Aging Well November 27th 2012

Did you survive Black Friday (and Thursday and Saturday), and then Cyber Monday after catching your breathe on Sunday? It can wear you out! But most importantly, I hope you had a chance to enjoy the company of family and friends either over a traditional turkey dinner or – as my family did – by video conferencing using Skype. (And for all you geezer geeks, I discovered you can video conference with up to 10 people using Google+ Hangout. And it is free!)
But it is not only the beginning the holiday shopping season, we are also entering the time of the year for bazaars, open houses, concerts and other holiday treats – many supporting local non-profits.

On Saturday December 1st is the Annual Three Museum Holiday Open House from 11:00 AM until 4 PM at the Fort Dalles Museum and Anderson Homestead. Admission is free and you will find Santa for the grandkids, live Christmas music, a raffle drawing plus Christmas cookies and Hot Cider. And the Gift Shop will be open if you want to purchase a little history for the holidays.

Also on Saturday, Habitat for Humanity is holding their annual Christmas Bazaar at the United Congregational Church from 10:00 – 2:00. There will be vendors of all stripes and colors and baked goods to sink your teeth in.
And then there is the 33rd Annual Mosier Country Christmas Fair on Saturday – and on Sunday (in case you can handle only one Christmas bazaar a day) from 10:00 – 4:00 PM (Admission is $2.00 plus one can of food).
If bazaars aren’t your cup of hot chocolate, the Cascade Singers are presenting Gloria a Dios and Misa Criolla and Spanish Carols on Saturday at 7:30 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM at the Zion Lutheran Church (admission is by donation).

The Center is planning for its Christmas Breakfast on December 15th sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek who will be providing music by “Harmony of the Gorge”, gifts and a special appearance by Santa. And during breakfast, a raffle drawing will be held and the winner will take home one of the two distinctly different quilts hanging in the Center’s lobby. They are beautifully hand stitched and would make a great Christmas gift. Raffle tickets are available at the front desk

Because of the popularity of the affordable Kindle e-readers and tablets, the Center is starting a Kindle User’s Group on the first Wednesday of the month which in December is the 5th. The Kindle group will meet at 2:00 PM – right after the iPad User’s Group which meets at 1:00 also on the first Wednesdays. The purpose is to share information and help answer each other’s questions about these new-fangled devices.

People with disabilities are important contributors to the fabric of our communities. They may be your friends, neighbors and more often these days your co-workers. Consequently, would you like to better understand the various types of disabilities; develop more effective skills in assisting people with disabilities; and better understand how to respectfully communicate with people with disabilities? If so, you will want to attend the Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on December 5th featuring Katie Maple discussing “Disability Awareness”. Katie works for the local non-profit Opportunity Connections that provides supports and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Tonight at the Center, “For the Good Times” will be performing for your dancing and listening pleasure. And during December, because of the holidays, there will be an abbreviated music schedule. The Strawberry Mountain Band will be playing on the 4th and Martin and Friends on the 11th. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome – including any of Santa’s helpers, and donations are always appreciated.

The popular TV series that aired the famous “Moo goo goo goo” Thanksgiving episode in 1975 was The Bob Newhart Show. (And the winner of a Saturday Breakfast is Don McAllister who remembers seeing Bob Newhart substituting for Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is for the Boomers in the audience.  What satirical protest song (more aptly described as a 18 minute musical monologue) released in 1967, is the self described story of the son of a famous folk musician being arrested for dumping trash on Thanksgiving day and his ensuing efforts to avoid the draft. E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a copy of your 1960’s draft card.
Well, it has been another week, wishing the days could be a longer and the nights a little warmer. Until we meet again, keep the home fires burning. 

Aging Well November 20th 2012

Last week I discussed how to decide what to toss and what to shred when you finally get around to cleaning out years of records and documents. But I didn’t address a related question, “How long should you keep records, particularly financial records, before they can be shredded?”

According to the experts, generally there are two main reasons for keeping financial records: to offer documentation for a disputed tax issue or to show proof you made a payment or some other financial transaction.

According to Jennifer Saranow Schultz, a contributing writer for the New York Times Business Section, the IRS requires “individuals be able to produce records proving any income, deductions or credit claimed for at least three yearsfrom the date of a return”. (Three years is the statute of limitations for the IRS to assess additional taxes if all income is reportedly correctly.) But if you fail to report more than 25% of your income on your tax return, the IRS requires you to produce records for six years. Therefore the safest recommendation is to keep all of your tax records and documentation for the longer six years.

For other financial records, such as utility bills or other proofs of payment, you only need to keep them until you are sure the payment has been processed. Once you see the zero balance on the next bill, it can be shredded. For loan papers, keep them until the loan is paid off and then just keep the documentation that shows it has been paid in full; for insurance documents, keep them as long as you have the policy or if there are still unresolved claims; and for health insurance, keep those records for any service still being provided, that has not been paid or is unresolved. (And of course if any of these kinds of records are used to claim a tax deduction, save them for the recommended six years.)

There are some financial records you should keep indefinitely. Again according to Jennifer Schultz, you need to keep indefinitely “paperwork related to legal filings, wills, inheritance, bankruptcy and paperwork documenting contributions to and withdrawals from retirement accounts like Roth I.R.A.’s.”

And one final note. For security reasons, experts caution against using the new technological tools for keeping your records. Avoid storing your records online or on your computer. You’ll be glad to know it is still recommended to keep your records the old fashioned way: the original documents in a safe and secure place.

On Tuesday November 27th at 11:00 AM, the Center is going to complete the month’s Tuesday Lecture Series with a bang – a special presentation by Dr. Joshua Boone, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, speaking about foot care.  If you would like to learn more about medical conditions affecting the foot or have questions (or just have a foot fetish), please join us. The presentation will be in the Center’s basement since this month’s second AARP Driver Safety Class on the 26th and 27th will be using the upstairs classroom. (And there are still openings for this class which is free for Veterans and their spouses.)

Tonight at the Center, right here in wet River City, Truman will be singing his Country Gold. And next Tuesday we’ll end the month with “For the Good Times”. The music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome – including any gregarious Turkeys, and donations are always appreciated to keep the lights on and the musicians fed.

The TV series on ABC inspired by real-life Prohibition agents who battled Chicago crime elements was the “Untouchables” starring Robert Stack. (And the winner of the Christmas Breakfast on December 15th is Sandy Goforth.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is a little more recent – only forty years ago. But let’s see if anyone knows the answer. The fourth season of this TV series included one of the most famous sitcom Thanksgiving scenes – while Emily was away for a Thanksgiving family reunion,  her husband calls to order Chinese food for himself and his three friends who have all gotten drunk while watching a football game on TV. “Moo goo goo goo? Maybe I’m ordering Chinese baby food.” What was the name of this popular TV series that first aired in 1972? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the hit album of humorous deadpan monologues called “The Buttoned Mind Strikes Back.”

Well, it has been another week, waiting for the Turkey to undress. Until we meet again, eat slowly, chew thoughtfully and swallow carefully. And enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving.

You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” Yogi Berra

Senior Living November 13th 2012

Now that nature’s lights are dimming and the temperatures are dropping, instead of sitting in front of the television set, why not embark on that task you have been putting off for years: sorting through all the bills, receipts, legal papers you have accumulated in boxes and file cabinets over the many years. But what should you toss in the wastebasket and what should you shred?
To help out, and since I didn’t really know, I went online and found several answers – but it depends on what degree you want to protect your personal information. Some websites suggest you shouldn’t take any chances and shred all your documents including everything you receive in the mail.
That may be a little extreme. But it is definitely recommended that you destroy all documents, including junk mail, which includes any of the following: account numbers, birth dates, passwords, PINs, signatures and social security numbers.
You should also consider shredding items that include: names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses – including any kind of credit card offers and applications; courtesy checks from banks; monthly bills; and anything related to taxes and receipts with your signature. (One source did suggest you don’t need to shred receipts showing just the last four digits of your credit card number – if they don’t include your signature. And any documents having just your name and address which is public information.)  In addition, you might want to shred any other personal information that you wouldn’t want identity thieves to find – or your wife or husband!

If you decide to shred the documents yourself, avoid the least expensive strip-cut shredders, and instead use a cross-cut ,confetti or diamond-cut shredder which makes it almost impossible to piece a document back together.

If you want to save time (you don’t have to remove paper clips and staples) and know your documents will be securely destroyed, you can call Gorge Security Shred at 541-490-7078. They have met the tough certification requirements of NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) and are a service provided by the local non-profit Opportunity Connections. A representative will meet you at a designated location, (often the Center’s parking lot) to pick up your documents which will then be securely transported to their shredding facility in Parkdale. You will be mailed a Certificate of Destruction verifying your documents have been shredded and cannot be reconstructed. The cost is generally twenty cents a pound with some exceptions. It is easy, cheap and convenient.
We must be having fun because time is passing quickly, as we fast approach the third Saturday of November. And that means Saturday Breakfast and Old Fashioned Bingo on November 17th. Breakfast is from 8:00 – 9:30 and the menu is – well I forgot to ask, but it is always tasty. And Old Fashioned Bingo is gaining in popularity. It is fun, simple and great for the grandkids. Cards are $3.00, prizes are $5 and $25 for the last blackout and runs from 3:00 – 4:00 pm. (And you still have time to come back for Saturday Night Bingo starting at 6:00.)
Thanks to Dan Williams for forwarding me an email demonstrating how amazingly our brains can read text where numbers are substituted for several letters. So see if your brain can read the Center’s music announcement for this week. 70NIGH7 M4R71N 4ND FR13ND5 W1LL B3 PL4Y1NG. 4ND N3X7 W33K 17 W1LL 0NC3 4G41N B3 7RUM4N P3RF0RM1NG H15 C0UN7RY G0LD 4S Y0U D4NC3 7H3 N1GH7 4W4Y. 7HE MU31C 574R75 47 7:00 PM, 3V3RY0N3 15 W3LC0M3, 4ND D0N4710N5 4R3 4LLW4Y5 4PPR3C1473D.
It was 1974 through January of 1977 when Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockerfeller were President and Vice-President without either being elected by the people. (And the randomly selected winner of a free Saturday breakfast is Kathy Ursprung.) This week’s “Remember When” question goes back to 1959 when this crime drama first appeared on ABC. It was inspired by real-life Prohibition agents who battled Chicago criminal elements including  Al Capone. The show was criticized for its violent shoot-outs but was a hit among viewers making it one of ABC’s early hits. What was the name of the show and its star actor? E-mail your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an autographed memoir by Elliot Ness and Oscar Fraley.
Well, it has been another week, trying to get use to the early morning chill.  Until we meet again, sleep tight, but don’t let the bed bugs bite.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” – Pablo Picasso

Aging Well November 6th 2012

It isn’t clearly understood, but social engagement is known to have positive effects on your health and well-being. While on the opposite side of the coin, social and emotional isolation can be harmful and decrease your life expectancy. Unfortunately, when confronted with life changing events such as a death of a loved one, a terminal diagnosis or confronting an addiction, it is easy to retreat and separate yourself from your friends and family: your natural support network.

But in those situations, a support group is often a lifeline – providing life-saving benefits during those traumatic times. A support group can help you connect with others – reducing the feeling of isolation and being alone; help you understand that your feelings and reactions are not strange, but normal; and help you realize that life may be different, but it’s not over.

There are many support groups in the area for individuals as well as family, friends and caregivers. Last week, I mentioned the Stroke Support Group meeting on the second Wednesday of the month at Water’s Edge (541-506-6902). But there are many others including: a men’s cancer (
541-296-7207) and a women’s cancer support group (Lyn at 541-296-7205); Parkinson’s (Chad at 541-478-9338), Family Alzheimer’s/Dementia (Karen Deswert at FlagStone Senior Living 541-298-5656), and a Dementia support group (Veteran’s Home 541-296-7190). For bereavement support you can contact Heart of Hospice (541-296-7190) and Hospice of the Gorge (541-387-6449).
The bottom line is support groups offer social connections, experiential knowledge, role models and caring relationships. There is nothing better than knowing you can count on a group of people for support and guidance; and knowing, at some time, you will be able to reciprocate and help others through their difficult days, weeks and months. There is an open door waiting. You just have to make the life affirming decision to walk through it.
November 12th through the 16th is International Education Week: an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and worldwide exchange programs such as AFS (American Field Services). Since 1947, AFS has provided “intercultural learning experiences that bring global cultures together by helping people connect, transforming the lives of thousands of students, families, and individuals every year”.

Thanks to the efforts of Tedd and Rymmel Lovell, host families, liaisons and many other volunteers, there are three AFS high school students in The Dalles this school year including Anas “Ben” Dlala from Tunisia. You can learn more about AFS and Tunisia when Ben shows slides and discusses his homeland at the Tuesday Lecture on November 13thstarting at 11:00.

And to raise funds for student scholarships, local events, and school expenses for the current and future crop of exchange students, the local AFS program is selling 20 pound boxes of Ruby Red Grapefruit or Navel Oranges for $16.00 apiece. You can order a box (or half box) by calling 541-296-6546, contacting your local AFS volunteer or going online at

Novelty and focus are two essential nutrients for a good memory. So again it is time mix it up with this week’s music announcement. At the tenter conight starting at 7:00 PM “The Strawberry Bountain Mand” will be performing. And next week, Frartin and Miends will provide the soundtrack for an evening of lancing and distening. Everyone is welcome – political linners and wosers – and donations are always appreciated.

Last week’s question was a popular one with many folks remembering Eve Arden starring in “Our Miss Brooks” – the popular comedy series that aired on the radio from 1948 – 1958 and television from 1952 – 1956. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on the 17th is John Lampe.) And since today is Election Day – the end to all the political pitches covering the airwaves like weeds in a vacant lot – it only seems appropriate to include a political “Remember When” question.

For two years the nation was run by a president and a vice president who were not elected by the people. Who was the U.S. President? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a No. 48 football Jersey from the University of Michigan.

Well, it has been another week, trying to stay on my side of the road when the rain is pouring down. Until we meet again, stay strong, but many times the greatest strength is knowing when to seek support.

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap.” Robert Fulghum