Aging Well February 26th 2013

If I asked the question “What kind of artist are you?” you might answer by saying, “Art is just for the gifted and professionally trained and I am neither”. Or “Art is a waste of time and I always had more important things to do”. Or you might even to try to evade the whole question by mumbling something about never being interested in “artsy” stuff, but “How about those Seahawks!”
The Korean author Young-ha Kim in his TED talk “Be an Artist. Right Now!” believes there is an artist in all of us – waiting for opportunities to emerge from the shadows of neglect. And we would all be better off and happier if we listened to our inner artist. .
Remember when we were young children. We would unabashedly show off our pictures even though the colorful scribbles on scrap pieces of paper told a story only we could understand. As children we just created because it was fun. But as we grew up we were told to make something “good” and “artistic”. Our creations were compared and evaluated and most of us (I can at least speak for myself) couldn’t meet those “adult world” standards. We learned to fear the judgment of our parents, teachers and friends.
But Young-ha Kim believes we need to reconnect with our inner artist that has been too quiet for too long. And ignore the fear of judgment while getting lost in the play of creating even if the results aren’t considered “good” and are just temporary – like sand sculptures on the beach. Whether it is drawing, writing or glass painting, he suggests we experience again the joy in the moment and the pleasure in the creation. As Vincent Van Gogh said “If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Now are you convinced to release your inner artist? Yes? Maybe? I think I’ll watch the Seahawks! If so, starting in March there is a new Creative Arts program at the Center  – thanks to the efforts of Debra Jones who will be leading each class. The classes will be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays in March, April and May from 1:00 – 2:00 PM. They are open to everyone and each class will offer a different creative experience. The first class on March 12th is an “Introduction to Watercolor”, and on the 26th you will have the opportunity to create easy-to-make Easter Cards and decorations. Each class is only $2.00 and all supplies will be provided. Call the Center for more information.  But wait, there is more!
At The Dalles Art Center there is a “Beginning Watercolor Workshop” with Gayle Weisfield. But you better hurry because it is this coming weekend on March 2nd and 3rd from 10:00 – 4:00 PM. To learn more about Gayle go to her website at Then on March 23rd and 24th from 10:00 – 4:00 PM, Ed Labadie will be teaching a “Polish Your Sketching and Painting Skills Workshop”. For information and costs for either class, you can call the Art Center at 541-296-4759 (the center is open on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 – 5:00 PM) or go to their website at

And before the toast is burned – playing tonight at the Center is “For the Good Times”. And next Tuesday it is back to the top of the charts with The Strawberry Mountain Band.   Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated
The actor who played grandpa Amos McCoy in the television comedy The Real McCoys was
Walter Brennan – who I have heard from several reliable sources owned a ranch in Joseph for a time. (And the randomly selected winner of 5 quilt raffle tickets is Karl Vercouteren.) But this week it is back to popular music – specifically R&B, my favorite kind of music during the sixties. What was the name of the record company founded by Berry Gordy, Jr. that included such artists as the Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and charted 110 top ten hits from 1961-1971.
E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Hitsville USA – the recording company’s first headquarters..
Well, it’s been another week, trying to dodge the monster under the bed. Until we meet again, to paraphrase Salvador Dali, “Have no fear of being perfect. It will never happen!”
“Think left and think right and think low and think high.  Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” Dr. Seuss

Aging Well February 19th 2013

To be safe, you keep your door locked. But if you are home alone and incapacitated from a health emergency, have you ever thought how the emergency responders will enter to provide you the necessary care?
Recently, a representative from the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue spoke to the Meals-on-Wheels lunch crowd at the Center describing the advantages for older adults of installing a Lock Box at their home.
He pointed out that if someone is incapacitated at home and the doors are locked, when the emergency responders arrive, there is no way they can enter unless through a forced entry. But with a Lock Box installed, which you can purchase through Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, the emergency responders can remove the entrance key from the Lock Box, enter the residence and provide the needed help. Afterwards they can return the key to the box. You don’t need to hide a key under the doormat, or hope your neighbor is home. There are no monthly monitoring charges, and Lock Boxes range in price from $165 to $265 – cheaper than replacing the front door. And they are UL listed against physical attack. To learn more about the advantages of installing a Lock Box at your home, call the Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue at 541-296-9445.
Norovirus has recently been in the news. It is commonly referred to as “stomach flu” a gastrointestinal illness which results in some combination of diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. And is often confused with Influenza – a contagious respiratory illness. But if you are like me who thinks that constantly using the alcohol sanitizers will prevent you from catching the Norovirus bug, I recently learned from Teri Thalhofer, director of the North Central Health District, to think otherwise. Alcohol sanitizers are not enough to prevent the spread of Norovirus. Instead you should wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, as well as disinfecting surface areas. (And I have been told a good rule of thumb is to wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice. But I would suggest if you are in a public restroom – not to sing it out loud!)
Unfortunately, there is not a vaccine for Norovirus. And if you have it once, it won’t protect you from having it again – which just doesn’t seem fair. So wash your hands often while singing Happy Birthday and maybe you can avoid spending several days in close proximity to the bathroom.
Every Monday the Center’s Quilters lay bare their fingers and thumbs, stitching together beautiful quilts to raise funds for the Center. But this time they have out done themselves. They have just completed a quilt incorporating fifteen cloth historical pictures of The Dalles. It is a one-of-a-kind quilt that you can now see displayed at the Discovery Center, and later will be moved to “A Whole Ball of Yarn” shop at 421 E 2nd street downtown.  For a chance to win this lovely historical themed quilt, you can purchase raffle tickets at the Center for $1 apiece.
A couple of quick reminders – because I know there is the possibility you have no recollection of what I wrote last week. The Passport to Happiness event for February on the importance of social health will be Wednesday (20th) from 3:00 – 4:30 at the Senior Center with Julie Reynolds leading the discussion. And the Zumba Gold class starts also on Wednesday from 9:00 – 9:45 in the Center’s basement.
And before the weather turns warmer and the ants start to gather on the kitchen counter – playing tonight at the Center is Truman followed next week by “For the Good times”. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated
Jerry Lee Lewis sang the #1 hit “Great Balls of Fire which was recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis Tennessee. (And the randomly selected winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Jenny Garner.) But back to the early days of television – a storehouse of memories from when television was young, innocent and black and white. This actor, born in 1894, won three Academy Awards for best supporting actor but is probably better known for starring in the TV comedy “The Real McCoys” from 1957 – 1963. What was this actor’s name? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the recording of “Old Rivers” released in 1962.
Well, it’s been another week, looking for the cherry on top.  Until we meet again, explore the impossible – you may be surprised.
“Remember—when you are falling on your face you are actually moving forward.” Anonymous

Aging Well February 12th 2013

We are all social beings, connected through shared experiences of loves lost – and found; of breaks and falls and trips to the doctor; and of past memories and dreams for the not so distant future. We all share the human condition – trying to understand and live this unsolicited gift we have been given. But there are times when we can get disconnected from life – stuck in our own sorrow and self-pity; isolated in our own losses and miseries; when we may not even want to get out of bed, let alone get out of the house. And then we need a pair of jumper cables to get reconnected to life.
Fortunately, there are many places where you can find those jumper cables to get reconnected to life. You can find them though a child by becoming a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters or helping a child learn to read through the local SMART program. You can get connected with others through a new or forgotten hobby. Enroll in an art class at The Dalles Art Center, purchase a ukulele at Columbia River Music and practice with the local ukulele players or join the Mid-Columbia Car Club and restore that 56’ Chevy.
Social health and the benefits of staying connected and engaged with others is this month’s focus in your Passport to Happiness Calendar. (And you better have your calendar hanging up next to your icebox or lying on your coffee table, because it provides more than telling you what the date is! Each month the calendar features a healthy food recipe, insights to enhance your personal well-being, a comprehensive listing of agency and service resources, as well as a schedule of events that are of specific interest to older adults. And if you don’t have a calendar, call the Center to find the closest location to pick one up.) This month’s event focusing on the importance of social health will be held on Wednesday, February 20th from 3:00 – 4:30 at the Center. Don’t forget to bring your Passport card (the tear off at the bottom of your Calendar) to get stamped. At the end of this year, there will be a Passport to Happiness celebration where participants with complete (or nearly complete) passports will be awarded various prizes including gift certificates to various local businesses.
The Center was “rockin and rollin” more than usual last week. Brenda Green and Marsha Morrison gave a lively and moving (as in moving your body) demonstration of Zumba Gold – filling the classroom with energy and fun. And for those who can’t wait till the next class, Zumba Gold will start on Wednesday February 20th at 9:00 in the Center’s basement. (And the Center has made special arrangements, so the cost is only $3.00 a class.)
Also last week the iPad and Kindle users groups met (they meet every first Wednesday of the month) and everyone was busy exploring and sharing new ways to use their electronic devices. If you think the Center is just a bunch of “old” people, you are missing all the fun and excitement!
And before the seeds start to sprout – playing tonight at the Center is Martin and Friends followed next week by Truman. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated
The author of over eighty Perry Mason novels and short stories that were the basis for the Perry Mason television series (which I have been told is the longest running syndicated television series) was Erle Stanley Gardner. (And the randomly selected winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Jess Birge.)
To find the question for this week’s “Remember When” I had to go back to my grade school days. Who sang the #1 hit “Great Balls of Fire? – the first 45 RPM record I ever bought (and promptly lost at school the next day). And for those who thought that question was too easy, what was the name of the studio where the song was recorded? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a copy of the “million dollar quartet” recording session from Tuesday December 4th1956.
Well, it’s been another week, peddling in the sand as fast as I can and not getting anywhere. Until we meet again, when you experience life’s quirks and whims – celebrate the ups and don’t get stuck in the downs. 
“It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone.”  Andy Rooney

Aging Well February 5th 2013

You have probably seen the Capital One credit card commercial asking “What’s in your wallet?” But even if you aren’t interested in collecting extra travel miles, it is still a good question if you care about protecting yourself from identity theft.
Most importantly what you should NOT have in your wallet is your Social Security Card. But what you may not know is you should also avoid carrying your Medicare Card since it also shows your Social Security number. Instead, make a copy of your Medicare Card and then black out at least the last four digits of your Medicare number – the digits that make your number unique. 2) Don’t carry blank personal checks in your wallet. But if you still do because you prefer to pay using personal checks, make sure your checks contain as little information about you as possible. And the next time you order checks, order them with just your first initial and last name – making it more difficult for con artists to forge checks in your name or commit identity theft. 3) Carry only one credit card – it’s much easier to close one credit card account than several. 4) I know it is hard to keep track of bank account numbers or pin numbers, but don’t keep a “cheat sheet” in your wallet. 6) And lastly, don’t keep large amounts of cash in your wallet. But really, who has to worry about that anymore!
There are several types of information you should carry in your wallet. 1.) Emergency contact information of the person(s) to be contacted in case of an emergency. 2) A list of the medications you are taking, so in an emergency, first responders will have access to as much information as possible about your physical health. 3) And if you no longer have a driver’s license, consider obtaining a State Identification Card from the Oregon DMV which serves the same purpose as a driver’s license when you’re asked to verify your identity. And it costs only $44.50.
Knowing what you should have and don’t have in your wallet, could save you time and money – more than the extra travel miles you can earn on your credit card.
The monthly iPad and Kindle Learning Circles will meet again on Wednesday, February 6th(iPad group at 1:00 and the Kindle group at 2:00) to explore, discover and share the many functions of these electronic devices. The Learning Circles are not your typical instructor lead classes. Instead they consist of folks like you, who want to learn more about their iPads or Kindles, and are also willing to share what they already know.  
At the Center’s Tuesday Lecture, Julie Reynolds will be presenting “A Look at Aging in China”. Julie recently returned from a trip to China and since her professional training is in the field of aging, she was particularly interested in observing the cultural norms and characteristics of aging in China. She will share her insights, anecdotes, and photos from her trip on February 12th starting at 11:00.
And before the tide rolls in – playing tonight at the Center is the Strawberry Mountain Band followed next week by John Martin and Friends. Music begins at 7:00, everyone is welcome and donations are always appreciated
The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Maxwell Smart, the bumbling secret agent in the 1965-1970 television comedy series “Get Smart”. (And out of the eleven entries the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Don Hansen.)
This week the question is about the longest running and most successful lawyer series on television. We all know Raymond Burr played the fictional attorney-detective, but who was the author of the over 80 Perry Mason novels and short stories that were the basis for the television series. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with an original copy of the children’s magazine “Youth’s Companion” from 1899.  
Well, it’s been another week, wondering whether it will and hoping it won’t – snow again. Until we meet again, as it is often said – “it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years”.  
“The older I get, the more I see there are these crevices in life where things fall in and you just can’t reach them to pull them back out. So you can sit next to them and weep or you can get up and move forward. You have to stop worrying about who’s not here and start worrying about who is.”  Alex Witchel, The Spare Wife