Living Well in the Gorge December 27th 2016

In a few days, it will be a new year: the traditional time to make New Year’s resolutions, full of optimism and hope.
But do any of us make New Year’s resolutions anymore? They just seem like a young person’s thing: resolutions to stay fit for the dating game; resolutions to follow some new self-improvement practice.
And then do we really need to? I mean at our age, we’ve experienced enough that we should we have it all figured out, right? And what do we really need to change?  
But resolutions are not just about personal fitness or self-improvement. They are also an opportunity to imagine what new experiences we would like to encounter in the upcoming year: walking unfamiliar trails in the Gorge, finishing that book you’ve been meaning to read, or finding more time to spend with family and friends.
There is much we can’t control: medical emergencies, the size of our social security check, or whether it is going to rain or snow. But there are many aspects of our lives we can influence, if not control.
So here we are, about to start a new year. We can keep doing the same old same old – and there is nothing wrong with that. Or we can branch out; take this opportunity to contemplate the new year and what makes life worth living – so we won’t miss what is truly important.
What is important to you this coming year? What are your New Year’s resolutions?
Saturday Night Bingo will be celebrating New Year’s Eve with free pizza and a chance to win $1000. Over $1200 will be paid out during the evening plus if there is a blackout in 58 numbers or less on the last game, the payout will be $1000. Doors open at 4:00, pizza served starting at 4:30, and bingo starts at 6:00 PM. If you are a new player, try to arrive by 5:30. Minimum buy-in is $10.00. Ages 12 and over are welcome (children between 12 and 18 must be accompanied by legal guardian).
It’s a new year for the Center’s Tuesday Night Music with Andre, KC and Joe performing on January 3rd. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are always appreciated.
Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 11 – Your clothes are in style again – although this time around you’re smart enough to keep them in the closet. (I’m not wearing skinny jeans anymore! – or pegged pants as they were called when I was in High School.)
The toy that consisted of 3-D pictures on a circular disk which could be viewed in a plastic device is called a View-Master. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Maxine Parker, Lana Tepfer, Sandy Haechrel, who was offered a job at View-Master when she first moved to Oregon, and Jerry Phillips who lived about a mile west of the old View-Master site. But the winner of one and a half tickets is Jim Ayers who didn’t send me a Virtual Reality View-Master, but left me the next best thing – a Fred Meyer discount coupon for one.)
The college football bowl season is here again, and although neither OSU or U of O are traveling to a bowl game this year, there have been many highlights over the past 50 years including the 1967 OSU football team known as the “Giant Killers”. That season OSU went undefeated against three #2 ranked teams which included a victory over USC and OJ Simpson at what was then called Parker Stadium in Corvallis. So for this week, here is a “Remember When” question suggested by Ron Sutherland, to see who is really a true orange-and-black OSU football fan. Who was the two-time All-American defensive lineman who caught USC tailback O.J. Simpson from behind to prevent a touchdown and preserve the Beavers’ 3-0 win over the top-ranked Trojans? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a big pumpkin.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep the icicles from hanging off my nose. Until we meet again, don’t expect hot water if you only turn on the cold-water tap.
“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.  Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.” Ellen Goodman

Living Well in the Gorge December 20th 2016

Tis the Christmas Season: a time for memories that stir our senses: cookies baking in the oven, houses sparkling with Christmas lights, and bells ringing at local grocery stores. It’s also a time to remember how we have been blessed at our chronologically advantaged age.

But sometimes it is hard, particularly this time of the year when we would give everything to share again memories of Christmas’s pasts with friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. It’s not always easy to stay upbeat and positive, but Shawn Achor, who researches and teaches positive psychology, describes three steps that can help us recognize the positive instead of mindlessly absorbing the negative.

First, for twenty-one days in a row, take two minutes a day and write down three things you are grateful for.

Second, start a journal and each day write about one positive experience you encountered.

Third, do one positive random act of kindness each day – whether it’s complimenting the salesperson during a hectic Christmas shopping day or buying a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling juice for your local senior center director (and he prefers a red grape to a white apple cider!)

But I would also suggest two more steps.

Fourth, each day give at least one person a big hug – the human touch is an essential nutritional requirement for the spirit.

And last, if there has been something you have been meaning to tell someone, tell them. Don’t wait and regret missing the opportunity.

Whether your glasses are rose colored, broken or you can’t find them, during this season of hope, love and possibilities, consider these five steps to better appreciate all that is good and right – and the bountiful banquet spread before us.

The Christmas season often brings snow and frigid weather – and we saw both these over last two weeks. With the inclement weather, it is often a tough call whether to keep the Center open or to close. I guess I’m just a little more cautious since I broke my hip several years ago. (Although the cause wasn’t snow or ice, but not being bright enough to find the bottom step.).

Consequently, last weekend we played it safe instead of sorry, and postponed the Holiday Breakfast – even though Mary Davis was bringing the Mistletoe! We’ll try again in March when there’s less chance for snowflakes and Santa shouldn’t be as busy.

Also, Saturday night bingo was cancelled, but will return on New Year’s Eve when we’ll welcome in the New Year (east coast time) and there will be a $1000 payout for a blackout in 58 numbers or less on the last game.

If you are making your end-of-the-year donations, and are donating to any of the twenty-two qualifying cultural non-profits in Wasco County, don’t forget to also donate the same amount to the Oregon Cultural Trust for which you’ll receive a 100% state tax credit and help the cultural arts in Wasco County and the state. You can find more information and a list of the cultural non-profits at

Tuesday night music is back at the Center on December 27th with Country Road performing. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 6:30 and donations are appreciated to feed the band and keep the lights on.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 10 – Grandchildren are great. And great grandchildren are a bonus.

The Christmas classic, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, was first sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Betsy Ayers, Sandy Haechrel and Jerry Phillips.)

This season you may see ads for VR (virtual reality) glasses, which I have tried and admit are pretty cool. But in 1939 there was a Portland company that introduced another cutting-edge technology consisting of stereoscopic 3-D pictures on a circular disk which could be inserted into a plastic device and viewed.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of this classic toy? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the latest virtual reality edition of this viewer.

Well, it’s been another week, waiting for Santa to poke his beard around the corner. Until we meet again, let the spirit of Christmas light up the new year.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” Norman Vincent Peale

Aging Well in the Gorge December 13th 2016

Winter is the season when all schoolchildren become weathermen, trying to predict whether there will be enough snow to close school so they can sleep in before going outside to build snow men. (Do kids still play in the snow anymore – or do they just assemble snowmen on their computer screens?)

Well, last Friday was one of those days kids dream about. But at my age, snow days just don’t quite have the same excitement. Certainly, there is still the anticipation, but now it is: How much snow am I going to have to shovel? Will the car make it out of the parking spot? Will I fall flat on my face walking across the parking lot?

But snow is no surprise and we do adjust – often just staying inside and out of trouble. So while snuggled up on the Lazyboy recliner, why not catch up on the best Christmas movies from the 40’s and 50’s. We use to have to check TV Guide to see if our favorite movies were showing on TV – if at all. But now you can watch them anytime over the Internet using streaming sites such as Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, or Amazon (although you usually have to pay).

So where do you start? Here are nine movies from the 40’s and 50’s, including their leading actors, ranked in the top 25 best Christmas movies by the movie review website “Rotten Tomatoes”.

#24 – The Bishop’s Wife, 1948 – Cary Grant, David Niven, and Loretta Young.
#18 – A Christmas Carol, 1951 – Alastair Sim and Kathleen Harrison.
#13 – The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, 1944, -Eddie Bracken, Betty Hutton, and William Demarest. #6 – The Apartment, 1960 – Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray.
#5 – Stalag 17, 1953 – William Holden, Peter Graves, and Robert Strauss.
#4 – Holiday Inn, 1941 – Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.
#3 – The Shop Around the Corner, 1940 – Margaret Sullavan and Jimmy Stewart.
#2 – Miracle on 34th Street, 1947 – Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O’Hara, and Natalie Wood.
#1 – It’s a Wonderful Life, 1946 – Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and Lionel Barrymore.

If I missed your favorite Christmas movie, email me and I will mention it next week.

Everyone’s invited to the Center’s annual Holiday Breakfast from 8:00 – 9:30 AM on Saturday, December 17th, sponsored by Dennis Morgan – Copper West Realtors and Dean Dollarhide – State Farm Insurance. And this year we’re trying something new: offering all-you-can-eat pancakes. In addition, the menu includes scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit and coffee or juice all for $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for children 12 and under.

Meals-on-Wheels is serving a special Christmas Dinner on December 20th instead of their usual birthday dinner. And to have time to prepare, the dinner will be served at 2:00 instead of noon – so you still have time to drive home before dark. But because there is only room to seat 125 people, you will need to sign up ahead of time. There is a signup sheet at the Center or you can call Meals-on-Wheel at 541-298-8333.

Because of the Meals-on-Wheels Christmas party, there will not be music at the Center Tuesday night, December 20th. But if you can wait til after Christmas, you’ll find Country Road playing on the 27th.

Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 9 – Telling stories about the “good old days”. Although it is sobering to think that these may be the “good old days” for a future generation.

The name of the television show that featured a boy with a propeller beanie and a Sea-Sick Sea Serpent was Beany and Cecil. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Jerry Phillips and Tina Castanares.)

The Christmas classic, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, is the third most performed Christmas song of this century. For this week’s “Remember When” question, who sang the song when it was introduced in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the 2014 hit version sung by the English singer-songwriter Sam Smith.

Well, it’s been another week, tangled up in all my loose ends. Until we meet again, snow is nature’s reminder to slowdown.

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

Aging Well in the Gorge December 6th 2016

“Baby, it’s getting cold outside” may be crossing your mind this week as the temperatures drop below freezing for the first time this season. But it also means those winter goblins may be trolling your neighborhood: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches, headaches, and fatigue. These are common symptoms for the flu and the common cold – although the cold symptoms are usually milder and more likely to include a runny or stuffy nose, while the flu symptoms are more intense and can lead to serious health problems.
But how do you keep these annoying neighbors from dropping in and ruining your day?
The most effective way, besides getting your flu vaccine or hiding in the closet all winter, is to practice these six tips.
1. Avoid close contact. No more making out in front of the fireplace on those romantic winter evenings! Okay, maybe you can if she doesn’t have a runny nose or cough.
2. Stay home when you are sick. As I use to tell my students, it’s good to share everything, except your germs.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow – not your hands. You can also wear a facemask to protect others. How about a left-over Halloween mask? That would get people’s attention.
4. Wash your hands often. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand soap. Just washing my hands every time I use the bathroom, I’ll be washing my hands often enough.
5. Avoid spreading germs by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching something contaminated. My fingernails grow a lot longer during the winter months.
6. Take care of yourself as you should all year long: get plenty of sleep, stay physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
There are over one hundred viruses that can cause the common cold. By following these suggestions, you can help make this winter “the most wonderful time of the year”.
Continuing the countdown of “40 Great Things about Growing Older”. # 8 – Sleep late or get up early.  As you get older, you start to enter that third chapter of life when instead having to do what you’re told to do, or what you feel you should do, you can now do what you want to do.   
Because the AARP Smart Driver class has been moved ahead a week to December 12th and 13th, (You still can sign up by calling the Center) there will not be a 11:00 Lecture next Tuesday. 
It’s been a while since I’ve challenged your grey cells by mixing up the Center’s music announcement. So let’s again have a little fun. But I’ll keep it easy – well, as easy as walking backwards.
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It wasn’t Clarabell, the clown who appeared on the Howdy Doody Show, but Bozo the clown that was pictured on the front of a 46-inch-high inflatable punching bag. (This week’s winners of a quilt raffle ticket each are Maxine Parker, Tina Castanares, Jerry Phillips, and Sandy and Bob Haechrel.) 
Now that it’s colder, I’ve started wearing a knitted cap to keep my hair depleted head warm. It looks like a stocking cap but doesn’t cover my ears, and several folks commented about my “beanie”. I hadn’t thought of it as a beanie, but it reminded me of a Saturday morning animated cartoon series on ABC. So for this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television show that featured a boy with a propeller beanie and a Sea-Sick Sea Serpent? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the original “Captain Huffenpuff’s Hiding Box”.
Well, it’s been another week, when I knew I should have written it down. Until we meet again, there are numerous fancy definitions of successful aging, but it can be as simple as just waking up in the morning and touching your feet to the floor.

“We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for, I don’t know.” John Foster Hall