Aging Well in the Gorge April 29th 2020


Governor Brown announced a “Framework for Opening Oregon” but there are still details to work out with all the stakeholders, so any idea when we will get back to the new normal is anyone’s guess and probably wrong. For some of you, this has been a time to catchup and do things you haven’t thought about or had the time to do; reread books you enjoyed ten years ago, watch Bringing up Baby with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant - again, or learn to bake a pizza napoletana as they do in Naples, Italy where pizza was born.

Then for many of you, you have been inside long enough and about ready to go bananas! (Do people still use that expression – or am I showing my age?)

But they say for every cloud there is a silver lining, and one benefit I have found is that many events are being held virtually so I am able to attend when otherwise I wouldn’t. An example was the Ageless Awards held in Portland last Thursday sponsored by the non-profit Age+ that recognized individuals over 75 who have contributed to their communities and are a role model for all of us. (You may recall that with the help of Age+ the Center sponsored the Wasco County Ageless Awards last year recognizing Lucille Petersen, Terry Stoddard, Bill Hamilton and Prudence Amick.)

The Ageless Awards was quite an inspiration: hearing the accomplishments and what motivated the three recipients of the award. One of the recipients you may recognize: Bev Clarno, who served in the Oregon House of Representatives (Speaker of the House from 1995 – 1997) and in the Oregon Senate; and at the age of 83 was appointed by Kate Brown in 2019 to serve as Secretary State. She described herself as not the oldest but the most experienced person to ever have filled that position.

During her acceptance, she made two points that spoke to me. She said that at the age of 83 she still wants to stay engaged because it makes her feel worthy. And she believes adults over 75 can do more than they allow themselves to do. Good advice. We may not reach the heights she has reached, but we can still do more than we think we can, helping others and caring for ourselves.

Time for another dose of humor. While researching next week’s column about talking to yourself (well, that’s not exactly right, but you’ll find out), I read about Franklin P. Jones, a Philadelphia reporter and humorist. He was known nationally during the 1940s and 50s for his column "Put it this Way" in the Saturday Evening Post (do you still remember the magazine?) which set a record as the magazine’s longest continuously published feature.

Here are a few of his many quips.

“Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.”
“A fanatic is one who sticks to his guns whether they're loaded or not.”
“The easiest way to solve a problem is to pick an easy one.”
“Nothing makes you more tolerant of a neighbor's noisy party than being there.”
“Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”

The influential singer thought by many as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music was "You Send Me" Sam Cooke. I received correct answers from Rhonda Spies, Carol Salusso, Kim Birge, Patty Burnet, Dave Lutgens, Carol Earl (who I missed last week), Lana Tepfer and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket: Julie Davis.

In grade school I remember playing my favorite games during recess: four square, dodge ball, and touch football. Diane Weston remembers playing another game during recess. See if it’s one you remember. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the game where kids divided into two teams, one on each side of a building and before throwing a ball over the building would yell out the name of this game so the other side would know the ball was coming? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Diane’s one room schoolhouse in North Park, Colorado.

Well, it’s been another week, enjoying meeting people while out walking. Until we meet again, do something fun.

“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Harry S Truman

Aging Well in the Gorge April 22nd 2020


Contrary to past pandemics, this time we have the technology to connect - virtually. By using such platforms as Facebook Live, Apple’s FaceTime, Google Hangouts or Zoom, you can still get together with your family or friends. It can feel awkward, but I enjoy being able to see who I’m talking with. (Although my wife doesn’t appreciate that now she must fix her hair before talking with anyone!)

You can also explore the world from your own home. You can visit world renown museums at the website artsandculture.google.com where you can even find unique art collections such as “Woof. Nine Painted Pooches”. And with YouTube, you can imagine yourself on a safari observing elephants in South Africa, looking out on Times Square from your hotel window, or sitting on a peaceful Thai Beech with the sound of lapping waves because you can find these scenes streamed in real time.

From your living room, you can now visit with family and explore the world - all in living color. And if this is new to you and you would like to learn more, this fall the Center will be offering classes about connecting virtually.

Because older adults need to stay home to protect themselves, the eligibility rules for Meals-on-Wheels have been relaxed so anyone over 60 can receive home delivered meals. If you are self-isolating and would like a nutritious meal delivered, call The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels at 541-298-8333.

The Center Quilters’ first priority for their handmade face masks has been care facilities and businesses that interact with the public. But now we have enough face masks to distribute to individuals. Call the Center at 541-296-4788 between 8:00 and 5:00 to request face masks and we will deliver them to you within 48 hours. And remember, the face masks are most effective protecting others. Make sure whomever you are in contact with is wearing a face mask to protect you. So far there have been only ten confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wasco County - and that’s good news. But we need to work to make sure there aren’t any more.

Since virtual meetings are becoming so common, I would like to know if anyone would be interested in joining a virtual book club. The focus would be a humorous look at aging starting with Roger Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging - A Wry and Witty Guide to Life. If you are interested, email me at mcseniorcenter@gmail.com.

Until there are once again community events to share, I have been including a joke every week which I hope will make you smile - even though you may have heard them many times before; and I also hope you won’t find offensive - although there are no guarantees.

Because humor is very personal and situational, a joke can make one person laugh and another wondering what’s so funny. And If a young person tells a joke about older people it can feel demeaning, but the same joke told by an older person it’s self-deprecating.

But I’ll take my chance and see if I can make you smile with this one-liner from Henny Youngman.

“I told my doctor I broke my leg in two places. He told me to quit going to those places.”

The name of the top rated television series where the father never could keep an opinion to himself but would tell anyone who talked too long to “stifle” was All in the Family. And “meathead” was played by Rob Reiner. I received correct answers from Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Patty Burnet, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu Vahtel, Jim Ayers and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket Dorothy Herman who mentioned that Sally Struthers, Meathead’s wife, grew up in Portland.

Some considered this influential singer, composer, and producer as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this singer who recorded thirty top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964 including "You Send Me", “Cupid", "Wonderful World", and "Twistin' the Night Away"? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with his last album Ain’t That Good News released in 1964.

Well, it’s been another week, falling asleep except when I want to. Until we meet again, you know life has changed when going out with your wife means waiting in the car at Fred Meyer for the grocery pickup.

 “Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.” Unknown

Aging Well in the Gorge April 15th 2020


During every crisis, what surfaces like flowers in a garden or weeds in my backyard? Scams. And this pandemic is no exception - particularly concerning the Economic Impact Payments that I discussed last week.

The IRS wants you to take extra care during this time and to remember the IRS isn't going to call asking you to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster. And don’t open or click on attachments in surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Go to IRS.gov for the most up-to-date information. Be diligent and if it seems suspicious, it probably is.

The Economic Impact Payments should start going out this week. And if you want to know the status of your payment, the IRS has set up a portal called “Get My Payment” which will go live on April 17th. You can find “Get My Payment” by going to IRS.gov, and then clicking on “Get Info on Economic Impact Payment”. From there scroll down to “Get My Payment”. The federal government tends to over promise and under deliver. But because it is herculean task to set up this new payment system, be patient if it takes longer than you hoped.

For those who barely scrape by on Social Security, the Economic Impact Payment is a life saver. But for those of us who are doing okay – or better, consider donating some of the payment to your favorite non-profit. I know several non-profits had to cancel their fundraising events which they depend on to carry out their missions. For example, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels are both losing thousands of dollars because Thursday and Saturday night bingo have been canceled. So consider giving a little extra to your favorite non-profit or your church so when these difficult times pass, they can continue doing their important work.

My wife and I usually don’t eat out much, but during this pandemic when the restaurants that have remained open are struggling, we have decided to start ordering takeout twice a week from our favorite local restaurants. I don’t know any local restaurant that does not help support the community - and now they need our support. If you have your favorite restaurant or have always wanted to try out a different restaurant’s menu, this is the time to skip the cooking.  Because as Jack often said, “Food always tastes better when someone else cooks it”.

I imagine most of you have been around long enough to know that bleach is an excellent disinfectant. But to be fully effective you should follow these steps. Start by cleaning the surface with soap and water. Then spray or wipe the surface with a bleach solution and let stand for 10 minutes before rinsing and drying the surface. What I didn’t know is that the bleach solution (I use one teaspoon per eight ounces of water) starts to lose its effectiveness after 24 hours, so change the solution every day.

The mail order company headquartered in Chicago Illinois that offered customers a wider selection of products than the local general store was named Sears and Roebuck and Company. I received only two correct answers from Rhonda Spies and Barbara Cadwell who are both winners of a quilt raffle ticket.

Norman Lear produced several groundbreaking television series in the 70’s. This one which premiered in 1972 (That is almost a half a century ago!) was about a family whose father never could keep an opinion to himself, but didn’t want to hear anyone else’s - especially his wife’s. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this top rated television series where the main character would tell anyone who talked too long to “stifle”? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the name of the actor who played the son-in-law called “meathead” because he was “dead from the neck up”.

Here’s a memory joke with a twist from the book Die Laughing: Killer Jokes for Newly Old Folks by William Novak.

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.”

Well, it’s been another week, driving around town with the windows down. Until we meet again, remember you are not alone during these strange times.

“The worst time to have a heart attack is during a game of charades.” Demetri Martin

Aging Well in the Gorge April 8th 2020


Many of us have complained about being on fixed income, but during times like these where thousands are losing their jobs, (including older adults who are working part-time) an adequate fixed income feels pretty good.

But to help those who are feeling the financial pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, part of the trillion dollar package passed by congress and signed by the president includes what is officially called an “Economic Impact Payment” of $1200 for individuals whose adjusted gross income is less than $75,000 or up to $150,000 for married couples. (If you make more than those amounts, the payment amount is reduced by $5 for each $100 above the $75,000/$150,000 threshold.)

But some of you may ask, “That’s great but what if I receive social security and I don’t make enough to file taxes. What do I need to do?” The answer is nothing!

Initially the US Treasury was going to require anyone who usually doesn’t file to complete a simple tax return. But because of pressure from members of Congress, the Treasury reversed its position and you will NOT be required to file a tax return.

Okay then, how do I get my payment? Well it depends.

In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. If you filed and did not provide direct deposit information to the IRS, you will be able to provide your banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on IRS.gov in mid-April. (Do not give you direct deposit or other banking information to someone else to input into the secure portal on your behalf!) But if you don’t want to give the IRS your direct deposit information (you do not have to), a check will be mailed to your address on file.

When my wife and I receive our checks, I think it would be fun to reward ourselves for surviving the pandemic and do something we haven’t ever done before – take a cruise! Well, maybe not.

I’m beginning to use my handmade face mask, and when I first saw myself wearing it, the first thing that came to mind was “I think I’ll rob a bank!” But if you would like to help folks protect others – and to disguise themselves - the Center’s Quilters are still accepting donated handmade face masks to distribute. You can find more information on the Center’s website midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com. So far, the quilters have distributed over 400 masks to care facilities and local businesses and there is still a waiting list. And thank-you to all the church groups and individuals that are doing the same to make our communities safer.

Camlu was what is now Cherry Heights Living, and The Portage Inn is now the Shilo Inn. I received correct answers from Virginia Johnson, Jim and Betsy Ayers (who has an old telephone book!), Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Carol Earl, and Nancy Reed this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Jerry Phillips.

Before Amazon transformed the retail landscape, there was a mail order company headquartered in Chicago offering customers a wider selection of products than the local general store. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of this company that is commonly known today as Sears? Email your answer to mcseniorcenter@gmail.com, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with their 532-page catalog from 1895.

If you made it this far you deserve a joke for your perseverance. Here is a one forwarded to me by Donnamae Grannemann that shows the consequences of older adults following the rules.

At 7:45 A.M. today at a grocery store that opened at 8:00 for seniors only a young man came from the parking lot & tried to cut in at the front of the line.  A senior lady beat him back into the parking lot with her cane.

He returned & tried to cut in again, but an old man punched him in the gut, kicked him to the ground & rolled him away.

As he approached the line for the third time he said, "If you don't let me unlock the door, you'll never get in there."

Well, it’s been another week, walking back and forth from work enjoying the sounds of barking dogs and the smell of newly mowed grass. Until we meet again, my brother was wondering “Is God punishing us by telling us to stay in our rooms?”

“I don't have pet peeves; I have whole kennels of irritation.”  Whoopi Goldberg

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

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