Aging Well October 26th

You probably know the melody to this standard from Bye, Bye Birdie, “Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face; Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a happy face.” How often are we offered that advice: buck up; think positive – and by the way, stop the whining! As we grow older we are urged – and you have heard it here many times – to focus on the bright side, appreciating the blessings we experience every day. And that is good advice – to a point.

Because if this “positive attitude” mask is used to avoid recognizing and addressing your deep and personal feelings, it can have a detrimental effect on your emotional health. Michael Learner, PhD, co-founder of the Commonweal Cancer Help Program says “It is much more healthy and healing to allow yourself to feel whatever it is that is coming up in you and allow yourself to express it and to work with the anxiety, the depression, and the grief. Then you can learn a positive way to live with all of those feelings.”

Many days it is a struggle and you feel -shall we say – like “dirty diapers”. You may be scared, anxious, depressed – and you wonder “is it worth getting out of bed?” You know it is and you will, but it is tough. And when someone tells you it is not as bad as it seems, you just want to slap them across the back of their head and scream “You have no idea how terrible I feel!”

While you do the hard work that you must: recognizing and dealing with these feelings and emotions, it is easy to get stuck and forget to also let go of those things causing stress and tension, to spend more time doing what makes you happy, and to take care of yourself by eating well, sleeping enough and exercising often. Not every day has to be or will be a “good day” – but there will be many times when “grey skies will clear up” and you can honestly “put on a happy face”.

Diabetes Discovery Day is a free event and will be held from 11:0 – 3:00 at the new Water’s Edge Facility, at 551 Lone Pine Blvd. in The Dalles. It is an opportunity for those with diabetes and their families to receive the latest information on diabetes. Come hear experts from various fields discuss the latest advances in research and treatment.

On Tuesday nights, the Center is “alive with the sound of music”. And although tonight you won’t find Julie Andrews or Christopher Plummer, you will find the Jazz Generations playing the sounds you use to dance to when you were just a young buck. And next week on November 2nd, Andre Lamoreaux and the Strawberry Mountain Band will be pulling the fire alarm because the dance floor will be ablaze. It’s all free although donations are appreciated to keep the lights on and the musician’s fed.

It isn’t that I have forgotten the speaker for next Tuesday’s Lecture, I just haven’t confirmed it yet. But stop by the Center at 11:00 and be surprised.

I heard several folks enjoyed the “vocabulary test” last week. But I should have disclosed that I didn’t create the test (It was too clever for my pea brain) but I stole it from a website or errant email that I can’t seem to remember.

But for last week’s “Remember When” question I received several more expressions I hadn’t heard for quite some time. Sandy Goforth remembers “Jeez Louise” and “Jumpin Jehosafats”, Marilyn Sarsfield offered “stuffed to your eyelashes” and Bob Haerchral’s answer was “You’re Welcome” since it is now often replaced by “No Problem”. But the winning entry and one that stumped me was from Sandy Haechrel who remembers “How’s Tricks” meaning “How’s things?” Does anyone else remember it?

This week’s question goes back to October of 1962. I remember my parents stocking up canned goods for reasons they didn’t explain and I didn’t ask (It was October – I was more interested in football) which was their response to what international confrontation occurring over several days and brought the cold war close to a nuclear conflict? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on back of a box of Habanos S.A cigars.

Well, that is another mile down the dusty road on these bald and worn tires. Until we meet again, as my wife often reminds me “when you find barking dogs at the door, step over them.”

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours” Swedish Proverb quotes

Aging Well October 19th

Its one of those days – several good ideas cooking but nothing ready to pull out of the oven. And that is a problem, because writing this column is not like writing an essay for only your English teacher. No, this is real pressure. I need to satisfy an audience of thousands – or maybe a few hundred? Okay, I know four people who at least skip down and read the “Remember When” question.

But I usually try to include a few thoughts about aging, provide an encouraging word or two, and offer a few bad jokes while not trying to confuse everyone with the wrong dates. (Barb Pashek has learned to always check every date and time I mention. I suggest you follow her example.)

But since the guests are waiting and nothing is ready, how about a little dessert instead – something more sugar than substance. A trip down memory lane of words we once used but seldom hear anymore. (I once thought it would be fun to start using the expression “groovy” but only after five minutes of questioning stares as in “What DeLorean time machine did you step out of?” did I realize even in the sixties “groovy” sounded pretty lame.

So get out your paper and pencil – time for a “pop quiz”. See how many of these ten words from “days gone by” you still remember. I suspect you will recall most of them, but words, like certain smells and tastes, may bring back hidden memories – memories of those pre-teens years when the opposite sex was just a distraction, of conversations on the playground during recess or just silly adolescent pranks. So give it a shot. And if you get stuck, I will post the answers on the Center’s website.

1. What were “cooties”? a) Tiny cookies, b) Ear rings, c) Prizes in cereal boxes, d) Imaginary infestations. 2. If a woman was “stacked”, what did she have? a) Too much eye makeup, b) Beehive hairdo, c) Large breasts, d) Tall stature. 3. What was a “flattop”? a) Skateboard, b) Hair cut, c) Table, d) Stupid person. 4. If a girl had a reputation as “fast”, what was she? a) Skinny, b) Goodie two shoes, c) Sexually active, d) Reckless driver. 5. What were “dibs”? a) Nerds, b) Candy, c) Claims, d) Hair styles. 6. What was a “spaz”? a) Cold cut, b) Russian astronaut, c) Uncoordinated person, d) Candy mint. 7. What was a “blast”? a) A dance, b) A Coca-cola and Seven-Up mixture, c) A television commercial, d) A good time. 8. What were you if you had a lot of “bread”? a) Uncool, b) Fat, c) Rich, d) Smart. 9. If a person were to “go ape”, what would they do? a) Dance funny, b) Become angry, c) Dress sloppily, d) Date an ugly person. 10. What was a “pad”? a) Residence, b) Notebook, c) Article of clothing, d) Paid advertisement. (Full discloser: These questions were forwarded to me by someone at some time from some website.)

Tonight at the Center, you won’t find any rich men offering gifts to younger girls but you will find the “Sugar Daddies” playing good music for your dancing and listening pleasure. And next Tuesday you can enjoy the talents of Hank and Ann Krum plus Bob Fiske of the Jazz Generations playing sounds from the big band era to the present. The music starts at 7:00 and continues to the wee hours of 9:00 (it’s wee for some of us). And there is never a cover charge although donations are warmly accepted.

It has been almost two years since Tracy Dugick last visited the Center but she will be back next Tuesday the 26th at 11:00 discussing how diet affects your health – plus she will share information about Diabetes Day on November 11 from 11 AM to 3:30 PM at the Water’s Edge. Tracy is a certified Dietitian at MCMC and from her last presentation I have personally changed my diet particularly reducing my salt intake – eating less prepackaged foods – and eating my larger meal in the morning: “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”.

The first person enrolled in Medicare was Harry Truman. But since this one stumped everyone except Joann Scott and Bob Haechrel, they both win a free Saturday breakfast. But for this week’s “Remember When” question there are no wrong answers. What word or expression do you remember always using that is seldom heard today? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a store circular for the “Gay Blade”.

Well it’s time to toss another dime in the tin cup. Until we meet again, don’t get too wrapped up in yourself – it usually makes a very small package.

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the airplane, the pessimist invents the parachute. — George Bernard Shaw

Aging Well October 12th

Fall is the time when evenings get longer, leaves start turning and folks start asking questions about their Medicare coverage. “How do I know my prescription drug plan is still the best one for me?” “The rates for my Medicare supplement plan have gone up – can I change plans?” Or you may be one of the 400 plus folks in Wasco County whose Medicare Advantage plan will be leaving the area after December 31st and are asking, “What do I do now?”

Don’t panic. The Center has scheduled two informational sessions to help you through the jungle of Medicare questions. The first is the “A, B, C and D’s of Medicare” on Wednesday October 20th from 1:00- 3:00 in the basement of the Center. Carol Barnard from Oregon’s SHIBA program (Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance) will explain the Medicare basics and answer any of your questions about the changes that are taking place. And on November 16th, as one of the Tuesday lectures, Jeff Eagan, who helped clarify the Medicare changes last year, will return and explain what your “Medicare Options” are this year.

But it is important to realize each year the Medicare private insurance plans change – what they cost and what they cover – or whether they are even available. And since the general open enrollment period – when you can change your prescription drug coverage – is between November 15 and December 31st, now is a good time to evaluate your Medicare coverage. For more information contact your insurance carrier (Regence, Clear One and Sterling Health plans have scheduled meetings at the Center for their members), attend one of the information sessions at the Center, or call Jean Hockman at the Area Agency on Aging 541-298-4101.

If you are interested in issues affecting older adults (except the really important issues: how to stay awake after lunch (or stay asleep at night), how to avoid the middle of the night stroll – or run, or how to remember your best friend what’s-his-name’s name) there is a Town Hall meeting starting at 6:00 PM this coming Thursday, the 14th, at the Civic Auditorium. On hand to discuss senior issues will be State Representative John Huffman, State of Oregon Senior and Peoples with Disabilities Assistant Director James Toews, The Area Agency on Aging Interim Director Bill Larsen and Medicare specialist extraordinaire Jean Hockman. These are some heavy hitters. Don’t miss this chance to talk directly to folks who can make a difference improving the lives of older adults.

This Saturday the 17th breakfast will be served at the Center from from 8:00 – 9:30. For only $5.00, this month’s menu includes hotcakes with a special fruit topping, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit plus the regular beverages – all sponsored by our friends at Columbia Bank. But I have one request. There must be someone out there who can tell me the truth about the class of “63. They show up for every Saturday breakfast, and talk as if they were the “baddest” TDHS class of the 60’s! And if you know them, that is hard to believe. So is there anyone out there – from the class of “62 or “64 – who has the guts to give me the real scoop? I want to talk.
It is time to turn off the TV and bring your dancing (or toe-tapping) shoes to the Center for night of music and dancing. Tonight it’s the Dufur Boys and next Tuesday on the 19th it is the Sugar Daddies playing the standbys and original compositions. You won’t need to bring an IOU, it is all free – but Betty and Janice appreciate any donations. The music starts at 7:00 and don’t be late – it is all over by 9:00.

Creating jobs is a prime focus of this year’s election and one organization in the Gorge that is working with the entrepreneurial community to foster business growth and employment opportunities the Gorge chapter of the Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network. You can learn more about this organization from Robin Cope coordinator of the Gorge chapter at the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on the 19th at 11:00.

The cultural icon of the 60’s was Bob Dylan who at the age of 69 is still touring. And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Jess Birge. This week’s “Remember When” question is from the category “Not So Current Events”. At the bill-signing for Medicare, who did President Johnson enroll as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the first Medicare card? E- mail, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the front page of the November 3rd 1948 edition of the Chicago Tribune.

That’s another day – trying to figure out why there are more questions than answers. Until we meet again, during this political season let us all take a deep breath – before we exhale what we think we know.

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Teach a man to create an artificial shortage of fish and he will eat steak.” Jay Leno

Aging Well October 5th

Where can you learn about a kaleidoscope of subjects – from local history to Medicare; from your health and well-being to local civic affairs; and from recreational activities to fall prevention? At the Center’s every Tuesday from 11:00 to noon. From every lecture I have personally learn something new and I truly believe these Tuesday lectures are the real reason my wife compliments me so often by calling me a “know-it-all”.

Did you know that even though several doctors in The Dalles have retired, there are plenty of doctors accepting new patients? And MCMC has fulfilled its goal of recruiting a board certified doctor in Geriatrics by hiring Dr. Tomas. She has already started practicing with Nicole Pashek who is an Adult Nurse Practitioner with an emphasis in Internal Medicine and Geriatrics.

Did you know that Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation if offering several activities for adults including an Acrylics Basics Workshop, Decorative Books Workshop, Hand Drumming Fun and Creative Movement? Plus they have scheduled three “Theatre Enrichment Outings” for all of you theater buffs for $27 or less including transportation. Anya Kawka, who is a theater major, will be your host for the plays including Oregon Children’s Theater’s “Alice in Wonderland: A Rock Opera” and two plays performed by Portland Center Stage: Moliere’s hilarious “Imaginary Invalid” and “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. For more information call 541-296-9533.

And did you know that The Dalles Transportation Network or LINK offers a fixed route bus service in The Dalles between 10:00 and 2:00 every Monday and Wednesday so you can “Shop ‘til You Drop”. There is no limit on the number of shopping bags and the driver will help you load and unload your bags. The fixed route includes stops at Bi-Mart, K-Mart, Grocery Outlet, St.Vincent DePaul, the Downtown Transportation Center, Safeway, Fred Meyer and then back to Bi-Mart. And the fare is only $3.00 fare for unlimited stops. Space is limited so call 541-296-7595 for more information (and to test their new customer friendly phone system that improves their ability to schedule rides.)

And why take my word for it. Stop by the Center next Tuesday, October 12th at 11:00 and learn more about the three ballot measures Wasco County has referred to the ballot: designating the offices of County Commissioner as non-partisan offices; 1% Transient Lodging Tax; and three year local option tax for Animal Control and Shelter services. I know – so much to discover, and so little time!

And speaking of elections, it is time to attend that election year tradition: the Candidates Forum sponsored by the Wasco County Farm Bureau and The Dalles Chamber of Commerce. The event takes place this Thursday October 7th at the Civic Auditorium starting at 5:30 to meet and chat with the candidates. The Candidates Forum itself will start at 7:00 PM. For questions call the Chamber of Commerce at 541-296-2231.

Are you living with diabetes, arthritis, asthma, heart disease or any other chronic disease and it feels like the disease is controlling your life – making it difficult to enjoy your golden years. The Area Agency in Aging is offering “Living Well with Chronic Conditions” a six-week workshop that offers the resources, skills and supports for living a healthy life while dealing with the emotions those chronic conditions may bring about. The class starts on Wednesday October 13th from 1:00 – 3:30 at the Center. To register call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101.

Andre Lemoureax heard that good country music is just “three chords and the truth”. You will have a chance to find out when Andre‘s group “The Strawberry Mountain Band” plays tonight and the “Dufur Boys’ play next week. The fun starts at 7:00 and its all free but donations are appreciated.

It was “As the World Turns” that ran from April 2nd 1956 until September 17th, 2010. And is there anyone else out there besides Gertrude Peppers (who was the winner of a free Saturday breakfast) who saw both the first and last shows? This week’s “Remember When” question is little more contemporary – only from 45 years ago! His last name was Zimmerman; several of his songs became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements during the sixties and he will turn 70 in May of next year. (I remember my grandmother complaining when she heard his records.) E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a perfect condition 45 record of “Like a Rolling Stone”.

Well it’s another day in the life of a wondering soul. Until we meet again, as you peer into your crystal ball, remember the words of Niles Bohr, the famous Danish Physicist: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.”

“We live for the nights we’ll never forget with the friends we’ll always remember.” – Author unknown