Aging Well December 17 2013

The literature on aging has identified three pillars to successful aging: avoiding disease and disability; active engagement in life; and maximizing your cognitive and physical fitness. But Dr. Michael Parker, at the University of Alabama’s Comprehensive Center for Healthy Aging, believes there should be a fourth pillar which has been forgotten when discussing successful aging – the spiritual.

Spirituality extends beyond the physical and material, and connects the individual to something greater than the self. It is deeply personal and expressed in a variety of ways including the involvement in religious activities which is associated with better physical and mental health by providing intergenerational connections, social supports, and encouraging social involvement through good works.

To learn more you can attend the last Passport to Happiness Event of 2013 on Wednesday December 18th at the Center from 3:00 – 4:30 when Joyce Powell Morin will discuss the connection between spirituality and health and well-being.

You’ve probably heard the joke “Keep Grandma off the Street – Support Bingo”. For Thursday and Saturday Night Bingo at the Center, there is a loyal following of older adults but you will also find people of all ages enjoying bingo and  the tantalizing feeling of being, oh, so close – “just one more number!” Or the thrill of taking home $1000.

But bingo is the largest fundraiser for both Meals-on-Wheels (on Thursday nights} and the Center {on Saturday nights). For the Center, bingo generates approximately 20% of the Center’s operating budget. And as a special thank-you to all the bingo players who help support both Meals-on-Wheels and the Center, and to invite new players to this classic American game of chance, on Saturday December 28ththe Center will welcome the New Year, albeit  a few days early, with a Bingo Bash. A free dinner featuring pulled pork sandwiches will be served between 4:30 and 5:30 – in time to digest, clean up and be ready for the games to begin at 6:00 PM.

Thanks to the several folks who stepped forward to help with Bingo, but we still need a couple more cashiers and concession workers to fill in once a month. The time commitment is between 3 ½ and 5 ½ hours a night. Call the Center if you are interested.

The Center’s annual Christmas breakfast will be on December 21st – once again sponsored by The Springs of Mill Creek. The menu will include Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon plus fruit and your favorite beverage. And to add to the festive spirit, The Springs will be providing musical entertainment; plus they have invited Santa so the young-at-heart can have their picture taken with Santa. The cost is still only $5.00 for the general public and $4.00 for Center members. This will also be your last chance to buy raffle tickets for the beautiful quilt hanging in the Center’s lobby. The drawing will be held at 9:00 during the breakfast. .

During the holidays, the Center and Meals-on-Wheels will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. And because Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Wednesdays, there will not be Tuesday Night Music at the Center for the next two weeks. (You will just have to wait to use your already scrambled brain cells to decipher the wacky mixed up weekly music announcement.}  And there will not be Tuesday Lectures for the next two weeks either – which gives me time to line up the next speaker for January 7th. During the holidays many other Center classes are cancelled, so you may want to call to make sure your class is meeting.

In one of his last roles, Boris Karlof was the voice of the Grinch who stole Christmas in the children’s classic first shown on December 18th in 1966. (The winner of a free Christmas Breakfast on Saturday December 21st is Glenna McCargar.)

As you remember Christmas pasts with presents bought and received, here is a “Remember When” question for both the boys and girls in the peanut gallery. For the boys, what kind of cap did Fess Parker make famous in the Disney mini-series Davy Crockett? And for the girls, what was the name of one of the most popular “drink-and-wet dolls of the 50’s? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a saver book of S&H Green Stamps.

Well, it has been another week discovering what you think does matter doesn’t and what doesn’t matter does. Until we meet again, don’t let your angels pass by without saying thank-you.  

“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” Bing Crosby 

Aging Well December 10th 2013

I know you’ve been around the ice block a few times, so you have heard how to stay safe in cold weather. But then if I remembered everything I’ve heard, I would be a very sharp cookie – which I am reminded daily I am not. So maybe just a few reminders might help to keep you upright and avoid falling – one of the major dangers during the cold and slippery winter months.
Wear proper footwear – stable shoes with good traction. Keep a shovel, salt and sand nearby to make your path to the car or mailbox accessible and safe. Carry a cell phone with a contact number for ICE – In Case of Emergency. Take it slow – no need to hurry. No one else is moving very fast. Ask for assistance – don’t let pride goeth before a fall. Don’t take chances. Even if the Center and Meals-on-Wheels are open, don’t come in if you think it is unsafe. It’s not school and we won’t be calling your children if you miss a day. Have a plan for whom to call if something does happen: a fall or the car won’t start.
And don’t ignore the everyday healthy habits during these cold winter months: eat nutritious foods, exercise moderately; get proper rest; and drink adequate amounts of liquids.
For those of us who haven’t flown the coup to warmer climates (although when the temperature is below zero it is tempting), these are some common sense steps we can take to make sure the winter months are safe, enjoyable and full of good cheer with family and friends.
Daily exercise is good but spending hours shoveling snow can make a long day even longer. But this last Saturday, as Ron Sutherland was shoveling the Center’s parking lot, a crew of young people from the TOOL program at NORCOR came by with shovels in hand; and then a young man from Brace Brothers drove up on his hefty steed of a snow plowing machine and started plowing. Thanks to their generous help the parking lot is plowed and shoveled – but still slippery – waiting for the warmth of sunny skies and warmer temperatures to melt away the rest of the ice and snow.
Every third Monday and Tuesday, the Center offers the AARP Driver Safety class taught by Dennis Davis. And it was just announced that Dennis was selected as the AARP Drivers Safety Volunteer Instructor for November – in the whole State of Oregon! I knew he was good – but not that good. You can sign up anytime by calling the Center at 541-296-4788.
The Nu-2-U Shop has been picked up, put back down and spun around – cleaned up and ready to go for the Holiday Season with nice women’s and some men’s used clothing. But the Nu-2-U crew is telling me they are running low in good quality used clothing. So think of them while you are cleaning out the closet making room for all your new Christmas gifts. You can drop off any unwanted clothing at the Center on any week day between 9:00 and 4:00 PM.
Do you know there is an Internet website that will randomly mix up the letters in all the words of a sentence? Which makes it real tempting to jumble the letters every week for the Center’s music announcement. But since this is the last announcement for 2013, (there will not be music on the 24th or 31st) I will let you off easy – but just wait till next year.
On Tuesday, December 17th, Truman will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00 and the music starts at 7:00. Everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated.
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was the Christmas classic that reached #1 in December of 1952. (The winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Morris Melton.)

Continuing the Christmas theme for this week’s “Remember When” question, before Jim Carrey’s Grinch stole Christmas, there was the television special of the children’s classic, first shown on December 18th 1966. In this animated version, who was the voice of the Grinch (and also the narrator) playing one of his final roles?

E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of Mary Shelley’s first novel.
Well, it has been another week watching how the falling leaves have now turned to snow. Until we meet again, bad always looks better after it gets worse.   

“It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it’s the journey that matters, in the end.” Ursula LeGuin.

Aging Well December 3rd 2013

Sometimes, don’t you just wish things were different? Thoughts wouldn’t disappear like a magician’s assistant; the body could still scale tall mountains; and old friends would still be there – sitting next to you at church or during lunch at the Center.

There are days when it is a struggle just to keep moving and your head above water. And when that happens it is easy to focus on what we don’t have (and during this season we are bombarded with all the material things we don’t have) instead of what we do – and can get stuck riding a downward spiral into the sticky goop of self-pity.

But in the book Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life by M.J. Ryan, a book recently loaned to me by Ron Nelson, Ryan shares her thoughts and understanding of how gratitude can make us better aware of all the wonders we experience and remind us of the bountiful harvest before us and the amazing miracle of life.

By expressing our gratitude for what we have and making it a daily habit, we can live a more positive and meaningful life and have the strength to address our worries and change what is broken.

As Meister Eckhart once said “If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘thank you’ that would suffice.”

And for those of you who thought you missed last Tuesday’s Lecture by Joyce Powell Morin on the Healing Power of Gratitude and Optimism, you didn’t. I had to postpone the presentation, but it has been rescheduled for January 28th.

And speaking of the 11:00 Tuesday Lectures at the Center, the next speaker on December 10th will be Dick LaFever sharing his moving and powerful story of forgiveness and his faith that’s given him strength during the painful times in his life. Whether you have heard his message or not, I would encourage you to attend this presentation.

Pinochle is a popular card game: it is challenging involving teamwork and skill, but easy enough to learn. And what better way to get together with others, stretch your cranium (and if you know the right places – enjoy some great homemade snacks) while having fun. There are many places to play Pinochle including at the Center on Thursday afternoons starting at 1:00 and Friday nights starting at 6:00 – and like all the activities at the Center, they are open to everyone.

But if you want to learn how to play Pinochle or brush up on your skills, starting December 3rd on every Tuesday from 1 – 3 PM at the Eagles, there will be free instruction on how to play the game. It is open to everyone – you don’t have to be a member of the Eagles. For more information contact Gayla Hill at 541-993-0873.

Are you tired of having to read all the mixed up letters for the Center’s music announcement and just want it to be simple and clear? Sorry, no can do. You see, I’m only thinking of you – and how “easy” is really not good for your brain health – or much of a challenge. But you say you have enough challenges – like just getting out of the chair!  Okay, in the Christmas spirit, I will only scramble some of the words in this week’s music announcement. Now are you happy?

On Tuesday igevnen, Emderbec 10th ta the Rnecte, Martin adn Friends iwll eb lgyinap curntyo favorites. Rsodo open ta 6:00, hte usmci starts ta 7:00, and donations aer radpatpeiec. And no matter how cldo ti is outside, Byab ti’s wamr dnseii.

The answers to last week’s “Remember When” questions were Tom Mix, the original cowboy actor, and his horse Tony. (The winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on December 21st is Jim Ayers.)

And during the month of December I will ask questions from Christmases past – including this one about the No. 1 song in December 1952. What was the name of this Christmas oldie recorded by Jimmy Boyd, when he was only 13 years old, describing what a little boy saw when he walked downstairs on Christmas Eve. E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a bushel full of Phoradendron serotinum that I can hang in the bedroom doorway.

Well, it has been another week raking away the leaves that somehow keep reappearing.
Until we meet again, as we experience the challenges of aging don’t forget all the things that don’t need fixing.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Aging Well November 26th 2013

Well, it’s the beginning of the holiday season – when we enjoy the company of family and also gain seven pounds before the start of the New Year. But while visiting with parents, children, grandchildren or all three, it can be difficult navigating around and through past hurts and slights that are brought to family gatherings along with gifts and holiday treats.
But I found this advice that might help avoid the traps and difficulties often encountered at family gatherings. It is from the website Next Avenue (, a service of several PBS stations that offers advice on health and well-being, living and learning, work and finances and caregiving.
First, bury the hatchet (and although tempted – not in someone’s back!). You may not forget past wrongs, but try to maintain a spirit of forgiveness.
Second, keep your mouth shut! Well, not exactly. But hold your tongue – even when they have it all wrong! Follow the advice of Rumi, a 13thCentury Persian poet and philosopher, who suggested before you speak let your words pass through three gates. “At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’”
Third, simplify and reduce stress. Don’t be totally worn out when guests arrive. Determine ahead of time what is essential and what is not. And skip what is not.
Fourth, sneak in a few breaks to relax before, during and after the gathering.
Fifth, reinvent your traditions. Find a new location for the gathering. Or go as a family to help volunteer for a community event. Think outside the turkey roll.
Sixth, rethink your gift giving. Donate on behalf of your loved one to a non-profit. Or give “experience” gifts: tickets to the theater or a gift card to a restaurant they would not normally visit.
Families are our support system in times of trouble; our connections to the past and future. And when families are so scattered and often disconnected, the time together is a special time to be enjoyed and savored.   
The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture at the Center on December 3rd will be “Creative Aging: Using the Creative Arts to enhance your health and well-being”. Debra Jones who has offered the popular Creative Arts program at the Center will share her perspectives on the value of the creative arts.  
You have had a chance to buy raffle tickets for the quilt hanging in the Center’s lobby since July, but time is running out with the drawing on December 21stduring the Center’s annual Christmas Breakfast sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek. You can purchase raffle tickets at the Center – one for a $1.00, seven for $5.00, or I’ll make you a deal. How about eighty for $50? You can find a picture of the quilt on the Center’s website at
Okay it wasn’t easy to read last week’s music announcement – maybe the vowels are as important as they think. So I will bring back last week’s missing vowels and include them in this week’s music announcement. That should make it easier, right?
Ono Tueesdaya Deoecemeber 3rd, Tohe Storawobeirery Mioeunatiain Boanod uwill bie peaiying faor yoiur lisateyning auned deaonacinig enijoyomenot. Deooros oopen aot 6:00 aond aot 7:00 tehe mausuic sitarats faleying tehorougih tehe aoir leike lieaves uon ai buluseteroy daoy. Dionaotions arae apapreceiated aond everiyone and teheir beust fariend aere welecome.
Many folks remembered the Weigelts: brothers Paul and Gus plus sister Edna, who bought the bookstore from Inwer Nickelsen. And after they sold it to Phil and Linda Klindt in 1981, Edna continued working there until she was 91. (The winner of a free Saturday breakfast on December 21st is Virgil Choate.)
This week’s “Remember When” question was suggested by Alex Currie. Who was the silent movie star of westerns, the “King of Cowboys” when Ronald Reagan and John Waynewere mere children, and made over 291 films during his career?  And for bonus points, what was the name of his horse that was even given costar billing in several movies?  E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or drive you answer to the Center in a 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton.
Well, it has been another week trying to keep my hands warm while thinking 100 plus degree heat during the summer wasn’t that bad. Until we meet again, from Oprah Winfrey, the sage of daytime television, Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

Aging Well November 19th 2013

I don’t want to run as fast as I once did; or even look as ruggedly handsome – when all the girls I asked were too intimidated by my good looks to go out with me. (Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said when you’re young, you remember anything, whether it happened or not, but when you’re older, you only remember the latter. But I do vividly remember the lack of dates!)
No, I just wish I had a little of the youthful self-confidence: the “I know everything and can do anything” attitude that I once possessed. Because if there was a problem or mistake, I knew it was them. It was them that didn’t understand, or hear the question. I wasn’t me!
But not anymore.
Now too often I wonder – Is it me? Did I hear that right? Did I miss something? Did I really buy that $249 printer listed on the credit card statement? Because I haven’t seen it and I really didn’t need one? But did I? Could I be mistaken? It must be me!
But it isn’t. Well, not most of the time. I find it easy to magnify the hurried oversights, the inadvertent mistakes to start questioning my own abilities. And then I start playing it safe. But I know there is so much more to experience. And whether at 65 or 75 or 85 I can still have dreams, discover new interests and still believe that the best is yet to come. I just have to take the time to get off my rear end and look for it. 
At the urging of several folks who went to see the Singing Christmas Tree last year and wanted to go again, I have arranged another trip to see the Singing Christmas Tree in Portland on Sunday December 1st for the 2:00 matinee performance. But I am a little late on the draw, so you have less than two weeks to hop on board. The cost is $55 including transportation provided by the friendly folks at Sherman County Community Transit. The bus will leave the Senior Center in The Dalles at 11:30. You don’t have to be a Center member or even live in Wasco County – there are five folks from Hood River who are going to be picked up on the way. But you do need to call the Center now at 541-296-4788 to reserve your seat.
And two more quick announcements. November’s Passport to Happiness event, on Wednesday the 20th from 3:00 – 4:30 at the Center, will focus on Mental Health. (And save a place on your wall for the 2014 Passport to Happiness Calendar. It will be out next month.) And at next Tuesday’s 11:00 Lecture at the Center, Joyce Powell-Morin from MCMC has lined up a speaker to discuss the benefits associated with the “Healing Power of Gratitude and Optimism”.
Because you can’t have words without syllables; and syllables without vowels, vowels are known to be rather arrogant – believing they belong at the top of the alphabetic food chain. But just to show them they are not indispensable, this week’s music announcement for the Center has the vowels stripped away and placed in exile until next week.
n Tsdy, Nvmbr 26th “Fr th Gd Tms” wll b plyng fr yr lstnng nd dncng plsre. Sggstd dntn s $2.00 fr n nd $2.00 fr tw. Drs pn t6:00; msc strts t 7:00 nd vrybdy s wlcm ncldng trkys lkng for a plce t hd.
Thanks for the several ideas for the “Reminder When” question including one from Bill Van Nice (the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on December 21st) who suggested I include questions about local events such as this one.
In 1870 Inwer Nicholson opened a bookstore in The Dalles across the street from where it is currently located – now known as Klindt’s Booksellers. What was the name of the family who bought the bookstore from Inwer in 1927 and sold it to Phillip and Linda Klindt in 1981?” And for bonus points, what was the first name of the sister in the family who continued working at the store until she was 91? E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of the book Win-Quatt; A Brief History of The Dalles, Oregon.
Well, it has been another week trying to follow my mother’s advice “Stop shuffling and PICK UP YOUR FEET!” Until we meet again, keep the porch lights on and the fire burning warm.
“Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce.” Anonymous

Aging Well November 12th 2013

After retiring, many folks spend their extra time volunteering – which provides the flexibility to travel and engage in other personal pursuits, while making meaningful contributions such as mentoring young children, serving on church councils or delivering Meals-on-Wheels.

The unselfish work of volunteers is the backbone of strong, healthy communities. You can find a list of over fifty different volunteer opportunities at the Center’s website: And there is probably at least one that fits your interests and skills. But if you ever start singing the old age blues, there is nothing better to help change that tune than by making a difference volunteering.

The Center and Meals-on-Wheels are currently looking for volunteers for the Thursday and Saturday Night Bingo – specifically bingo callers, cashiers and concession workers. The time commitment is between two and five hours for only one night a month. If you are interested you can call the Center at 541-296-4788 or MOW at 541-298-8333.

The Center’s next Tuesday lecture will be presented by Rashed Al-Qarra, an AFS Student from Jordan, who he is attending Dufur High School. AFS-USA is a non-profit organization that has been a leader in intercultural learning and international exchange programs for over 65 years. As part their learning experience, AFS students are encouraged to share their culture and customs with their new community. If you want to learn more about Jordan and the Middle East, Rashed’s presentation starts at 11:00 on November 19th.

And if you are interested in experiencing different cultures, here’s one more volunteer opportunity. Rymmel Lovell, The Dalles AFS Chapter Chair, is always looking for host families or liaisons for the exchange students. You can contact her at 541-296-6546 or

Friday, November 15th from 7:00 – 9:00, there will be a Veterans Concert and Dance at the Center. The entertainment will be provided by Nehemiah Brown – a popular Pacific NW vocalist in the style of Nat King Cole, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett. Nehemiah is himself a veteran and during the evening he will include a military anthems medley. The musical evening is sponsored cooperatively by Flagstone Senior Living, Cherry Heights Retirement Community and The Springs at Mill Creek. Admission is $3,00 and all proceeds benefit the Center.

Saturday Breakfast is just down the hall and around the corner on the 16th from 8:00 – 9:30 am. The menu will include Texas French Toast, sausage, scrambled eggs and fruit as well as your favorite morning beverage. Cost is $5.00 for the general public and $4.00 for members.

So have you learned how to read backwards yet? Is it getting any easier? Or do you still have to ask your wife to read it for you? No matter. Here is one more chance to read the Center’s music announcement – backwards.

.selpuoc rof 00.3$ dna selgnis rof srallod owt si noitanod detseggus ehT .emoclew si ydobyreve dna 00:7 ta strats cisum ;00:6 ta nepo srood ehT .tnemyojne gninetsil dna gnicnad ruoy rof retneC eht ta gniyalp eb lliw ”namurT“ ,ht91 eht no thgin yadseuT txeN

Krazy Kat is the name of the comic strip published between 1913 and 1944 featuring the slapstick antics of Krazy Kat and his nemesis – the brick throwing Ignatz Mouse. (And this week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on November 16th is Alex Currie.)

But this week instead of asking another “Remember When” question, I going to reverse the flow and ask you to send me any suggestions because, well, the lake is getting a little dry. And besides my memories are limited – a middle class boy growing up in Indianapolis in the 50’s and 60’s. One of the most popular questions was about Bag Balm which was suggested to me since I had never heard of it. (I now use it on my dry feet and would probably use it everywhere if it wasn’t for its unique aroma. I don’t want people to see me and the first thing they think of is a cow’s udder.)

But the best questions are more than just trivia. They are about an event, a person or an object – from history to popular culture – that trigger long lost memories. E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the first episode of “This is Your Life” hosted by Ralph Edwards.

Well, it has been another week trying to stay upright while putting my pants on – one leg at a time. Until we meet again, at some point in life the destination no longer matters – as long as you keep moving.

“Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.´ George Burns 

Aging Well November 5th 2013

Whether it is painting a sunset illuminating the Columbia Gorge, writing a poem expressing the indescribable joys of grandchildren, or creating a walking stick out of a hand carved handle attached to a discarded monopod, these are all creative acts: fashioning something unique and personal out of the ordinary.

 As part of the human race we are meant to create – evident by young children building forts out of discarded boxes or our prehistoric ancestors drawing on cave walls. It is who we are. But many of us have been told verbally and silently – we aren’t good enough. And we got the message. We lost interest in the creative arts and the creative process and spent our time pursuing careers, raising families and rooting for our favorite football teams – Go Ducks!

 But as older adults, we are finally able to free ourselves from those internalized constraints learned over so many years and start exploring new forms of self-expression and start enjoying the process that was once loss of stumbling toward new personal discoveries by trying, testing, and trying again. It can start today or next week, in the art class or the garage and whether you are 65 or 85.

 And just maybe, as an added bonus, while absorbed in these new creative pursuits, the aches and pains and daily challenges we all face, might just be forgotten – at least for a little while.

 A great place to start or continue your creative journey is the Open Arts Studio that will be held at the Center on Wednesday November 13th from 10:00 to 4:00 with a lunch break from noon to 1:00 – even starving artists have to eat. The Open Art Studio, organized by Debra Jones, is an opportunity to explore different art mediums such as watercolors, glass painting, card making, Christmas ornaments, stamped recipe cards, creative writing and much more – although I can’t think of anything else. Supplies are provided or you can bring your own stuff and join the fun. Everyone is welcome especially all you folks who don’t see yourselves as the “creative or artsy” types. And just to get you salivating between now and February, there will be a six week drawing class for budding artists in different mixed medias starting February 4th. The class will be led by Carla Sonheim and will include creative and fun exercises to discover and nurture your creative self. More information will be available after the coming holiday seasons.

 Just a reminder. You no longer have to wait for a Drug Take Back event to safely dispose of your unwanted medications. Inside the front entrance of The Dalles City Police station, there is a drop box for unwanted medications – thanks to the efforts of YOUTHTHINK, MCMC and the City of The Dalles Police Department. But they don’t accept everything. Don’t bring your thermometers, sharps, medical waste, combustibles or inhalers.

 Before you start learning to walk and talk backwards, here is another chance to practice your newly acquired ability to read backwards. .si taht elpoep dna srallod – owt rof eerht dna eno rof owt si noitanod detseggus ehT .emoclew era nooccar tep rieht tpecxe ydobyreve dna 00:7 ta strats cisum ;00:6 ta nepo srood ehT .tnemyojne gninetsil dna gnicnad ruoy rof gniwaj dna gnimmaj eb lliw sdneirF dna nitraM ,retneC eht ta thgin yadseuT txeN

The Mercury Theater’s Halloween radio broadcast in 1938 that simulated news bulletins of a Martian invasion was adapted from the book War of The Worlds written by H.G. (Herbert George) Wells – who also wrote The Time Machine, and The Invisible Man and has often been called the father of Science Fiction. (And this week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on November 16th is Ted Mahoney.)

Now that the spooks and goblins are off the streets, this week’s “Remember When” question returns to the category of famous comic strips. What was the name of the comic strip (published between 1913 and 1944) considered by many as one the best comic strips of all time and featured the slapstick antics between a carefree and simple-minded cat, the brick throwing Ignatz Mouse, and the “Limb of Law and Arm of Order” police dog, Offissa Bull Pupp? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with one of the fifty animated cartoons based on the comic strip produced by King Features from 1962–1964.

Well, it has been another week zigzagging from one distraction to another. Until we meet again, don’t turn the lights off until you fall asleep.

“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes.” Frank Lloyd Wright

Aging Well October 29th 2013

November is a couple of steps away. And if you live in the Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation District, you know November is more than falling leaves and cooler temperatures. It is your chance to vote on the proposed pool bond which will replace the current pool – first built in 1938 and substantially rebuilt in 1990-91.

 And if common voting patterns hold true, those of us 65 and older will vote at the highest rate of any age group. According to a Census Bureau report, the turnout rate in the 2012 national election for adults 65 and over rose to 71.9% from 70.3% in 2008. In comparison, the rates among 18-to 24-year olds actually fell to 41.2% from 48.5% in 2008

 There are many reasons given for why older adults 65+ vote at such higher rates.Some suggest it is basically self-interest: protecting government benefits such as Social Security and Medicare. But more recent analysis suggests several other reasons.

 Older adults generally have more time to vote (although that is not as much an issue with mail-in ballots), and believe voting is their civic duty (How often have you heard “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain”.). But the key factor may be older adults are less mobile. They stay in one place longer and consequently are more connected to the local issues and candidates

 But what about measure 33-80 to build a new pool in The Dalles? There is no question that the pool structure needs to be replaced. (You can find pictures and a video on The Dalles Public Pool and Splash Park Facebook page.) But do you replace a ‘38 Chevy with another ’38 Chevy? Or do you buy something affordable, but with newer features that will save money and provide a better driving experience. (I personally don’t want to go back to the days without power steering and air conditioning!)

 That is why I am voting for the new pool. The new pool is affordable (just over $5.00 a month for a house accessed at $175,000); and will include several practical improvements that will increase the use of the pool including a moveable bulkhead and a water slide. Plus a new Parks and Rec office will be built at the pool to eliminate the cost of renting office space, and provide better oversight of the pool and the adjacent skate park.

 I may be a little biased. I coached the summer swim team for several years and my two children swam. But that experience has also shown me how important swimming is – especially in a community that sits along the Columbia River.

I encourage you to thoughtfully consider this bond measure – because I know you are going to vote. It is our civic duty.

 Last week I said I would step it up a notch. So this week’s music announcement for the Center is backwards – by letter this time. And then before you give your brain a rest, try counting backwards from one hundred – by 3’s and then 7’s.

.elbuod a rof 3$ ro elgnis a rof 2$ si noitanod detseggus eht dna 00:7 ta strats cisum ,00:6 ta nepo srood ehT .yojne ot lla rof gnicnad dna cisum thgiN yadseuT fo htnom rehtona rof ffo gnidael “dnaB niatnuoM yrrebwartS” eht htiw redro gnittab eht fo pot eht ta ffo trats lliw retneC eht ,rebmevoN fo ht5 eht no yadseuT txeN

The often controversial author of the satirical comic strip Lil’ Abner, featuring the Yokums from Dogpatch, was Al Capp. (And this week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on November 16th is Charlotte Adkisson.)

 But this is Halloween week, with the spooks and goblins visiting the neighborhoods on Thursday. And even if you may not have been around in 1938, most of us have heard about the excitement generated by the Mercury Theater’s Halloween radio broadcast that simulated news bulletins of a Martian invasion at Grover’s Mill, New Jersey. The episode was directed and narrated by Orson Welles, but who was the author of the science fiction novel it was adapted from.

E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the original radio script for “The War of the Worlds” sold in 1988 for $143,000.

 Well, it has been another week trying to catch the lost thought before it escapes the room. Until we meet again, “Live life as long as you live”. “Never take someone for granted.

“Hold every person close to your heart because you might wake up one day and realize that you’ve lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.” Unknown

Aging Well October 22nd 2013

Loneliness has been described as “when one door is closed, but the ‘other one’ has yet to open”. Or “an ‘inner worm’ that gnaws at the heart”. It can visit at any time in our lives. But circumstances and events we encounter as we get older: the loss of a life partner or difficulties with our hearing, seeing or walking,create incentives that make it easier to be more withdrawn, alone and less likely to be involved in social activities and organizations.

But we are social beings – meant to be with others. And although it may feel more comfortable just talking to ourselves (at least that person knows us), research has found that social engagement is better for both our physical and mental health. (Maybe because there is someone there to kick us out of our funk and encourage us to keep moving; or be that cheerleader who believes in us when we start losing confidence in ourselves.)

But if you are one of many who doesn’t find socializing easy or natural; and who reacts to a large group of strangers (meaning two or more) the same as a dentist’s drill, you might find these suggestions helpful.

First, social encounters can be tricky, but don’t interpret them as rejection or hostility – and then blame yourself. Focus on the positive and not on what you may have thought went wrong. 
Second, it may be easier to meet new friends while attending a class or lecture – something you can talk about with others instead of having to start a conversation from scratch.

And last, but most important, give it a chance. Whether attending Meals-on-Wheels lunch or a church service for the first time, most groups have established social relationships built over time. And although they are open to new friendships, don’t expect them to welcome you like the prodigal son. Give yourself time to establish your own relationships. And as a rule of thumb, try it for at least six times before you decide that it doesn’t work for you.

Life has much to offer during all stages of our lives. But you have to keep your eyes open and your antennas up. Get out, engage in conversations and develop new friendships. And then because you have the emotional connections with others, when the grandkids are gone and you are alone, you can enjoy the peaceful solitude that provides comfort and offers a time for reflection.

Ten percent of all health care spending comes from fraud and abuse; while Medicare and Medicaid loses $65 billion each year to criminals. Those are just a few figures highlighting the importance of catching and preventing healthcare fraud and abuse. The next Tuesday lecture will present a Webinar produced by AARP called “Protect Yourself from Healthcare Scams and Frauds”. The presentation starts at 11:00 at the Center and is open to everyone.

Here is another opportunity to confuse your brain with what it doesn’t expect: the Center’s music announcement for October 29th – from back to front. (But be forewarned, next week I will step it up a notch.)

.couple a for $3.00 or person per $2.00 is donation suggested the and PM 7:00 at starts music,  PM 6:00 at open Doors .enjoyment dancing and listening your  for favorites pleasing crowd playing be will “Boys Dufur The” the ,October of 29th the on night Tuesday next Center the At

The brand of O-gauge model trains popular in the 50’s was made by Lionel – which Bill Van Nice remembers Bill Schonley, Portland Trail Blazer Radio Announcer, using to nickname Lionel Hollins “The Train”. (And this week’s winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on November 16th is Jerry Phillips.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question, who wrote the satirical comic strip described by John Updike as “a comic strip with fire in its belly and a brain in its head” that ran for 43 years from 1934 to 1977 featuring the Yokum clan of hillbillies; as well as colorful characters Marryin’ Sam, Moonbeam McSwine and Senator Jack S Phogbound? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an original copy of “The Life and Times of a Shmoo” published in 1948.

Well, it has been another week with my nose pressed to the glass looking to see all that can be seen. Until we meet again, as the old cowboy Mike once said, “Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.”

“The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.” Lois Lowry

Aging Well October 15 2013

Last week I discussed one option for thousand older Americans who want to stay in their homes, and are “house” rich but income poor: a reverse mortgage.  But income may not be the only reason someone feels they can no longer live independently in their own home.  
Another reason may be the inability to handle all the necessary daily living activities and personal care needs. But fortunately there are many resources available including in-home care agencies such as Hearts of Gold Caregivers who have trained staff to provide assistance to meet your individual needs. Or you can personally hire a private care giver who is generally less expensive than in home agencies. But you should be aware, in many cases when you hire someone, you are responsible for paying unemployment taxes. (For more information, contact The Dalles Employment Department at (541) 296-5435.)
You can learn more about personal care services at this month’s Passport to Happiness Event on Wednesday October 16th starting at 3:00 PM at the Center.
Whether we are ready or not, we live in a digital age where information is at your fingertips – or at least at your nearest computer, tablet or smartphone. And medicine is no exception. (When is the last time you saw a paper patient chart when visiting your medical provider?) But this transition to digital records has also given hospitals the ability to give you more control over your health and wellness by making your medical records available on line: your doctor appointments, test results, immunization records and your prescribed medications. To access your MCMC medical records online, go to your provider’s office and they will get you set up in the MCMC system and give you your Activation Code which you can use to activate your account online at myMCMC.
Or you can attend the Tuesday Lecture on October 22nd in the basement of the Center. Alison Adams and Susan Pincock from MCMC will explain the benefits of myMCMC as well as assist you in setting up your own Activation Code.
Once again it is that time for the Center’s Saturday Breakfast – and once again sponsored by Wasco County’s own county treasurer Chad Krause. This month the menu includes hotcakes with blueberries, scrambled eggs and your choice of bacon or sausage as well as fruit and your favorite morning beverage – all for only $5.00 per person. And as Jack always said, “Breakfast always tastes better when someone else cooks it!”
Sometimes it seems like the whole world is moving backwards. So in the spirit of the times, see how well you can cope by reading this week’s music announcement.
Four for $3.00 or leg per $1.00 is donation suggested the and PM 7:00 at starts music,  PM 6:00 at open doors The .arms your in partner your with music the to moving than there is exercise better what And .to dance and listen to classics western country playing be will “Times Good the For” ,Center the at night Tuesday Next
The 1958 horror/science fiction movie classic that starred Steve McQueen and depicted a growing amoeba-like alien from outer space that terrorized the small community was “The Blob”. (And the winner of a free breakfast on October 19th is Don McAllister.)
You may think of the “Remember When” questions as a fun and easy – or sometimes challenging – trivia contest or even at test of your long term memory (which I hope is operating on all eight cylinders – or at least seven!). But I hope it is more: reminding you of events or experiences hidden away in your vast reservoir of memories: the screaming fans at the 1965 Beatles concert in Portland, the pain of Merthiolate when your mother painted your scrapes orange after one of your falls, or the sound of a model electric train whistling through tunnels and over bridges on a piece of old plywood set up in the garage.
That last memory is the subject for this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the name of the brand of O-gauge model trains which in the 1950’s outsold its closest competitor American Flyer nearly 2:1 until the HO scale model trains became popular in 1956? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a paper train set, made out of heavy cardstock, sold in 1943 (by the same company) when the US government restricted the use of various materials during WWII.
Well, it has been another week trying to keep my mouth shut and my eyes open. Until we meet again, it was the wise cowboy who said “When your head is in the bear’s mouth, it is not the time to be smacking him on the nose”.