools to make it appear they’re calling from a real Census Bureau number. Call the National Processing Center at 800-523-3205 or 800-642-0469 to verify the phone survey is legitimate. There are valid reasons why you may be called such as if they don’t find you at home or when a personal visit is not convenient.

The goal of the 2020 Census is a complete and accurate count - but worrying that you might be a sucker for some scam makes reaching that goal even more difficult. If you do encounter anything suspicious, call the regional office for Oregon (818) 267-1700 or 1-800-992-3530; or call 800-923-8282 to speak with a Census Bureau representative. Also the U.S. Census has an excellent and comprehensive secure website at https://www.2020census.gov/ where you can learn more about the Census and how to apply to become a Census taker.

The program for the 2020 Original Courthouse Regional History Forum on Saturday February 8th is “The Women of Sorosis:  Social ‘Influencers’ of Their Day”. Denise Dietrich Bokum will share the far-reaching contributions of women leaders in The Dalles who gave Sorosis Park its name. Program begins at 1:30 pm.

The title of the epic historical film about an English officer who successfully united and led the diverse Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks was Lawrence of Arabia. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Dave Lutgens, Sam Bilyeu, Deloris Schrader, Rhonda Austin, Ruth Radcliffe, Jim Ayers, Bill Marick, Sandy Haechrel and Michael Murat this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

On the first Wednesday of the next several months I’m going to ask a local history question about businesses that once were located at a different location. For this week it’s a two-part “Remember When” question. What business use to be where St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store is now? And what business use to be where Sawyers Ace Hardware and Rental is now? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop off your answers on the back of a crisp hundred dollar bill.

Well, it’s been another week, trying to take care of business. Until we meet again, I’ve found the answer to most every important question is “It’s complicated!”.

“A friend is someone who picks you up when no one else realized you have fallen.” Mar Razalan

Aging Well in the Gorge January 29th 2020


You know all the reasons moving is good for you: strengthens your heart, keeps your brain sharp and helps maintain your weight. But why is it always so hard to actually start? Are you too busy? Afraid of falling? Too embarrassed to exercise in public? Or just too tired? Well, you are not alone. Only about half of adults get the 150 minutes per week of exercise the CDC recommends.

But now you won’t have any excuses because here are six suggestions on how to get moving from the AARP Staying Sharp website.

1. Even though your body constantly reminds you that you’re no longer seventeen, think back to when you were younger and the physical activities you enjoyed. Bicycling? Swimming? Dancing? You’ll keep moving if you enjoy what you’re doing.  

2. Start small. Remember the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.  Don’t worry about meeting the CDC recommendation when you start, just get started. If five minutes a day gets you moving, do it. Then add more the next week until you reach a comfortable level. The idea is to keep it fun. You don’t want to reach the point when exercise becomes a chore.

3. Increase all the physical activity you already do that you don’t think of as exercise —vacuuming or laundry - and when it gets warmer, planting a garden. And outside the home, take the stairs instead of the elevator; or walk inside instead of using the drive-through window. Easier doesn’t always mean better.

4. Use a pedometer or your phone’s step-counting app to track your steps each week. Then challenge yourself. Try to increase the number of steps by 10% each week. Record the number on your refrigerator to remind yourself how you are improving. 

5. Find someone to workout with. You can hold each other accountable and encourage each other to do a little more until you reach a comfortable but challenging level. Besides it’s fun to work out with a friend.

6. Double your pleasure by doing purposeful tasks that can also increase your physical activity: walking your dog more often, volunteering to pick up trash at a Blue Zone event or doing my laundry. (I can drop my laundry off anytime that works for you!)

So. remember what you once enjoyed, start small, extend you non-exercise activities, measure your progress, get a buddy and exercise for a purpose. Then pull yourself up off the couch, take that first bite or in this case your first step, because it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish that counts.



Every year I try to mention the Original Courthouse Regional History Forum because they always have such fascinating programs. This year’s first program on February 1st is “From Radical Idea to Ratification:  Women’s Voting Rights”. The speaker is Janice Dilg the state coordinator for an online resource for the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment that extended voting rights to women.  She will tell the story of Sylvia Thompson (D-The Dalles) who introduced the bill ratifying the amendment in Oregon’s 1920 special session. The program begins at 1:30 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the 1859 courthouse behind The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.

For last week’s “Remember When” question I had to check Wikipedia twice to make sure I had the correct movie because so many were answering Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. But the correct answer is Lilies of the Field whose title came from Matthew 6:27-33. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Rhonda Austin, Cheri Brent and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Dave Lutgens.

One last movie question before the Academy Awards. In 1957 David Lean won the Best Director Oscar for the film The Bridge on the River Kwai and five years later won his second Oscar for Best Director. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of the epic historical film he directed about an English officer who successfully united and led the diverse Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a map of the Ottoman Empire before World War I.

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the cherry on top. Until we meet again, start doing what you know you can do.

“Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.” Author Unknown

Aging Well in the Gorge January 29th 2020


You know all the reasons moving is good for you: strengthens your heart, keeps your brain sharp and helps maintain your weight. But why is it always so hard to actually start? Are you too busy? Afraid of falling? Too embarrassed to exercise in public? Or just too tired? Well, you are not alone. Only about half of adults get the 150 minutes per week of exercise the CDC recommends.

But now you won’t have any excuses because here are six suggestions on how to get moving from the AARP Staying Sharp website.

1. Even though your body constantly reminds you that you’re no longer seventeen, think back to when you were younger and the physical activities you enjoyed. Bicycling? Swimming? Dancing? You’ll keep moving if you enjoy what you’re doing.  

2. Start small. Remember the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”.  Don’t worry about meeting the CDC recommendation when you start, just get started. If five minutes a day gets you moving, do it. Then add more the next week until you reach a comfortable level. The idea is to keep it fun. You don’t want to reach the point when exercise becomes a chore.

3. Increase all the physical activity you already do that you don’t think of as exercise —vacuuming or laundry - and when it gets warmer, planting a garden. And outside the home, take the stairs instead of the elevator; or walk inside instead of using the drive-through window. Easier doesn’t always mean better.

4. Use a pedometer or your phone’s step-counting app to track your steps each week. Then challenge yourself. Try to increase the number of steps by 10% each week. Record the number on your refrigerator to remind yourself how you are improving. 

5. Find someone to workout with. You can hold each other accountable and encourage each other to do a little more until you reach a comfortable but challenging level. Besides it’s fun to work out with a friend.

6. Double your pleasure by doing purposeful tasks that can also increase your physical activity: walking your dog more often, volunteering to pick up trash at a Blue Zone event or doing my laundry. (I can drop my laundry off anytime that works for you!)

So. remember what you once enjoyed, start small, extend you non-exercise activities, measure your progress, get a buddy and exercise for a purpose. Then pull yourself up off the couch, take that first bite or in this case your first step, because it doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you finish that counts.



Every year I try to mention the Original Courthouse Regional History Forum because they always have such fascinating programs. This year’s first program on February 1st is “From Radical Idea to Ratification:  Women’s Voting Rights”. The speaker is Janice Dilg the state coordinator for an online resource for the 2020 centennial of the 19th Amendment that extended voting rights to women.  She will tell the story of Sylvia Thompson (D-The Dalles) who introduced the bill ratifying the amendment in Oregon’s 1920 special session. The program begins at 1:30 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the 1859 courthouse behind The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.

For last week’s “Remember When” question I had to check Wikipedia twice to make sure I had the correct movie because so many were answering Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. But the correct answer is Lilies of the Field whose title came from Matthew 6:27-33. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Rhonda Austin, Cheri Brent and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Dave Lutgens.

One last movie question before the Academy Awards. In 1957 David Lean won the Best Director Oscar for the film The Bridge on the River Kwai and five years later won his second Oscar for Best Director. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the title of the epic historical film he directed about an English officer who successfully united and led the diverse Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a map of the Ottoman Empire before World War I.

Well, it’s been another week, looking for the cherry on top. Until we meet again, start doing what you know you can do.

“Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.” Author Unknown


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