Aging Well January 29th 2013

Living a long and rewarding live is much about accepting and adapting – knowing your limitations without giving up your dreams. Even though you may no longer be the spring chicken roaming the barnyard, it is even more important to stay active and open to new adventures.
In that spirit, you will want to attend the Tuesday Lecture at 11:00 on February 5th when Marsha Morrison demonstrates Zumba Gold. I know you are probably thinking “Oh, right. You expect me to dance around in tight leotards with a bare midriff like the cheerleaders for the Portland Trailblazers? Who are you kidding?”
But wait! Zumba Gold has been designed to keep all the exciting Latin and other international dance rhythms that has made Zumba so popular, but modified for the active older adult. It provides a safe and effective workout in a party like atmosphere with friends of your own generation. And ask yourself – why should the younger generations have all the fun? And I promise – there will be no mirrors!
But if Zumba Gold is not your type of energy drink, there are a variety of other exercise and movement opportunities for the active older adult – from walking along the riverfront trail to taking water aerobics classes at the Fitness and Court Club or Water’s Edge. And at the Center there are classes including Seniorcise, Chair Yoga, Strong Women and Tap and Clogging. Accepting your limitations is not giving in. Adapt and keep moving on!
While talking to Bill Johnson several weeks ago, I learned that the nine thousand plus photographs of the history of Wasco County collected by the Wasco County Pioneers Association are stored at the Discovery Center where they have been scanned and electronically archived. Described as one of “one of the greatest treasure troves of photographic history archives in the State of Oregon” you can view these photographs on line at And for a small fee, anyone can order a high-resolution copy of one of the historic photos by calling the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center at 541-296-8600.
And speaking of history, The Dalles archeologists Eric Gleason and Jacqui Cheung will present the first program of the 2013 Regional History Forum Series Saturday, Feb. 2, 1:30 p.m., at the Original Wasco County Courthouse, 410 W. 2nd Place, The Dalles.  Their topic is “The Modoc War: Archeology and Historic Photos.”
I feel like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland – late once again. But the Center is finally kicking off its 2013 membership drive with renewal reminders hitting the mailbox this week. I’ve heard the reasons why many of you are not members: the center is just for old people, you’re just too busy or you keep forgetting to mail the check. But enough of the excuses! Make this year the year you join hundreds of others in supporting the Center’s mission of promoting healthy aging but offering generations opportunities to explore, connect and contribute. Membership dues are $35.00 per person or $60 per couple. And if you want to become a Super Duper Member (with membership benefits so super-duper we can’t tell you what they are) it is $50 per person.
And before the sun sits – playing tonight at the Center is Annie Lane. And next week we start back at the top of the charts with The Strawberry Mountain Band jump starting the month of February. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated
In the popular beer commercial from the 50’s, whenever a customer wanted a beer he would yell out to the barmaid, “Mabel, Black Label.” – a beer brewed and distributed by Carling. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Bob Thouvenel.)
With help from the Needle Nutzs, this week’s “Remember When” question is from the television series (1965 – 1970) created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry and starring Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. It was described as an “insane combination of James Bond and a Mel Brooks comedy” and featured an array of gadgets including the often used “shoe phone”. What was the name of the bungling secret agent in this television series? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mark I red convertible that was driven in the opening credits.
Well, it’s been another week, taking one step at a time. Until we meet again, remember the best kind of exercise – is the exercise you will actually do.
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.”  Ellen DeGeneres

Aging Well January 22nd 2013

Is anyone else getting tired of the grey, cold skies lying over The Dalles like a wet dirty blanket? It makes you want to visit your snow bird friends in Arizona. But wouldn’t that be cheating – admitting you aren’t tough enough to cope with weeks of inversions and stagnations. And don’t you have to endure the tough times to enjoy the good? But on the other hand – one more week, and you just might see me screaming down Hwy 197 for the Arizona border!
But as we look forward to the warmer days of spring, there are several opportunities coming our way. The fact that heart disease can largely be prevented is the theme for this year’s “Go Red” – which kicks off with a panel of experts discussing “Small Steps for Big Changes” to prevent heart disease at 6:00 pm on Thursday, January 31st at Water’s Edge. There is limited seating, so call 541-296-8444 to register.
The “Go Red” events continue on Friday at the Civic Auditorium with the Health Expo and Noon Heart Walk from 11:00 – 2:00; followed on Saturday by the Heart Truth Walk Run at the Kiwanis Pocket Park on Klindt Drive starting at 10:00 am.
The Center is already receiving calls about the AARP Tax Aide Program which provides free tax assistance to low- and moderate-income taxpayers, with special attention to folks sixty and older. Locally, it is administered by the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program – offering tax assistance at the following locations: Canyon Rim Manor in Maupin – 1st & 3rd Mondays from 10 am to 1:00 pm; Tygh Valley Community Center – Thursdays from 8 am to 12 pm; and the Mid-Columbia Senior Center – Fridays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. You can also make an appointment for tax assistance at the Rufus Community Center by calling 541-993-1054.
A dedicated cadre of volunteers will assist you preparing basic federal and Oregon personal tax returns and can electronically file them for you. They have gone through hours of training but are not professional tax preparers (although several have accounting backgrounds), so they cannot prepare more complicated schedules and forms.
Photo ID is required and you must bring acceptable proof of social security number or ITIN for every person on your tax return. Bring all income report forms such as W-2’s, interest, dividend and miscellaneous income statements, social security and pension statements, and other tax-related information such as documentation for itemized deductions. And if you can, bring your previous year’s tax return.
I have received many positive comments about the “Passport to Happiness” Calendar, but as I had expected, several mistakes have been pointed out. The local phone number for the Wasco County Veteran’s Services Office is correct (541-506-2502) but the toll free 888 number will send you to the Veteran’s Services office in Hood River. And there are two Father’s Days listed: the third Sunday in June and the third Sunday in July- which the fathers in the audience might want to use to their advantage.
I also would like to thank the Calendar sponsors including: OSU/Wasco County Extension, Hearts of Gold Caregivers, PacificSource, Flagstone Senior Living, Rebecca Street Physical Therapy, Casa El Mirador, Columbia State Bank, and the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. And the monthly sponsors including Columbia Basin Care Facility, Kramer’s Market in Dufur, Canyon Rim Manor in Maupin, Edward Jones, Mid-Columbia Community Action, NWC Parks and Recreation, and the Area Agency on Aging.
And before time runs out – playing tonight at the Center is Truman and next week Annie Lane will perform. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated
Last week’s “Remember When” question was a challenge with only Joanne Scott emailing the correct answer – “Twentieth Century”. But I was surprised when everyone else remembered “You Were There” also hosted by Walter Cronkite, but five years earlier between 1952- 1957.  (You can watch twenty episodes of “You Were There” on the Museum of Broadcast Communications website at
But this week you shouldn’t have a problem. TV commercials of the 1950’s featured mostly cars, cigarettes, kitchen appliances and beers. In this popular beer commercial, whenever anyone wanted a beer, they would call out to Mabel holding a tray of what brand of beer? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an autographed picture of Jeanne Goodspeed who played Mabel for fifteen years.
Well, it’s been another week waiting for the clouds to lift and the sun to shine. Until we meet again, make the best of the wonders yet to come.

Aging Well January 15th 2013

How would you like to have in one handy place – dates of local events such as Go Red, Mid-Columbia Community Concerts and monthly educational programs; a listing of important phone numbers including transportation resources, support groups and assisted living facilities; short insights about different aspects of healthy living; and nutritious recipes for good measure – all in an attractive packet you can hang on the wall.  
You can have it all with the “Passport to Happiness” Calendar – created and printed right here in the Gorge for older adults in Wasco County including their families and caregivers. The Calendars are now available at several locations in The Dalles including the Area Agency on Aging, the Mid-Columbia Community Action Program, The Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, the Aging and People with Disabilities office, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, the OSU Extension Office, and Water’s Edge. And soon at the meal sites in Mosier, Dufur and Tygh Valley.
One of the many benefits of the “Passport to Happiness” Calendar is each month the Calendar focuses on a different factor that can lead to improved health and greater happiness. And then on every third Wednesday of the month, from 3:00 – 4:30 at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center, there will be speakers and information that will address that month’s focus.
Wednesday, January 16thwill be the kickoff for the monthly events and the January focus is “What is Happiness?” Lauren Kraemer, OSU/Wasco County Extension Agent, will lead a discussion about happiness and what it means to each of us as we grow older; and how improving our health and well-being can lead to greater happiness. And if you are interested in reading more about the topic of Happiness, Klindt’s Booksellers will have books on hand to purchase.  
Since this is a journey towards achieving greater health and happiness with a different destination or focus each month, bring your passport with you – the tear off section at the bottom of the Calendar. At each of these monthly events, your “Passport to Happiness” will be stamped, and at the end of the year there will be a celebration offering prizes depending on the number of months stamped.
The “Passport to Happiness” Calendar was a year-long project of the Wasco County Network on Aging (I thought the Aging Network sounded good, but it was vetoed since it sound like we were just getting old.) The Network includes representatives from OSU/Wasco County Extension, the Mid-Columbia Community Action Council, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation, the local Aging and People with Disabilities Office, Flagstone Senior Living, North Central Public Health District, Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, Canyon Rim Manor, as well as Julie Reynolds.
It was a packed house at the TDWHS auditorium for “Dancing with the Gorge Stars”. And although all the dancers were entertaining and the dance routines “extraordinaire”, my man, Rick Eisland, was number one. (Although some felt he only won because of his silly smile and – like a true elected official – he knew how to work the crowd for votes.) Thanks to all the dancers: Rick, Gene, Gavin, Kristi, Tina and Celeste for making it such an entertaining night and to Platti Blagg and the Community Concert crew for bringing “Dancing with the Gorge Stars” to The Dalles.  
I am running out of room so I will keep it short – real short. “Martin and Friends” tonight at the Center, “Truman” on the 22nd, starts at 7:00, everyone welcome and donations are always appreciated. How was that?
Many folks remembered the quips and adlibs of Groucho Marx, the host of the game show “You Bet Your Life” and the answer to last week’s “Remember When” question. (And the winner of ten quilt raffle tickets for the new quilt hanging in the Center’s lobby is John Lampe.)
This week’s question may be one of those tough ones – when you can’t remember the answer until someone tells you and your response is, “Oh yeah, I knew that!”
We are remember Walter Cronkite who was described as “the most trusted man in America” and anchorman for the CBS Evening News in its heyday from 1962 to 1981. But do you remember the name of the TV documentary series about important historical events he hosted from 1957 through 1967? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a “Piece of the Rock”.
Well, it’s been another week waiting to see which way the winter winds blow. Until we meet again, it is easier to enjoy the winter knowing spring is around the corner.    

Aging Well January 8th 2013

It’s like visiting your kids or grandkids – you wouldn’t miss the chance, but it is always nice to be back home. The two week break from writing this column gave me a chance to spend more time with my son (and yes, he still wants my wife and me to move to the bay area!), watch a few movies including “White Christmas” on Christmas Day and just lollygag around the house. But it is nice to be working these old grey cells once again – writing about the many opportunities in the community and the joys and challenges of aging. 
For New Year’s Eve my wife and I just stayed home – like many of you may have done. But I found instead of struggling to stay awake till midnight to watch the ball drop in Times Square (tape delayed by three hours), I can watch it live by streaming it over the Internet.  So how about this for next year? We celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Center with music, noise makers, some bingo – and then join millions of revelers in Times Square streamed live on the big screen TV. And we can still be home in bed by 10:00. What do you think?  
It is only January and already you have the chance to see what may be the “talked about” event of the year. On Thursday January 10th, Mid-Columbia Concert Association is presenting “Dancing with the Gorge Stars” starting at 7:00 PM at The Dalles Wahtonka High School. This show is similar to ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” except instead of watching Apolo Ohno, Jennifer Grey, Donnie Osmond or Melissa Rycroft, you will have a chance to see our own Rick, Gene, Gavin, Celeste, Kristi and Tina (is there a reason they don’t give their last names?) paired with professional dancers from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company.
I have to admit they have more nerve than I have – to put themselves out there on stage in front of thousands of friends (and did I hear there will be representatives from ABC looking over the local talent?) But my money is on Wasco County Sheriff Rick Eisland. Early last spring during Steve Hudson’s Swing Classes, I had a chance to dance with Rick and I can personally testify to his natural gracefulness – except he wouldn’t let me lead! Tickets are only $25 at the door or $20 if you purchase them early at Klindts Booksellers or Columbia Music.
The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture Series is back – and although I don’t yet have a speaker lined up for next Tuesday, I guarantee you will learn something new and worthwhile. An example was today’s presentation by Courtney Kendrick who described the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This valuable program is looking for volunteers to mentor local children – helping them gain greater confidence, improve their school performance and lead positive lives. It only takes about eight hours a month and no special skills are needed. If you are interested in making a difference in a child’s life, give Courtney a call at 541-296-8118 extension 216.
And Tuesday Night Music is also back. Because New Year’s Day was on a Tuesday, the music is starting a week late. But fortunately there are five Tuesdays in January so the Center can follow the usual schedule starting off with the Strawberry Mountain Band performing tonight. And next Tuesday on the 15th, Martin and Friends will barnstorm their way through a set of country and western favorites. Music starts at 7:00, everyone is invited and donations are always appreciated.
The answer to the last “Remember When” question of 2012 (if you can still remember it) was Rosemary Clooney, the jazz vocalist and actress who sang the 1951 hit “Come on-a My House” and starred in the 1954 Christmas movie classic “White Christmas”.
But I’m going to start off the new year with one of my favorite comedians of vaudeville, film and television fame. Who was the host of the game show that ran from 1947 through 1960 where a couple would try to answer a series of questions and if during the questioning the contestant would say the “secret word” a toy duck with a moustache, glasses and a cigar in its bill would drop down. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the lyrics for “Hooray for Captain Spaulding”.  
Well it has been another week, thankful to see a new year. Until we meet again, don’t let age get in your way of living a full and generous life.