Aging Well January 26

How many more times do I have to hear “your call can not be completed as dialed” before I remember to add the 541? I usually make calls using speed dial, but when I actually have to dial the number I forget to add the area code. But I wonder, just like all the modern conveniences allowing us to move less, are we becoming creatures of comfort; less mentally fit because everything is computerized and easy? But that’s too much thinking for now. I’ll worry about that another day.

Whether they make us smarter or dumber, we are in the computer age. And trying to understand how to use a computer is unfamiliar territory to many of us. But there is help. The Center offers computer classes – no more than four students per class – on Wednesdays from 10:00 – 11:00 and Thursdays 1:00 – 2:00, plus a Help Lab on Tuesday from 1:45 – 3:00. We can show you how to avoid the potholes and reckless drivers along the information highway. And because the classes are individualized you can start whenever you wish.

Ronell Currie has rounded up her “tried and true” AARP Tax Aide volunteers to start assisting you with your tax returns. The excitement begins February 5th and continues every Friday from 4:00 – 6:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 – 1:00 through Saturday April 10th. Don’t forget to bring the usual financial documents. And it’s all free.

Last week I mentioned the value of gardening in staying fit and active which caused Marty Miller to send me an electronic copy of the Master Gardener’s “Garden Highlights” newsletter that he does most every month as a Master Gardener. It is free and bug free – he knows how to keep the bugs out of your computer as well as your garden – informative and colorful and can be delivered right to your computer hard drive by just emailing him at

If you like to walk and would like to help create a more walkable The Dalles, the local public health department wants you. They need volunteers on Sat. Feb. 13th, from 9:00 – 3:00 pm (including lunch) to walk the streets (that doesn’t quite sound right, does it?) and measure the walkability of street sections and intersections. The findings will be presented to City Council, and County Commissioners, Road Departments and City Public Works, among others. If you are interested in taking part in this project contact Allyson Smith or Jeanette Montour at the North Central Public Health Department at 541-506-2625.

The Rhythm Ramblers have played several times during lunch for Meals-on-Wheels but for only the second time they will be the top bill for the Center’s Tuesday Night music. Come and enjoy this entertaining duo on the 3rd. And tonight the Jazz Generations will be playing the big band sounds. Music starts at 1900 hours and doesn’t cost a thing except a little sole on your shoes. But donations are warmly accepted.

The calendar is beginning to fill-up for the Tuesday Lecture Series – at least for February; Dan Ericksen discussing the state of the County on the 9th, Marilyn Buchanan explaining the new Friendly Visitor program on the 16th and MCMC on the 23rd. But you may notice there is no one scheduled for next Tuesday the 2nd. But fear not. I am going to show two short taped presentations one by Dan Gilbert author of “Stumbling on to Happiness” and the other by Barry Schwartz on the “Paradox of Choice” from TED, a website that features internationally respected speakers. Come and find the answer to one of life’s most perplexing questions, “Does having a choice of 24 different deodorants really make us happier?

It is only 12 days till “The Super Bowl” hits the America’s television airwaves on Sunday February 7th; when we all wait in anticipation not to see the gridiron exploits of grown men abusing each other but to watch the latest and greatest TV commercials! To celebrate this American tradition, this week’s question is “In the first Super Bowl in 1967 the Green Bay Packers won their first of two consecutive Super Bowls. Who was Packer’s quarterback? This time the winner will not receive a special prize, but the public recognition that they are old enough to remember such events. Last week’s answer was Skitch Henderson, Johnny Carson’s first bandleader. And Joanne Scott was the winner.

Well that is another note in the song of life. Until we meet again, keep your feet dry, your nose clean and your eyes on the road.

Aging Well January 19

One of the many opportunities the Center offers is its Tuesday Lecture Series. Last Tuesday we watched a video on Blue Zones: longevity hot-spots where the inhabitants live longer, on average, than anyone else in the world. One common characteristic found for living so much longer is to keep moving naturally: staying physically active in everyday activities such as climbing stairs, cutting wood, or riding a bicycle. We all have been graced with different circumstances and we all don’t move as well as we did forty years ago (the tread on these tires are getting a little worn), but within our own limits, the goal is to keep moving and staying actively engaged.

Kathryn Savage, from the website Blue Zones, suggests five ways to change how we live at home in order to keep moving naturally. First, get rid of the remote or better yet watch less TV. Second, take the stairs. Many times to feel safe, we move less. Third, when spring arrives, plant a garden to nurture the body and soul. Fourth, get rid of the garage door opener and better yet get rid of the car. Walk whenever you can. And last but not least, cook instead of eating convenience foods. Preparing dinner is a simple but excellent way to keep moving naturally.

For those who enjoy exercising in a group setting which may not be natural but still beneficial and fun, there are many opportunities in the community including MCMC’s Center for Mind and Body and The Dalles Fitness and Court Club. At the Center Debra Lutje, the Motorcycle Momma, teaches both the Seniorcise class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays mornings and the Yoga class on Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings. There is also the Strong Women class on Mondays and Wednesdays afternoons. And to round out our offerings, Tai Chi taught by Corlis Marsh is on Tuesdays and Ardyce Edling will tap circles around me (or on me) if I forget to mention Tap and Clogging on Thursdays.

Next Tuesday the 26th at 11:00, the lecture speaker will be Pat Visser, RN with cardiac rehab at MCMC, explaining the risk factors for heart disease. The lecture is timely because coming soon is the Heart Expo at the Civic Auditorium on Friday, February 5 from 11 – 2 followed on February 6 with a 3k/5k Walk/Run. Spend some time to learn how to love your heart.

Although Santa Claus won’t bring you any gifts until next December, you can still ask the “Sugar Daddies” for a special treat when they play tonight at the Center. And next week the Jazz Generations are back playing their “big band” sounds. The music starts at 7:00 and everyone is invited – long and short, sweet and sour, and young and old. The music is free but donations are appreciated. And Sunday the 24th will be the Center’s turn to host the Jammers for a Pie and Jam Social from 2:00 – 5:00pm.

A last minute bulletin just added. Martha has asked to have a $1 a bag sale this Thursday the 21st at the Center’s Nu-2-U Shop and her slightest wish is my sternest command. So come one, come all and find some great bargains.

If you read last week’s “Remember When” question and it didn’t quite sound right, it was probably because you couldn’t imagine the reserved and by-the-book Joe Friday from the TV show Dragnet calling anyone “mama”. As you probably guessed I meant “ma’am which was close by no cigar. Thanks to Joe Usatine for pointing it out to me.

But this week I hope to get it right. One of my favorite treats was staying up late to watch The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson – when it was an hour and a half long. Everyone remembers his sidekick for all those years, Ed McMahon, but who was his the first band leader for the show? (And it wasn’t Arlington’s favorite son.) Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center for a chance to win a free Saturday Night bingo packet.

Well it’s time to round up the cows and bring ‘em home. Until we meet again, keep moving and keep smiling, because as it is often heard around the Center, “what counts are not the years in your life but the life in your years”.

Aging Well January 12

It was bound to happen. My son has started sending me articles on what I should do as I enter this “oldie but goldie” stage of life. (I’m just an old 45 on the turntable of life!) Next will be the oughta’s. “You know, Dad, you oughta move someplace where they will take good care of you.” And then the inevitable final step. “Dad we have decided to move you into this really nice retirement home. Oh, by the way, we have also taken your car keys away.”

I figure this first step is just payback for the years I worried about his future and bought him books and educational toys for Christmas when he really wanted a Laser 4000.

But just as he found Harry Potter exciting – which was my recommendation before the series became an international hit – I do appreciate the articles he sends.

The most recent was a New York Times article on “How to Train the Aging Brain” by Barbara Strauch. She points out that the brain continues to develop as you age and although you may have more difficulty remembering facts you are more prepared than younger folks to recognize patterns which helps in finding solutions and seeing the consequences. But that only occurs if you keep your brain in shape.

I have mentioned many times the need to stretch your brain by breaking patterns; taking the path less traveled. But this article suggests that engaging in conversations that challenge your ideas and forces you to critically reflect on new ideas may also be a way to keep your brain in shape. Or in the words of Dr. Taylor, professor at St. Mary’s College of California, each day you need to “jiggle your synapses a bit” and find a way to “scramble your cognitive egg”.

Even though you may not see or hear as well or run any faster – or can’t run at all, you may still be better prepared to understand the big picture if you stay actively engage, seek out new ideas and continue to challenge yourself.

La Clinic del Carino, MCMC and Nuestra Comunidad Sana of the Next Door, Inc will be presenting “Steps to Wellness” for anyone who is overweight or had diabetes and would like help and support to eat better, exercise more and live healthier. The classes will be taught in English and meet at the Senior Center on Wednesday evenings from 6 – 8 pm for 15 weeks beginning February 3, 2010. It is free with prizes, healthy foods and a good dose of fun. For more information call Eli Bello at 541-296-4610. And to learn more about Diabetes and this valuable class (and the services provided by La Clinica), Eli will be the speaker for the Center’s Next Chapter Lecture at 11:00 on Tuesday, January 19th.

Next Tuesday bring your dancing shoes and your derby hats to the Center and enjoy the sounds of the Sugar Daddies. They have played all over the Gorge including the Mint downtown. And tonight Truman Boler’s one man band will be playing his Country Gold. The music’s good, the price is right and tonight’s the night.

What can you do with your grandkids that is fun, clean and the both of you can enjoy? Youththink is sponsoring Free Saturday Kid Movies at Columbia Cinema every Saturday for the next seven weeks. The doors open at 9:15 and movies start at 10:00. And this coming Saturday the featured movie is Madagascar 2.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question was “The Phil Silver Show” (originally titled “You’ll Never Get Rich”) where the role of Sergeant Bilko made Phil Silvers a national star. Loretta Commander’s name was drawn and won the box of chocolates. This week’s question is “What character in the 1950’s television series was famous for the following line “All we want are the facts, ma’ma.”? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off at the Center for a chance to win a free Saturday Night bingo packet.

Well as Porky Pig said, Th-th-th-that’s all folks! Until we meet again, I know I should enjoy this season as much as the others, but all I keep thinking is – only sixty-seven more days till spring.

“Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” Henry David Thoreau