Aging Well January 28th 2014

There are many organizations in the Mid-Columbia supporting older adults, but there are very few whose only mission is the health and wellbeing of older adults. One of those organizations is the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) operated under the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments serving a five county region: Wheeler, Gilliam, Sherman, Wasco and Hood River counties.

Through the Older Americans Act (OAA), the AAA receives funds for food and nutrition programs, support services, and planning and coordination of local services. The AAA also receives funds from the state of Oregon to operate the Oregon Project Independence program which pays for in-home services so older adults can stay in their homes and live as independently as possible.

 But the AAA also recruits and trains many volunteers to provide several other important services for older adults including the Senior Health Insurance Benefits Assistance program (SHIBA) that offers free counseling to people eligible for Medicare; Friendly Visitor program that helps older adults stay socially connected, and the AARP Money Management program that provides help with simple financial tasks such as paying bills and balancing a check book.

If you would like to learn more for yourself or someone you know, at the Center on Tuesday, February 4th at 11:00, Melissa Howtopat will explain the many important services offered by local Area Agency on Aging.

 Hopefully you have received your Passport to Happiness Calendar in the mail. (If not you can still pick one up at the Center.) To encourage a healthy and active lifestyle, there is a Passport, in addition to the Calendar, that you can pick up to be stamped each month at various community activities promoting healthy aging including the quarterly events held at the Center. Then in December at the last event, you can turn in your passport for prizes and gifts donated by local businesses and individuals.

 The first community event where you can have your Passport stamped is the Go Red for Women’s Heart Expo at The Dalles Civic Auditorium on Friday February 7th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. Pick up your Passport at the StrongWomen table and have it stamped by Fern Wilcox the volunteer coordinator for the StrongWomen program. And each month another community event will be announced where your “Passport” can be stamped.

 Two quick reminders: The first Creative Drawing class at the Center (led by Debra Jones and based on the Art of Silliness Drawing Workshop created by Carla Sonheim) is next Tuesday from 1:00 – 2:30. Call the Center for the supply list and the cost is only $2.00 per session. And if for Christmas, you bought a new iPad or iPhone for yourself or your children bought one for you, there will be a iPad/iPhone class on Wednesday February 5th from 1:00 – 2:30 pm.

 I hope you have stayed up with me regarding the proposed changes to English spelling called “Euro-English”. For this week’s music announcement, I am adding the last three changes: replacing “th” with a “z”, the “w” with “v”; and dropping the “o” from words containing “ou”.

 Nxt vek starts a vhol new monz and on ze first Tuesday night in February (4th) if yu want to “kut a rug!”, kom on down to ze Cnter and njoy the sunds of ze Stravbery Mountain Band. Ze dors open at 6:00, and althugh it von’t be all night, yu kan dans from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Everyon is velkom and donations are apresiated.

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Wingtips – a style of leather shoe decorated on the toe cap with perforations in the shape of a “W”. (And the winner of a free March 21st Saturday Breakfast is Ted Mahoney.)

 This week’s question was inspired by the funny YouTube video “Smart Dog Drives Smart Car” emailed to me by Diana Weston. It is one of hundreds of pranks found on the “Just for Laugh Gags” channel on YouTube. But the videos reminded me of the popular television show “Candid Camera” which ran on NBC from 1960-1967 hosted by what television personality. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of Durward Kirby, the co-host of the show for several years. 

Well, it has been another week wondering for how long will I have to drive out of town to see the sun? Until we meet again, in conversations when you start digging yourself into a hole, know when to put down the shovel.

 “The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” Joseph Addison

Aging Well January 21st 2014

We all know that as long as we physically can, we should keep moving and regularly engage in some kind of movement/exercise activity. Be we have also learned – if it is all work and no play, it is no fun and we probably won’t continue for very long.
One key I have found for making exercise fun and enjoyable is to exercise with others. By sharing stories, personal foibles and wacky experiences, I make the social connections that keeps me coming back even when I could think of other things to do – like stay in bed.
An example is the Strong Women’s class at the Center. I have often wondered if they were actually exercising or just drinking scotch and sodas and telling lewd stories. Fern Wilcox, who is probably responsible for it all, is still teaching the class which she started before she retired as an OSU Extension faculty member. 
But the class is more than just laughing and telling stories. There are many proven benefits of the Strong Women’s class: increased muscle mass, strength and balance; improved bone density and reduced risk for osteoporosis; reduced risk for diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and obesity; and improved self-confidence, sleep and vitality. The class is every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 2:00 – 3:00 and the cost is a suggested donation of $2.00 per session.
But if you rather enjoy being alone or with a couple of friends, and enjoy the outdoors where you can really experience the different seasons, walking is an easy, inexpensive and convenient form of exercise to consider.
If you would like to start walking for exercise or even if you are already walking, you will be interested in the Center’s Tuesday Lecture on February 11that 11:00 when Ann Stanley and Linda Alexander, from Gorge Spine and Sports Medicine, will be discussing the importance of walking as we age, offer advice and tips on how to walk safely and then end with a walking test to assess your risks for falling.
There are many ways to keep moving. Strong Women and walking are just a few of the choices offered in the community whether at the Center, the Dalles Fitness and Court Club or Water’s Edge. But what is really the best exercise for your health and wellbeing? Whatever you will do – and keep doing!
And a quick reminder. Next Tuesday at the Center on the 28th at the 11:00, Joyce Powell Morin from MCMC will discuss the “Healing Power of Gratitude and Optimism”.
Last week I introduced the new (tongue-in-cheek) English spelling called “Euro-English”. For this week’s Tuesday Night Music announcement, I am incorporating two more changes: the removal of double letters and the wasteful silent e.
Nxt Tusday at the Senter, the Simco Boys wil kep you steping out on the danse flor with their spesial brand of kountry musik. Dors open at 6:00, the band starts piking and struming at 7:00 and you kan go home by 9:00. And to kep the rom warm and the band hapy, donations larg or smal ar always apresiated.  .
Last week’s “Remember When” question brought back memories for several folks particularly Marilyn Gladwell (the winner of a Saturday Breakfast on March 15th) who remembers wearing “petticoats” as in the “Petticoat Junction” TV show. I learned she and many others called them “crinolines”, short for crinoline petticoats.  Marilyn describes them as often made with net and a very heavy starch, or even plain gelatin to make them stiffer to create the desired fullness. And as she sat down, they would often make loud crackling noises. Ah, the joys of our youth!
Since last week’s question was about women’s fashion, this week’s question should be about men’s. But what can you ask about men’s fashions? Not much. But let’s try this one from my youth.
When I was in high school, my dad made sure I had the proper shoes for church and the formal high school dances that he tried to bribe me to go to! What was the name of this style of leather shoe decorated with perforations on the toe cap in the shape of a “W” and is still worn today but in many more colors? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a pair of Scottish ghillie brogues.

Well, it has been another week trying to be more help than a bother. Until we meet again, as the sign in the Mayflower Coffee Shop in Chicago says “As you wonder on through life, sister/brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut, and not on the hole.” 

Aging Well January 14 2014

Life can be so serious. When we were younger we were focused on pursuing a career, raising a family, and for many putting their lives at risk serving our nation in Germany, Korea or Vietnam. And now there are doctor visits, all those pills, and children who we once told when they had to go to bed, now trying to telling us what we should and shouldn’t do. (Ironic isn’t it.)
But now that you are retired or maybe still working, but only part time, there is time (maybe too much time?) that you didn’t have before to try something new – that is light and fun and stretches your perception of what you can do.  
I don’t mean riding Portland’s MAX in your underwear for No Pants Day. I mean taking the Art of Silliness Drawing Workshop – a creative drawing class led by Debra Jones that involves drawing exercises that makes drawing fun.
As you can imagine, this is not your traditional drawing class. It is based on the work of Carla Sonheim and her “Art of Silliness Drawing Classes”. ( As Debra explains, it is all about the creative process being fun. And is perfect for the person who feels they can’t draw or aren’t creative. The workshop will offer you a chance to draw without any expectations, without comparisons, without fear, but with the freedom to follow you own instincts and add a little whimsy in your life.
And there is no limit on class size! The cost is only $2.00 for each session and the sessions will be held at the Center from 1:00 – 2:30 on four consecutive Tuesdays starting February 4th.  You will receive a supply list when you sign up at the Center.
So when everything can seem so serious, and when the grey winter skies never seem to lift, why not add a little silliness by signing up for the Art of Silliness Drawing Workshop – and you won’t have to take your pants off!.
At the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on the 21st, you will experience an example where art, history and technology intersect with a discussion of the online Cultural Institute. Google has partnered with hundreds of museums, cultural institutions, and archives to host the world’s cultural treasures – online and accessible to everyone. And then on the 28th Joyce Powell Morin from MCMC will discuss the “Healing Power of Gratitude and Optimism” which was postponed in December.
Jerry Phillips forwarded me a statement by the European Commission announcing the new official language of the European Union. It was agreed that English would be best, but because English spelling had room for improvement, they negotiated a 5- year phase-in plan to what would become known as “Euro-English”. (But don’t believe everything you read!)
So I thought I would write the music announcement incorporating the new spelling – starting with the changes for the first two years: replacing the soft “c” with an “s”, and the hard “c” with a “k”; and replacing the confusing “ph” with “f”.
Next Tuesday at the Senter, Truman will be playing his Kountry Gold for your dansing and listening pleasure. The doors open at 6:00, the musik starts at 7:00 and the doors klose at 9:00. Everyone is invited inkluding nieces, nefews, aunts and unkles. And donations are appresiatively aksepted.
Several readers remembered singer, composer and pianist Neil Sedaka and his 1961 hit single Calendar Girl. And as Joann Scott pointed out, a time when you could understand the words, and I might add, were not embarrassed by them. (And the winner of a Saturday Breakfast on March 15th is Marilyn Gladwell.)
Shifting gears once again, this week’s two part “Remember When” question is about fashion. If you asked teenagers today, they probably wouldn’t have a clue, but what was the name of the piece of clothing commonly worn under a woman’s skirt in the 50’s and 60’s?  And to be more specific, this article of clothing was used in the title of what television comedy (1963-1970) that took place in the Shady Rest Hotel? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of the Hooterville Cannonball.
Well, it has been another week trying to keep the light on without the bulb burning out. Until we meet again, as Hector in his search for Happiness, once said “There’s no point in looking before crossing the road if you don’t look in the right direction.”
“What did you do as a child that made the hours pass like minutes? Here is the key to your earthly pursuits.” — Carl Jung

Aging Well January 7th

The free 2014 Passport to Happiness Calendar is now available and if you don’t receive one in the mail in the next week, you can stop by the Center or OSU Extension office at CGCC and pick one up. And thanks to the suggestions from many folks, the 2014 calendar has a few changes to make it even better than 2013.
This year there will be quarterly Passport to Happiness events instead of monthly – focusing on three components of health: social, physical and cognitive health. The events will start at 1:00 at the Center, so you can have lunch provided by Meals-on-Wheels and then stay for the presentation. The first event will be on January 15th from 1:00 – 2:30 at the Center – once again featuring guest speakers, useful tips, informative handouts and more healthy recipes.
At this first event you can also pick up your 2014 Passport which can be stamped at each of the quarterly events as well as other sponsored events offered by Parks and Recreation, OSU Extension, the Center and other organizations promoting healthy aging. And then at the end of the year Celebration in December, you can redeem your Passport stamps for special prizes and gifts.
This year the calendar is smaller: 8 ½ by 11, so it will be easier to hang on your wall. But it does not include a resource guide, so don’t throw away the resource guide in your 2013 calendar. And the many activities in the area are now listed in the back of calendar, so there will be room on each month to add your appointments and other important events you don’t want to forget.
But still included are the monthly seasonal recipes from OSU’s website. And outstanding photographs of local folks engaged in healthy activities from quilting at the Center to volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce and the Habitat ReStore Store (who are always looking for volunteers), once again taken by Ray Perkins at Ray Perkins Photography.
But the calendar would not be possible without the generous financial support of the following sponsors who are committed to supporting older adults: OSU Extension, Hearts of Gold Caregiving, Rebecca Street Physical Therapy, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Flagstone, PacificSource, Regence and BiCoastal Media. As well as several monthly sponsors including Area Agency on Aging, LINK Transportation Network, Mid-Columbia Community Action, Columbia Basin Care Facility, Mid-Columbia Senior Center, and Jim Bishop at Westcorp Mortgage.
And finally, the Calendar was a collaborative effort of the Wasco County Network on Aging whose members are working together to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults. The Network ‘s key partners are OSU Extension, Mid-Columbia Community Action, MCMC, Area Agency on Aging, Oregon Department on Aging and People with Disabilities, Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation and the Mid-Columbia Senior Center.
It’s time again to challenge that three pound organ taking up space between your ears by seeing if you can decipher the scrambled letters in the Center’s music announcement. (Researchers have found we don’t read letter by letter but by the whole word, so it isn’t usually that difficult – if the first and last letters are the same.)
On Jaunray 14th Matrin and Feidnrs will be pckniig and sumimnrtg your old time corutny fivaroets. Doros oepn at 6:00, dcannig sattrs at 7:00 and the band starts pakincg at 9:00. Eovyrnee is welmoce and datonnois are ataerpciepd. 

For fifty years at the stroke of midnight (if yoiu were still awake) you could listen to Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadials playing Auld Lang Syne from the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. (And the winner of a Saturday Breakfast on March 15th (write that down on your new calendar) is Bill Van Nice.)  But since the 2014 Passport to Happiness Calendar is now available, it only seems appropriate to ask a “Remember When” question related to calendars, right? So this week who was the Americal pop singer, pianist and composer who sang and co-wrote the hit single “Calendar Girl” that reached #4 in 1961? (He also recorded “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do.) Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of this performer “laughing in the rain” im 1975.

Well, it has been another week trying once again to recalibrate my brain so I will start writing 2014 instead of 2013.  Until we meet again, be well, be kind and be amazing.

”To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

Aging Well December 31st

The new year is knocking, anxious to get started with a six pack of football games on New Year’s Day – unashamedly named after the highest corporate bidder. (Ah, the days when the bowl games were named after things that were simple and basic: Cotton, Oranges, Sugar, and Roses.) But this is also the time of the year for new beginnings and the tradition of making resolutions for a new year. (But hold on now. Don’t turn the page! You might believe resolutions are just a waste of time, because you’ve lived this long, so why should you change?

But think about it. There might be some new habits you want to make or some old ones you want to change. What was the doctor telling you? Maybe you should start an exercise class – that yoga or Tai Chi class to work on your balance? Or eat better – by reducing your salt and fat intake? Things you never worried about, but now realize how important they are. And those changes just might improve your health and help you live a little longer.

So if you decide that New Year’s resolutions might not be such a bad idea, here are nine tips from the Happiness Project website that were distributed at the last Passport to Happiness Event on the 18th.

 1. Write your resolution down and be specific. Instead of “make new friends” describe how – such as “start a movie group” or “join an exercise class”.
 2. Review your resolution constantly so you won’t forget.
 3. Hold yourself accountable. Don’t make excuses.
 4. Think big. Make your resolution inspiring and exciting.
 5. Or think small. Something simple and doable.
 6. Separate your resolution, no matter how small, into manageable tasks.
 7. Work on your resolution every day. It is easier to do something consistently than to skip days
8. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. The best exercise it the one you will actually do.
 9. As mentioned before, don’t make excuses, BUT if you keep breaking your resolution, no use constantly beating yourself up. Try a different approach that will get you to the same goal.

 These are some suggestions to help you set and achieve your goals for a new year. Because as Carl Bard once said, “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new beginning.”

 After two weeks off, it is time again for the Center’s Tuesday Night music announcement. And I will keep it simple for one more week. On December 7th the Strawberry Mountain Band will be starting off the new year of music with three chord country favorites. Doors open at 6:00, dancing starts at 7:00 and it’ll be time to go home by 9:00. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

 The 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on the 7th will feature another taped video presentation from the National Forum on Brain Health at the 2013 Aging in America Conference held in Washington D.C. last April. The topic is “Meditation, Mindfulness, Aging, and the Brain”.

 And just before I enter the home stretch, I just have to ask, am I the only one who starts reading a book and half way through realizes I have already read it? Or while watching a TV mystery I have already watched, and the detectives are closing in on identifying the murder, I still can’t recall who it was! Just wondering.

 The New York department store that hired Kris Kringle in the movie Miracle on 34th Street was Macy’s – and its archrival was Gimbels. (And the winner of a free breakfast – but who will have to wait till the next Saturday breakfast in March – is Helen Lynch.)

 But this week’s “Remember When” question is about New Years celebrations before the days of Dick Clark. Between 1928 and 1976, America welcomed the New Year listening to Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians playing from what New York hotel? And for bonus points what song did he make popular playing at midnight every year? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a book of poems by Robert Burns.

 Well, it has been another week making the best of what comes my way. Until we meet again, it is amazing how you always find what you’re looking for at the very last place you look.

 “One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.” John Burroughs

Aging Well December 24th

During this season of peace and good will, it is often a good time to reflect on how we are all far from perfect and complete and to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt “in need of both love and charity”.

 And neither are we totally independent – nor should we want to be. The African word Ubuntu which means “I am what I am because of who we all are” describes this relationship we have with others: the natural interconnectedness where we both give and receive, as we help others while others help us. This interconnectedness makes us more complete human beings and stronger communities as we share our strengths and talents to offset our weaknesses.

 But as we age we tend to move more towards dependency on others – whether it is opening doors, needing a ride or help with daily bathing. But as we learn to accept more help, we can still continue to find our own ways to give back, to stay interconnected in the give and take of life.

 For example, if you enjoy children, read to them through the SMART or READ OUT LOUD programs. If you enjoy building, pick up a hammer and volunteer with Habitat. If you like to listen, visit the home bound through your church. And if you are home bound, make phone calls for local organizations. Or you can give back in more subtle ways: offering a word of encouragement to someone struggling emotionally, a friendly smile to a haggard cashier – or being an example of how to live with dignity and grace during difficult times.

As Joni Mitchell once sang, we have seen life “from both sides, now”. We know the ups and downs; the success and failures; the loves and losses. And with that perspective, we all have much to offer.

 So here at the end of the year, I want to thank all of you who are giving back in your own personal ways – both large and small. Those of you who offer a helping hand and a friendly smile, who are quick to forgive and slow to anger, and especially you who spread laughter and good cheer – by telling some really bad jokes.

 And at the Center there are so many to thank starting with all the volunteers and members who support the Center in their own and many ways. They are the backbone of the Center – and most of the time the brains too. And all the folks at Meals-on-Wheel. It is not easy to share a space (Have you ever tried to share an apartment?) It takes a tremendous amount of respect and trust – and laughter – to make such a close relationship work.

 I also want to thank all the fine folks who work at the many community organizations who are there to support older adults: the Area Agency on Aging, Aging and People with Disabilities, OSU Extension, Mid-Columbia Community Action Program, Columbia Cascade Housing, MCMC, Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation to name a few.

 With all of us working together: individuals, non-profits, churches, public agencies and businesses, we can create the interconnected web of social supports that improve the health and wellbeing of not only older adults but the whole community. And although we are far from perfect, we can make a better place for all of us to live. 

The cap made famous by Fess Parker in the Disney mini-series Davy Crockett (which many of us young boys of the 50’s had to have) was the coonskin cap. And the doll that could both “drink-and-wet” was the Betsy Wetsy doll.

 And for the last Christmas related “Remember When” question, the Academy Award winning Miracle on 34th Street was filmed in 1947 and starred Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, Natalie Wood and Edmund Gwenn who played Kris Kringle.. What was the name of the department store that hired Kris Kringle and – to make it a little more challenging – the name of its competitive rival? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with 21 bags of letters addressed to Santa.

 Well, it has been another week of Christmas lights and Christmas carols, cookies and hot chocolate, while waiting for what Santa brings. Until we meet again, as the Irish would toast “May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you”.

 “What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.” ~Agnes M. Pahro