Aging Well March 25th 2014

We are all learning how to navigate this digital age: email addresses, numerous passwords, Facebook friends, and online banking. (Okay, not all of us. I know several folks who have resisted the temptation and after spending hours trying to remember my passwords, they just may have the right idea!)
But knowing that you can’t really turn back the hands of time, the Center is trying to keep up with its own website at If you have any questions about Center activities, I would encourage you to visit it. It is updated every week, usually by Wednesday morning, and has plenty of information including a Resource Guide for Older Adults, clues for the “Where in The Dalles is the Elevator” contest plus the Center’s weekly newsletter. I have to admit the site is not fancy, but like an old John Deere tractor, it gets the job done.
What do you get when you add “Barley Draught” with an Elevator on St. Patrick’s Day? Good music, great fun and over $1000 raised for the UpLifting Elevator Fund! Thanks to Barley Draught for donating their time to rock the Center with their high energy Irish music. I also want to thank all the folks who helped make the evening such a success: Mary Murray, Kevin Ryan, Edna Chandler and Colleen Ballinger; Spookys, Papa Murphys and Pizza Hut for donating pizzas, the band members for donating their delicious Irish Soda Bread and Mark Powell at Clock Tower Ale for setting up the keg of Guinness Beer – because I didn’t have a clue. After the rousing St. Patrick’s Day concert, I am looking forward to inviting “Barley Draught” back in the not too distant future to celebrate the addition of the new elevator.
The Center is expanding its Creative Arts program by adding two new offerings this spring. The first is a Dynamic Drawing Class where you can learn how to draw or expand your knowledge of drawing. Former university art professor, Joy Kloman, will teach old-master drawing techniques to create a lively composition. The cost is $50 for the four classes, plus $11.00 to purchase the supplies – available at the first class. The classes are on May 9th, May 23rd, May 30th, and June 6thfrom 1:00 – 3:30 downstairs at the Center. To register call the Center at 541-296-4788.
The second offering is a Writer’s Tertulia. (Tertulia is a Spanish word meaning an informal gathering to talk about common interests.) In this Writer’s Tertulia, you will have a chance to explore a variety of writing experiences: stories from your life, short fictional stories, Haiku and poetry, chapbooks and 10-minute plays. So whether you have been writing all your life, have always wanted to write or just want to explore a new talent, consider joining this Writer’s Tertulia. It will be facilitated by Robert Griswold and takes place downstairs at the Center on Fridays from 10:00 – 11:00 starting April 4th.
A quick reminder: the speaker for the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on April 1st will be Taylor Haag from GREEN HOME Construction discussing the advantages of weatherizing your home.
I’ve upped the difficulty for the Center’s April 1st music announcement. See if you can decipher it. .
Ereht si cisum ta eht Retnec yreve Yadseut morf 7:00 – 9:00 MP. Dna no Lirpa ts1, Eht Yrrebwarts Niatnuom Dnab lliw eb gnimrofrep. Dna sa a laiceps taert rof siht laiceps yad, Erdna lliw eb gniwohs rehtona edis fo sih lacisum stnelat yb gniyalp a edulerp, na edute dna neht na edutrenni rof eht lacissalc ratiug. Dna rebmemer enoyreve si emoclew dna snoitanod era syawla detaicerppa.
The brother and sister in the popular reading primers of the 40’s and 50’s were Dick and Jane along with their dog “See Spot run.” (And the winner of a Cherry Festival Breakfast is Gwenna McCarger.)  
If you are sports fan, you know we are in the midst of basketball’s March Madness. So this week’s “Remember When” question is from the NCAA Basketball Championships long, long ago. From 1962 through 1964, Oregon State University played in the NCAA Basketball Tournament making it to the final four in 1963. Who was the OSU coach? And for bonus points who, according to Wikipedia, was the top scorer of the 1963 tournament? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send your answers with two OSU 2014-2015 basketball season tickets.
Well, it has been another week enjoying the slow slide towards spring. Until we meet again, live without fear and with imagination.
“Children are often spoiled because no one will spank Grandma.” Seen on a wooden sign in The Breezeway Antiques and Gifts store on 2nd Street in The Dalles.

Aging Well March 18th 2014

Is there anything you want to learn or better understand – something to sink your teeth in? It could be learning how to stitch, playing a ukulele, trying your hand at poetry, or since you always doodled as a child, learning how to draw. Or how about learning how to use a new iPad, or smart phone? Or even better, how to set up that blankety-blank new flat screen TV with what seems like a thousand different channels. (Remember when there were only three television networks and the only show you could watch after midnight was the test pattern!)

All through our lives we have been learning – from how to read in grade school to on the job training in our professional careers. And now after retirement, there is no reason to stop. In your Passport to Happiness calendar for the month of March you will find, besides a healthy recipe for a Chicken and Dumpling Casserole, and a picture of Pauline Westover reading in the library at Flagstone Senior Living (she was once a school librarian), several tips about how to continue on your own path of lifelong learning.
For example, you can enroll in a class at the Columbia Gorge Community College; or register for the spring Mastery on Aging Classes offered by OSU Extension at the CGCC campus in Hood River (The first class is April 14th on Memory Difficulties. For more information call OSU Extension 541-506-6011.) And at the Center there are the Creative Arts Classes which I’ve mentioned before. But next week I will provide more information about two new opportunities: a Dynamic Drawing Class taught by Joy Kloman and a Writer’s Tertulia (you can look that word up later!) facilitated by Robert Griswold.
In addition, there are Lectures at the Center every Tuesday except the third Tuesdays. Some of the upcoming speakers are Taylor Haag from GREEN HOME Construction on April 1st discussing the advantages of weatherizing your home; Ann Stanley on April 8th discussing the value of walking and particularly what you can do to prevent falls. And then in May, PK Swartz will discuss Advance Directives, POLST and Organ and Tissue Donations on the 6th; and on the 13th, Julie Reynolds will reprise the talk she gave in February at the Original Wasco County Courthouse on “Close Encounters: Wasco County Residents Remember the Rajneeshees”.
Thanks to Meadow Advertising and Katie Cordrey, you can now donate to the “UpLifting Elevator Fund-Raiser” online at And by using your credit card you can earn more reward points on your favorite credit card for that trip to London? New York? Portland? Or just a nice overnight stay at the Balch Hotel in Dufur.
And while you have your credit card out, you can also go to the Civic Auditorium’s website at and donate $27 or more to support the operation and maintenance of this community asset and living memorial to local veterans. It is easy, simple and you receive your receipt by email which you can print out for your tax records.
Now it is once again time to challenge your cranium by mixing up the words and letters in this week’s Center’s music announcement. So here goes.
.appreciated always are donations and invited are ages All .enjoyment dancing and listening your for tunes country some playing be will Boys Simcoe the 25th March on And .PM 00:9 – 00:7 from Tuesday every Center the at music is There
The sixteen B-25s, each with a five member crew, that flew the first air raid strike over Japan in April of 1942 was led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and called the Doolittle’s Raiders. And the Hollywood movie based on the air raid was called “30 Seconds over Tokyo” starring Spencer Tracy, Van Johnson and Scott McKay – really! (And the winner of a Cherry Festival Breakfast is Ron Sutherland.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is from the 40’s and 50’s when many of first learned to read using this common reading series. In this reading primer, what were the names of the brother and sister that became cultural icons? And for the bonus question, what was the name of their dog? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send your answers with your first grade report card. 

Well, it has been another week when if it ain’t one thing, it’s another. Until we meet again, keep your head up, eyes open and your imagination free.

“The thing that’s important to know is that you never know. You’re always sort of feeling your way.” Diane Arbus Photographer

Aging Well March 11th 2014

Is it beginning to feel like spring? Because we are getting closer with the first day of spring (or the vernal equinox as the say in the more educated circles) arriving on March 20th. And just like flowers sprouting in the gardens and ants climbing on the kitchen counters, the Center is busy with activity. So stay with me as I share with you many of the spring activities at the Center.

 Another sign of spring is the return of the Center’s Saturday Breakfast from its two month winter hiatus. We’ll still working on the menu but the serving line opens at 8:00 but you better get up by 9:30 to enjoy a delicious breakfast for only $5.00. And remember, as Jack always said “Breakfast tastes better when someone else cooks it!”

 It’s also time for the Center’s Spring Membership drive. With the UpLifting Elevator Fundraiser picking up steam, one of the ways the Center can show community support when applying for grants for the elevator is by the number of Center memberships. So the Center has raised the bar for 2014 to a goal of 500 members: an increase of 100 members over last year. And we are about half way there. The cost is still $35 per person or $60 per couple; and then there is the Super Duper membership for $50 per person. In addition, this year we added the convenience of buying your membership online. Go to the Center’s website and click on the “Buy Now” button under membership.

 Debra Jones is continually growing the creative arts program at the Center and her latest is the Creative Arts Spring Series – two Tuesday classes in each of the months of March, April and May. You can choose which classes you want to attend, but you need to call the Center to register for each because space is limited. The next class on drawing with watercolors and pen and ink is from 1:00 – 2:30 March 25th. This class is open to all skill levels; particularly a great way for beginners to learn to use watercolors. Debra Jones is the instructor and the cost is $2.00. For more information you can contact Debra at 541- 298-2131 or visit the Center’s website at for a full listing of all the creative arts classes.

 The good news is that “Barley Draught” will be playing at the Center on St. Patrick’s Day starting at 7:00 PM to raise funds for the Center’s Elevator. It is an over 21 event with Irish Beer, Irish pizza and Irish Soda Bread.

 But the bad news is that you will have to make a choice, because also on Monday folks will be celebrating St. Pat’s Day at Old St. Pete’s with the Cascade Singers, a Children’s Choir, and the Almost-All-Irish – Almost – All – Brass – Band. Music starts at 7:00 at the St. Peter’s Landmark. Admission is a free-will offering to benefit the St. Peter’s Landmark.

 And there is always music at the Center every Tuesday from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Truman will be playing his Country Gold on the 18th. And on Sunday the 16th, the Pie and Music Jam will be making its monthly stop at the Center from 2:00 – 5:00. And it is free.

 The answer to last week’s question is Mad Magazine whose mission has been described as “being ever ready to pounce on the illogical, hypocritical, self-serious and ludicrous”. And the goofy looking boy often found on the cover? It’s “What – Me Worry!” Alfred E Neuman. (And the winner of a free breakfast this coming Saturday is Mad Man (Dennis) Morgan.)

 This week’s “Remember When” question was inspired by an email from Marv Elsberry reminding readers not to forget these famous flyers of WW II. To send a message to Japan and to boost American morale after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, in April of 1942 sixteen B-25s, each with a five member crew, took off from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo and five Japanese industrial centers: What was the name given to these eighty WWII heroes? And for bonus points, what was the name of the 1944 Hollywood movie based on the raid? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send your answers with a picture of the B-25 nicknamed “The Ruptured Duck”.

 Well, it has been another week feeling good until I don’t. Until we meet again, as Paul Newman once said “It is useless to put on your brakes when you’re upside down”.

 “In retrospect it becomes clear that hindsight is definitely overrated!” Alfred E Neuman

Aging Well March 4th 2014

Life can be broadly defined by three stages: the years preparing for work and family – when you were told what you had to do, followed by years of working and raising a family – when you did what you thought you should do.

And now this third chapter when you are no longer working, or at least working less, and watching your grandchildren grow – a time to do what you have always wanted to do, no longer constrain by time or self-imposed limitations. You can now discover or rediscover your passions and interests while reevaluating what you are currently doing to see if it is time to let go of old habits and thought patterns, so you can take advantage of the many opportunities around you to pursue your “want tos”. And don’t worry if your “want tos” seem immature or irrational. This is the time in your life to follow the adage “Dance first and think later”.

There are many folks who have taken that leap: pursuing an interest in drawing or painting through Debra Jones’ creative arts classes at the Center or classes at The Dalles Art Center; or learning more about their family history through the Columbia Gorge Genealogy Society, or purchasing a ukulele at Columbia River Music and learning to play.

But we know it isn’t always going to be easy. As we have more time to spare, we seem to have less energy; and with fewer responsibilities, there are often fewer goals and dreams to challenge us. And I won’t mention the difficulties living on a modest income that gets more modest every year. It takes guts to age successfully; to take responsibility for your life and not just let life happen; to finally pursue what you have always wanted to do. But as long as you have the energy and the courage, there is still much to accomplish in the years ahead.

My apologies to all the Saturday Night Bingo players. We cancelled Bingo thinking the snow and possible freezing rain was going to come sooner than later. But I don’t suspect there will be any more winter weather advisories, so we should be good for the rest of the year. And as a reminder, because of the fantastic volunteers, every penny from Thursday and Saturday Night Bingo goes to either the players or the operation of Meals-on-Wheels on Thursday night or the Center on Saturday night. And although there may not be the large pay outs as some of the big city bingo halls, over $1000 is paid out each night – and that’s no small potatoes.

The turnout for the Nehemiah Brown Concert last Friday night at the Center was even larger than last year with over 70 people in attendance. A big thank-you goes to Danette Utley from Flagstone who was responsible for bringing Nehemiah to The Dalles. And you might want to write down May 23rd on your Passport to Happiness Calendar– Nehemiah’s next performance at the Center.

There is always music at the Center from 7:00 – 9:00 PM on Tuesday nights. And next Tuesday on the 11th, Martin and Friends will be playing their country best. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated. 

Many people, including myself, remember seeing news clips of Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on his desk at the United Nations General Assembly. But it may be another example of how our minds can create their own memories, because even though everyone agrees he banged his fist, there is no recorded video or pictures of him banging a shoe. (And by the way, the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on March 15th is Bob Thouvenel.)

Before there were the Simpsons, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show and the Onion, there was a magazine, first published as a comic book in 1952, that satirized all aspects of American society from the media and big business to hippies and the Vietnam War. For this week’s “Remember When” questions what was the name of the magazine and the name of the boy with the gap-toothed smile often found on the cover? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send in a vanilla envelope the first edition of the comic book Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad.

Well, it has been another week learning that problems never cease, they just change. Until we meet again, tell me I’m not the only one who when learning of the symptoms for a serious illness, imagines having each one of them.

“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.” Anonymous