Aging Well in the Gorge June 24th 2020

You may be playing it safe staying home and caring for your garden or overdosing on TV and Netflix. But what are you doing for your brain health as we weather this pandemic?

According to the Virginia Spine Institute, there are five things you can do to maintain and maybe even improve your brain health – and what the heck, you have the time!

Try to Maintain a Daily Routine. Maintaining a routine can limit stress. And during this pandemic, it can be your chance to develop a new and healthier routine: healthy breakfast, morning walk, afternoon meal, and then some time with hobbies that keep your brain working. Habit is a great motivator.

Exercise. Exercise can help maintain our physical as well as our mental health. Take an early morning walk – before it gets too hot. Or start with some easy and simple exercises at home: three legs lifts and gradually build up to more. Something is better than nothing. And which is the best exercise? The one you enjoy doing.

Get in Touch with Your Creative Side. How about creating a collage from your family pictures? Knitting? Working in your shop? Or pull those dusty cookbooks off the shelf or check out OSU’s FOOD HERO website and experiment with the recipes. Can you really add spinach to a fruit smoothie – and it will still taste good?

Stay Socially Engaged. I enjoy video calls because I can see who I’m talking to. But there is nothing wrong with the old fashion way: picking up the phone and dialing – and you don’t have to look “presentable”!

Put Time into Hobbies that Stimulate your Brain. Finish that James Patterson novel, work on puzzles or play cards online with friends using various apps including Trickster. Or check out the puzzles and games online at Sharpbrains and AARP’s Staying Sharp.

Speaking of stimulating your grey cells, try these eight brainteasers/riddles that I have enjoyed. And trying to solve a brainteaser is just as good for your brain as finding the answer – although not as satisfying. (The answers are posted under the Tab “Brainteasers Answers”.

1. Which is heavier? A pound of feathers or a pound of rocks?

2. How many three cent stamps are in a dozen?

3. On my way to St. Ives, I met a man with seven wives. Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats, and each cat had seven kits. Kits, cats, sacks and wives.

How many were going to St. Ives?

4. In a year, there are 12 months. Seven months have 31 days. How many months have 28 days?

5. A family has two parents and six sons. Each of the sons has one sister. How many people are in the family?

6. The water level in a reservoir is low but doubles every day. It takes 60 days to fill the reservoir. How long does it take for the reservoir to become half full?

7. Rearrange the letters: “nor do we” to make one word?

8. I have six eggs. I break two, I fried two, and I ate two. How many eggs are left?

One of the most widely recognized tobacco advertising campaigns before they were banned on television and radio in 1971 was “WINSTON Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should”. I received answers from Lucile Stephens, Sandy Haechrel, Deloris Schrader, Dave Lutgens, Tiiu Vahtel, Lana Tepfer, Jess Birge, Barbara Cadwell, and Tina Castanares who asked which cigarette was “a silly millimeter longer”? But this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Judith Morgan.  


While my wife and I were sitting around the breakfast table we thought of this radio show which had a cult following but I never listened to because, well let’s say, it was a little demented. The show played novelty songs from the likes of Spike Jones, Stan Freberg and of course Weird Al Yankovic whose career he helped launch. What was the name this trained music historian used when hosting the show? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the 1963 graduating class from Reed College.


Well, it’s been another week, making lemonade. Until we meet again, there times you want to be special, but when you get back your chest x-ray it’s nice just to be normal.


“Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” And then do it.” Duane Michals, Photographer

Aging Well in the Gorge June 17th 2020

Remember when you were younger? You did some really stupid things – taking risks you would never contemplate today. Why did I climb that 30 ft ladder to work on the roof? Why did I hitchhike from Eugene to Los Angeles? Why did I feel I like I needed to eat the WHOLE pizza?
We know life is not without risks and during this pandemic we are constantly asking ourselves, “What level of risk am I willing to accept?” Do I venture out for groceries, to attend church, or fly out of state to attend a sister’s funeral? Those are tough decisions.
But the most difficult question is what level of risk are we going to accept as a community, state or nation so we can safely get back to work and our daily lives?
During this pandemic many have questioned the requirements that have been enacted placing millions of people on unemployment and curtailing many if not most of our usual activities. Why were all non-essential services shut down? Why did I have to stay home? Why did I have to pump my own gas? (Okay, that’s just my wife’s question!)
But consider what most of us do every day where we accept a level of risk so we can work, play and visit: driving.
Driving is a risky business – over 489 motorists died in Oregon last year. But to reduce the level of risk, Oregon has passed laws making driving safer: speed limits, stop signs, seat belts, and rules against driving while intoxicated. And when the risk is too high and the ability to respond is inadequate, every winter we know what happens. The roads are closed.
You may say the chances of dying from covid-19 are remote, but so is dying from a motor vehicle accident. Why? Because we accept and follow the safe driving practices so we can protect ourselves and others.
Just as Oregon works to make driving safer, during the pandemic Oregon has instituted measures based on the best science to reduce the risk of being infected, hospitalized or even dying from COVID-10: staying home, social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand washing.
So, what level of risk are we, as in all of us, going to accept knowing that ninety-three percent of all covid-19 deaths in Oregon have been adults sixty and older. Three hundred? Six hundred? One thousand? Or is one too many when it is a loved one,
On our highways we know that one irresponsible driver can harm anyone of us. And to feel safer, we follow the rules of the road and safe driving practices and hope everyone else does also. But do we feel the same about COVID-19 and follow the recommendations of our public health departments?
Life will never be without risk. Sadly, people will die. But what level should we accept so we can work, recreate and enjoy our lives? I don’t know. But we may soon find out.
Staying connected is essential for our health and well-being. Fortunately, today when we should be staying home as much as possible, we can connect by making video calls – although, granted, it isn’t the same as meeting in person. But how many older adults are interested? To gauge that interest, please complete a short Tech Survey on the Center’s Website. Or call the Center at 541-296-4788 and leave a message that you are interested. As long as there isn’t an effective vaccine or treatment, I think we’re in this for the long haul.
Back when the tobacco companies argued that cigarettes were safe, this tobacco advertising campaign was one of most widely recognized. For this “Remember When” question, what cigarette brand “tastes good like a cigarette should”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with an explanation of the grammatical difference between “as” and “like”.
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” was from Love Story the 1970 top-selling novel by Erick Segal that was adapted into the number one film in 1970 starring Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw. I received correct answers from Carol Earl, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Tina Castanares and Dave Lutgens this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Michael Carrico.
Well, it’s been another week, distracted by too many distractions. Until we meet again, reach out and call somebody. They’ll appreciate it.
“No one ever makes the same mistake twice. The first time it’s a mistake. Anytime after that, it’s a choice.” Mark Twain

Aging Well in the Gorge June 10th 2020

While staying home you may have been spending time watching one of the educational cable channels to learn more about subjects you find interesting: History Channel, Animal Planet, Food Network or one of the Discovery Channels.
And you may have found there is more you would like to learn – and with today’s technology it’s only a click away. Using your computer, tablet or even your smartphone, you can go online and find instructional videos and academic courses on practically any topic you can think of – or don’t want to think of.
For example, how about learning to play Tiddlywinks? Yep, you can find that on Vimeo.
How to feed a wild bear? Yep, but bad idea. How to make up with your wife or worse, how to get her back? Yep, and good luck.  
But you may have more academic interests. Online you can take courses in anthropology, or cosmology. Or if you’re really nuts, that algebra class you failed in high school.
Online there are numerous sites offering a wide variety of courses taught by experts in their fields. Several of the best are:
Couresa which offers online classes such as the Science of Well-being, or Biohacking Your Brain’s Health which teaches you how to maximize your brain’s fitness through nutrition, exercise, meditation, and sleep.
EdX is another site that offers a variety of classes including Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes which is a SmithsonianX and Harvard Division of Continuing Education course. (So, that’s what they teach at Harvard!)
And on the website Udemy, you can learn how to hypnotize people while getting a crash course in the basics of hypnotherapy for only $12.99. Or even Animal Telepathicallywhere you can learn how to “use your natural intuition and psychic abilities to communicate with any species.” (As I said you can find anything online.)
But before you register for a course online, there are several things to consider.
First, you need to be self-motivated. There won’t be an instructor to hold you accountable and usually there isn’t a set time limit to complete the course. But if you choose a course that engages you, motivation shouldn’t be a problem.
Second, know your goals and stick to them. Why are you taking the class? Do you want to get a degree or certification (make sure the provider is accredited), or just to broaden your mind and use your time in a way you find engaging?
Third, don’t get tricked into paying for a course you don’t want. There are many sites where you can find courses for free, but some may attempt to sell you on obtaining a certification.
Regardless of where your interests lie, there is a wide selection of instructional videos and online courses to explore. And the nice thing? You don’t even have to leave your house.
Speaking of online classes, you can register for Strong in Life – a free Virtual Live class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9 a.m. from June 2nd – August 6, 2020. The class offers an easy to follow routine designed to improve balance, strength and flexibility for adults 60 plus. Join by calling Providence Resource Line at 503-574-6595 or 1-800-562-8964 or go to You can also find a link on the Center’s website under virtual classes.
The names of two drive-in theaters in The Dalles were Starlite Drive-in located on the bluff at Columbia View Heights and The Dalles Drive-in r where Home Depot is now.  And according to the website Cinema Treasures there was a third: Motor Vu Drive-In. I received correct answers fromRuth Radcliffe, Jess Birge, Lana Tepfer, Julie Carter, Carol Earl and Lucile Stephens this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
I’ve been doing well not missing anyone lately (at least that I realize) but lately I’ve missed Julie Carter, Lana Tepfer, Barbara Cadwell and Lucile Stephens.
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry” was voted thirteenth most popular movie quote by the American Film Institute. For this week’s “Remember When” question from what 1970 top-selling novel by Erick Segal that was adapted into the top film in 1970, was this quote taken? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a theatrical poster signed by Ryan O’Neil and Ali MacGraw.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to stay safe. Until we meet again, find time to do something you’ve never done before.
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:24

Aging Well in the Gorge June 3rd 2020

Have you ever had one of those crystal ball experiences when you see a vision of your future to be? This COVID-19 pandemic has been my crystal ball.
Because of the pandemic my wife and I have been meeting virtually with our children every weekend. It is nice to see them and share what has happened during the week, how work and school are going – you know, the usual family stuff. But that is not the REAL reason they have been talking with us. It is to check to make sure we are following their orders for us to stay home and not venture out of the house: have everything delivered, but we remind them The Dalles is not Portland, and work from home. (Never let your boy grow up to be a doctoral student in biology. He knows waaaaay too much about viruses!)
When we raised our children, I didn’t think we were helicopter parents, but they have certainly become helicopter children during this pandemic! It’s as if I am the young boy in high school and they’re my parents asking me if I went out while they were gone. And I would have to – let’s say, bend the truth – by using the tricks I learned: not telling the whole truth. “No, I didn’t go to Fred Meyer today” – not mentioning I did twice last week. Or not answering the question directly.  “Don’t worry. We’re making sure we are safe by washing our hands and wearing our masks.”
Then at I read, “Role Reversal During the Coronavirus” by Anne Field. She gives examples of herself and other older adults whose children are nagging them to stay home and I realized my wife and I aren’t the only ones!
Over the years, I’ve talked with many older adults particularly those in their 80’s about their children trying to control their lives. But for my wife and me the pandemic has accelerated that timeline where here we are in our early 70’s, at a time when we still consider ourselves fit and active, having our children telling us what we should do.
It is the age-old tension between safety and freedom. And now the roles have been reversed. We want our freedom and they want us to be safe because they love us.
I thought this might be the time to take a stand, show our independence, that we should be able to make our own mistakes, that we know what we are doing, and they should treat us as adults! (Wow, that takes me back to my high school days!) But we have decided to just nod our heads and tell them “Yes, we’ll do what you ask” and then live our lives as we want – but doing it safely. And hope the crystal ball isn’t showing us our future when we are older.
The cartoonist who in 1934 created the satirical comic strip Li’l Abner, featuring a fictional clan of impoverished hillbillies in Dogpatch, USA, was Alfred Gerald Caplin known to all of us as Al Capp. And many people also remembered Sadie Hawkins Day, a day when the girls asked the boys out (and the day I feared the most in high school because I might be asked to a dance – which fortunately rarely happened). I received correct answers fromSam Bilyeu, Jess Birge, Betsy Ayres, Jim Donnelly from Parkdale, Delores Schrader, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Carol Earl and Marla Skroch this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.
This will be the last “What use to beeeeeee there!” question. But even if you haven’t lived in The Dalles for thirty plus years, you probably still remember going to a drive-in movie theater – and maybe even going to do more than just watch the movie.
For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were the names of two drive-in theaters in The Dalles, one located on the bluff at Columbia View Heights and the other where Home Depot is now? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the name of the third drive-in theater that was in The Dalles.
Well, it’s been another week, over too soon and too soon forgotten. Until we meet again, you know you’re past your prime when the reason for taking your wife out for a late night drive to a dark secluded spot is to – set up a brand new telescope!
“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” — Mark Twain