Aging Well August 30th

It’s been warm this past week – Mother Nature’s reminder of what we missed during this mild summer. But next Monday is Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer and the traditional beginning of a new school year: a time to get back to business – no more sandy swimsuits, cocoa butter from head to toe, and late nights looking for action in all the wrong places. (Or at least that is what I remember.)

But these days are quieter – at times just as unpredictable, but a whole lot saner. And a time in our lives when we decide what we want to learn – whether it’s pottery painting at the Art Center, Bill and Neva’s Monday night dance classes at the Civic or one of the many opportunities offered at the Center such as the Young-at-Heart Serenaders with Phyliss Farner at the helm meeting every Wednesday from 10:00 – 11:30 starting on the 14th. Or Tai Chi meeting at its regular time – every Tuesday from 1:00 – 1:45 starting the 13th and again lead by Corlis Marsh (except when she is traveling the globe). Or the Bridge group which is back meeting every Friday from 1:00 – 3:00 and is always looking for new players while offering an opportunity to learn or improve your bridge skills in a low pressure, friendly environment.

Also two Do-It-Yourself Learning Circles are scheduled for September. These are not your traditional classes with prepared curriculums and paid instructors but small groups exploring together a particular subject. The first is “Digging up Bones: An introduction to Genealogy” and will be guided by Edna Miller. It will meet twice a month on the second and fourth Tuesdays from 1:00 – 2:00 starting on September 13th. The second is “All things iOS” – from iPhone to iPad”. This Learning Circle will meet from 1:30 – 2:30 on the second and fourth Wednesdays starting September 14th. And the rest of the Center’s activities – from Chair Yoga to Pinochle and everything in between – are still going strong. So check with your guidance counselor or call the Center at 541-298-4788 for more information.

The 11:00 Tuesday Lectures are returning for a fourth season and the starting lineup for September has already been set. On the 6th I will be discussing the trend in education towards self directed learning – the concept behind the Center’s DIY Learning Circles. And then on the 13th Lynette Black from OSU Extension will explain how to prepare for emergencies, followed by Isabel Allen from Oregon Employment Department on the 20th discussing employer responsibilities when hiring an in-home caregiver. And then batting clean-up on the last Tuesday of the month, Joyce Powell Morin will prep you for MCMC’s Health and Wellness Fair at Water’s Edge on October 1st.

Thanks to Barb Pashek, the Center is sponsoring a Community Parking Lot Sale on Saturday, September 24th from 8:00 – 1:00 PM. This is your chance to rid you closet, basement, or garage of those unwanted items. Spaces are only $25 but you need to reserve your spot before September 10th. You can pick up an application at the Center.

At 7:00 tonight the Dufur Boys will be playing for your listening and dancing pleasure. And next Tuesday on the 6th the Strawberry Alarm Clock – oops, wrong band! Must have been a temporary flashback to the psychedelic 60’s. (Does anyone else remember “Incense and Peppermint”?) So let me back up. Next Tuesday on the 6th the Strawberry Mountain Band will be a rippin’ and a roarin’. Everyone is welcome no matter your height, weight or girth. And donations are always appreciated.

I admit last week’s question was pretty easy because who else in August of 1965 could pack the Memorial Coliseum with 20,000 screaming fans – but the Beatles. (And I am still looking for someone who attended the concert.) This week’s “Remember When” question I hope is a little more challenging – unless you listened to Al Wynn’s Coffeebreak last Thursday. On this 40’s radio comedy show which was adapted to television in the 50’s, what was the name of the character who often exclaimed “What a revoltin’ development, this is!” E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an original autograph from William Bendix.

Well it has been another week, wondering why the sky is blue, the grass is green and why I don’t have a clue. Until we meet again, for every question there is an answer; we just might not find it in our own lifetime.

“Toss your dashed hopes not into a trash bin but into a drawer where you are likely to rummage some bright morning.” Robert Brault at

Aging Well August 23rd

“Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,–

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

You may be familiar with these last six lines from the heroic poem “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson. It was my son’s favorite poem during his youthful days because it encapsulated the romantic belief that at all costs – you never give up.

And Isn’t that the national ideal we try to live up to? – under all adversity, against impossible odds, we cannot accept defeat. We will scale any mountain, navigate any whitewater and overcome any challenge because as our parents always told us “where there’s a will, there’s a way”.

But as we grow older most of us learn there are limits to what we can do, what can be done. We may no longer be able to drive a car safely, or walk without assistance, or be able to stay in our home. And we won’t live forever.

There is a reality that can’t be denied, a time when we must accept, and with courage and imagination adapt to what is real and unavoidable. And no longer complain about the direction of the wind and instead choosing to adjust the sails and move forward.

And to move forward with new understanding and grace; with purpose and strength and not yield to self pity and self delusion that often damages relationships with family and friends. And that may be the toughest struggle – to accept and adapt to the new reality – even though your heart is “Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will/To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

You know it is the end of summer when the days are hot but mornings are cool, the alarm clock sounds off and it is now dark, and the summer series of activities are coming to an end. On Saturday the 27th will be the final “Celebrating Local History” presentation for the summer featuring Gerald Richmond discussing the Civic Auditorium and its complex and fascinating history. This series is presented by the Wasco County Historical Society and will begin at 2:00 PM at the Rorick House located at 300 W 13th street – which is open from 12:00 – 4:00 for the remaining summer weekends. And also in the neighborhood at the Fort Dalles Museum will be the last free “Fourth Sunday at the Fort” featuring Rich and Connie Dunnington playing “folk guitar favorites” including violin/guitar music from the 1800’s. The free concert is from 4:00 – 6:00 PM on Sunday August 28th at the Fort Dalles Museum on the corner of 500 West 15th and Garrison.

Tonight the Jazz Generations will be-bopping their way through a lush meadow of popular big band hits. And next week on the fifth Tuesday of the month, the Dufur Boys will be passing time showing you how to have a good time dancing and listening to country favorites. It doesn’t matter if you arrive early or late but the music does start at 7:00. Everyone and their great-grandmother are invited and donations are graciously accepted.

The “televised nursery school of the air” where Mrs. Francis rang her school bell calling every preschooler of the 50’s to their spot in front of the television set was the “Ding Dong School”. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast or for those who can’t get up that early – ten raffle tickets for the beautiful hand stitched quilt was Debbie Larson.) This week’s “Remember When” question goes back only forty six years ago to August 22nd when this band, at the height of their popularity, flew into Portland to perform two shows at Memorial Coliseum – each before 20,000 screaming fans. What was the name of this quartet? (And if you have proof you attended the concert, bring it to the September 17th “back to school” breakfast – sponsored by the rock and rolling TDHS class of 1963 -and receive a free breakfast.) E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a $6.00 main floor ticket for August 22nd show.

Well it has been another week, still trying to decide what I am going to be when I grow up. Until we meet again, don’t overlook the little things of life and always keep your shoe laces tied.

“The world is full of cactus, but we don’t have to sit on them.” Will Foley

Aging Well August 16th

The American philosopher and educator, Mortimer Adler once wrote “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” Today because of the changes in how we communicate, and how we access information – particularly through the numerous resources on the Internet – the opportunities to continue growing by directing our own learning are boundless.

This developing movement toward “do-it-yourself” learning has primarily focused on higher education, but I see exciting possibilities for older adult learners who are not interested in degrees or credentials; can’t afford formal classes, but are self-motivated, willing to share what they have learned, and are open to this new approach to learning.

Because this “Do-It-Yourself” concept of learning fits the Center’s mission of providing inexpensive and accessible opportunities to connect with others while exploring the world around them, the Center will be initiating what I am calling “DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Learning Circles”. In these DIY Learning Circles there will not be a formal teacher but a guide who will help direct you to the numerous available resources, facilitate discussions and encourage your learning efforts. The curriculum will be individualized and molded by those in the Learning Circles. This is new territory and may be a little messy with several false starts but I see tremendous potential in this new approach.

The five possible choices for the Center’s first DIY Learning Circles are Mandarin Chinese, Understanding the Federal Budget, Geneology, Social Media, and All things iOS (learning more about the iPhone, iPad and iPod).The three subjects generating the most interest will be offered starting in September, so call or email the Center if you are interested in any of these areas. And for the first Tuesday Lecture on September 7th, I will discuss in more detail the potential and benefit of DIY Learning Circles.

It’s Wasco County Fair time! And once again on free admission Thursday, starting at noon, there will be a free Picnic in the Park for older adults – thanks to the generosity of Pioneer Potlatch. The menu includes fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon and drinks. And with the temperature forecast to be in the low to mid 80’s, it looks like a real winner.

This coming Saturday is the third Saturday of the month and you know what that means: a chance to enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Center. Bonnie is cooking up a breakfast casserole to go along with bacon, muffins, fruit and the regular beverages – all for $5.00 and $4.00 for Center members. This month’s sponsor is the Area Agency on Aging providing services to help support older adults in the Mid-Columbia area. Breakfast is served from 8:00 – 9:30, so come on in because as Jack always said “Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it!”

After his rousing birthday party on Friday, Truman is primed and ready to entertain the assembled multitude tonight at the Center starting at 7:00. And next Tuesday the 23rd, offering a change of pace from the usual Country Western fare, the Jazz Generations will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Everyone is welcome and as always donations are appreciated. (And for those who were stumped by last week’s secret code, each letter represented the letter that preceded it in the alphabet. For example “txffu ebodjoh nvtjd” spelled “sweet dancing music”.)

The answer to last week’s question is “Which twin has the Toni?” the innovative home permanent product that generated a strong pungent odor that several folks still remember. (And the winner of a free breakfast was Modena Carelton.) This week’s “Remember When” question is from June Brown’s February 1997 copy of “Reminisce” magazine. It includes an article about the television school teacher Miss Francis – the 1950’s equivalent of Mr. Rodgers – who opened her half-hour TV show for preschoolers by ringing a bell. What was the name of this “televised nursery school of the air”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the back of a stick horse made of an old broom stick and an argyle sock..

Well it has been another week – taking it one laugh at a time. Until we meet again, always learn from your own mistakes, although it is best to learn from the mistakes of others and often less embarrassing.

“I like to think of my behavior in the sixties as a “learning experience.” Then again, I like to think of anything stupid I’ve done as a “learning experience.” It makes me feel less stupid.” P. J. O’Rourke

Aging Well August 9th

Our brains do a good job of blocking memories of unpleasant past experiences – improving our mental health and sense of well being. (I recall many more cheerful memories of Christmas pasts, vacations traveled and childhood friends than the painful memories of strikeouts at bat and girlfriends lost.) And this is all good. But it can be detrimental if we forget to live in the “now” because we yearn for something that never existed. Do we really want to go back to “the good ole days” of the rotary dial phone, the smell of home permanents, and the taste of Tang? There certainly has been change – and not all of it positive, but we shouldn’t idolize the past. The humorist Art Buchward offered good advice when he said “… everyone seems to think yesterday was better than today. I don’t think it was, and I would advise you not to wait ten years before admitting today was great. If you’re hung up on nostalgia, pretend today is yesterday and just go out and have one hell of a time.”

If this Friday night you are driving downtown and suddenly feel you are in a time warp with classic autos surrounding you, you may have entered the world of the “Neon Cruise” starting a weekend of fun and entertainment. Friday night at 7:30 you can wear your poodle skirt to the Sock Hop at the Civic Hop featuring Johnny Limbo and the Lug Nuts. And other weekend highlights include the car show from 9 – 4 at Sorosis Park on Saturday and the Dufur Threshing Bee on Sunday from 9 – 3 at Dufur Park.

AARP is honoring all retired educators by making a special offer to members of the National Retired Teachers Association, and members of the Oregon Educators Association. This month any member of these organizations who comes to the AARP Driver Safety Class – at the Center from 9:00 – 1:00 on August 15 and 16 – will get a free class just by presenting the coupon they received in the mail. (There will also be a limited number of coupons available to members who do not have one.) You can sign up for this class by calling the Center at (541) 296-4788.

Summer is a time to visit friends and family – and Willa and Ken Varner’s daughter and son-in-law, Willa and George Tannabe, are visiting from Hawaii this week. And while they are here they are giving a fascinating talk and slide presentation on Buddhism and the temples of Hawaii. It will be held on Thursday August 11th at Mill Creek Point (on 10th street across from St. Mary’s Catholic Church) at 3:00pm in the West Dining Room.

Congratulations to all who deciphered last week’s music announcement (every letter in the paragraph was in reverse order). But that reminded me of my grade school days: creating codes so my secret messages could not be read by the enemy – particularly girls. So test your brain and see if you can break the code and read the following music announcement. (Not every word will be in code so you can still get the jest of the message.) Tonight at the Center, Martin and Friends xjmm cf ippqjoh boe ipmmfsjoh; boe qjdljoh boe hsjoojohbu tubsujoh bu 7:00 QN And next Tuesday on the 16th Truman uif dsppojoh uspvcbepvs xjmm cf tfswjoh b ojhiu pg txffu ebodjoh nvtjd. Everybody is welcome and as always donations are appreciated.

Quite a few folks knew the answer to last week’s “Remember When” question: Brylcreem the “little dab’ll do ya” men’s hair product. (And the winner was one of the Brylcreem Boys of WWII – Alex Currie.) This week’s question is about a women’s hair product. Until the late 1940’s the only way to get a permanent wave was to visit the beauty parlor – costing $15. But a do-it-yourself kit was developed and sold for only $2. And to prove there wasn’t a difference between the two, an advertising campaign involving twins was created asking the question “Which twin has the __________? What was the name of this innovative women’s hair product? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or bring your answer to the Center written on the back of a box of spin curlers.

Well it has been another week – appreciating the past, worrying about the future and enjoying the present. Until we meet again, keep on trucking – we all are capable of doing more than we think.

“The past is a good place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Author Unknown

Aging Well August 2nd

At the ripe young age of 63, (and the key word is ripe!) I never think about getting old. I do think about the “floater” I discovered – like someone had dropped an annoying speck of black ink on my eyeball; my constant smiling and nodding because I don’t have a clue what was just said; my stiff joints and sore knees and how it is just too awkward and time consuming to get down on the floor anymore; and my fear of forgetting – “Does anyone know where I put that whichamacallit?” But not once do I think about getting old!

But I’m not delusional and realize time does pass and conditions do change. But that is not the same as being old. Old, particularly for my generation, is something different- and to be avoided.

Metlife did a survey of sixty-two year-old’s and asked them what age they would consider “old”. The result was 77 years and 10 months. I wonder what they will think in 15 years when they turn 77. Or will they accept Barnard Baruch’s definition, “To me, old age is always fifteen years older than I am.”

So I understand I am getting older and I know I am no longer young – but I don’t feel old. And I have heard from folks who are ten, twenty and thirty years older than I am who feel the same way. So what does “old” mean?

I don’t think it has to do with age – or how late you stay out, how fast you drive, how busy you are or how much money you have (although that could help). It could have something to do with being afraid and isolated, or frail and hesitant; no longer seeking answers and instead complaining about what is. And it probably does have to do with attitude and beliefs: having a purpose and meaning and still dreaming of what can be.

And after thinking about it – and for quite some time, I really don’t know what “old” means. But maybe you do. What are your thoughts and experiences about getting older? Is it true after seventy it is just “patch, patch, patch” as a friend recently told me. If you have any thoughts or comments to share email me at In the mean time, as I continue to grow up becoming who I am – whatever that is – I’ll keep dreaming of dragons to slay, damsels to save and stories to tell and maybe make a little difference in this world of ours.

For older adults who are barely getting by on their monthly social security check, and maybe a small pension or a little savings, prescription drugs may not be affordable. But many folks may not know they could qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug costs – reducing the cost to as little as $2.40 for generic prescription drugs and $6 for brand name drugs with a possible savings of $4000 annually. To qualify an individual must make less than $16,345 or $21,855 as a married couple. Plus their resources, defined as bank accounts, stocks and bonds but not their house or car, must be less than $12,510 or $25,010 for married couples. If you think you qualify, and would like more information call the Area Agency on Aging at 541-298-4101 and ask for Jean.

It is again time to jumpstart those neurons and synapses in your frontal cortex. So here is the music announcement but you have to figure out how to read it. detaicerppa era snoitanod dna emoclew si enoyreve ,00:7 ta strats wohs ehT . sdradnats nretsew dna yrtnuoc fo gnineve na gniyalp eb lliw sdneirF dna nitraM ,ht9 tsuguA, yadseuT txen dnA .erusaelp gnicnad dna gninetsil ruoy rof tsud eht pu gnikcik eb lliw dnaB niantnuoM yrrebwartS ehT dna erdnA retneC eht ta thginoT

The Texas born musician, songwriter and bandleader and the “King of Western Swing” was Bob Wills. And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Raburn Parker. This week’s “Remember When”” question comes from the category “Classic TV Commercials”. What men’s hair care product used the jingle “. . . a little dab’ll do ya/Use more, only if you dare/But watch out/The gals will all pursue ya/They’ll love to put their fingers through your hair.” E-mail your answer to or call 541-296-4788.

Well it has been another week watching the cow chips fall where they may. Until we meet again, it is hard to negotiate with someone who holds a gun to their own head.

John Barrymore said ‘One never gets old until regrets take the place of dreams.”