Aging Well July 29th 2014

When you listen to an old favorite song, smell a certain perfume or browse through a picture album, does it often trigger images and emotions long forgotten? This nostalgia, emotions caused by remembering something from the past, has been described by Angela Carter as the vice of the aged. “We watch so many old movies our memories come in monochrome”. And John Thorn uses the Greek description to define nostalgia as the pain of not being able to return to one’s home and family. 
 Nostalgia is often considered detrimental to your emotional well-being. If you are constantly comparing your current situation to the past and wishing you could return to the “good old days”, it can create a sense of loss, isolation and a corresponding disconnect from the present. 
 But according to the 2013 New York Times article written by John Tierney “What is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit Research Shows”, nostalgia has more positive benefits than the negative effects associated with nostalgia. It can provide psychological comfort and support, counteracting feelings of boredom, loneliness and anxiety. It can raise self-esteem, increase optimism, and bring couples closer together when sharing common nostalgic experiences. And it can bring back memories that remind us that our lives do have meaning. 
 We can’t go back – time moves in only one direction; and we shouldn’t live in the past. But there are benefits from looking back; recalling the many fond and often funny memories: listening to the Indianapolis 500 in the backyard with all the aunts and uncles; watching my sister knock over the waste basket in study hall; and driving home my high school dates in my grandmother’s ’63 Buick Skylark convertible with bucket seats (and boy was that uncomfortable!). Cherish the memories, but don’t get stuck. The comforting memories of the “good old days” can provide the confidence and strength to look forward to new adventures – and future memories. 
 I just learned from Dick Frost, coordinator of the AARP Smart Driver classes in the Mid-Columbia area, that our own Smart Driver instructor, Dennis Davis, was the highest rated instructor in the State of Oregon which is pretty darn good. If you want to take the AARP Smart Driver class from the best instructor in Oregon, your next chance is from 9:00 – 12:00 on August 18th and 19th (every third Monday and Tuesday of most every month). Sign up by calling the Center at 541-296-4788. 
 Meals-on-Wheels has scheduled another big Bingo Bash on Thursday, August 7th starting at 6:00 PM (If you are a newbie to Bingo you may want to arrive at least by 5:30 to get settled in.) There will be a guaranteed $1000 pay out on the last game plus other big prizes. And think of the odds. Even if there is a large crowd of 100 people, your odds of winning $1000 are still one-in-a-hundred – which doesn’t count your chances of winning the other cash prizes. And if you can’t make in on the 7th, there is always Bingo at the Center every Thursday and Saturday nights. 
 It’s been a while since I have tried to agitate your little grey cells. So here is the Center’s music announcement for next week in the manner of Elvis Presley – “All Shook Up”. 
 “The Sawrtebyrr Monuitan Badn” will be plaingy teihr good tiem cnoutry mcsiu at teh Cernet on Tusdyea, Agusut 5th. Doros opne at 6:00 and mcusi strast at 7:00. Evreyoen is wleeocm inildgcun the odl, hte yogun and the restlses. Adn doantions aer apperaicted.
 The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Henry Mancini – the composer, conductor and arranger best remembered for composing many popular film and television scores. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Bill Van Nice who also identified from last week’s hints three songs Henry Mancini wrote: Pink Panther – the colorful cat, Moon River – the body of water and Peter Gunn – the firearm.) 
 For this week, hoping to activate some nostalgic memories, let’s take this thread a little further. Henry Mancini wrote Moon River for the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In that movie what British actress and academy award winner played the character of the naïve and eccentric Holly Golightly? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with two round-trip tickets for a holiday in Rome. 
 Well, it’s been another week trying to keep everything straight and narrow. Until we meet again, don’t let your needle get stuck on the same old song. 

 “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” Lily Tomlin

Aging Well July 22nd 2014

Do we always have to act our age? Do we really have to stop dressing up for Halloween, or drawing with watercolors and crayons? Or telling corny jokes we have all heard several times before (but I still find amusing)? But if you are 92, should you really climb under the house when your wife is afraid she will have to call 911 to pull you out? (I don’t think you really want to be the opening segment on the Channel 6 news: “Stubborn Geezer in over his head”.)
But it is difficult realizing there are some things you really shouldn’t be doing anymore. (Although I don’t have any qualms about no longer climbing ladders. I never did like climbing higher than I could reach,) Because for me, if I stop doing something, whether it is a job, working under the sink, swimming laps or even something I don’t really enjoy such as changing a tire, I feel as if I’m “giving up”; accepting the gradual loss of ability, of purpose which I fear will continue downward to an eventuality I don’t want to think about.
But I have to tell myself that is not really “giving up”. “Giving up” is being unrealistic about what you should still be doing, and blind to the changes that have taken place in mind and body. “Giving up” is worrying about the doors that have closed, instead of opening your eyes to the new doors leading to more adventures and possibilities. 
And I admit, I know will not always make the wise choices as I struggle to keep some of the doors from closing. I just hope I don’t find myself on the evening news!
With the help of Ginny McNary, the Center has scheduled four trips for this summer. The first trip is to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton on July 29th which costs $35.00 and includes transportation and admittance to the garden. The next trip is on August 12th to Cascade Locks for a 1-hour cruise on the Sternwheeler, followed by a no host lunch at the Charburger, and a trip over to Stevenson to visit the Interpretive Center. That trip costs $50.00 for the transportation, the cruise and admittance to the Interpretive Center. And the final two destinations are Portland on August 26th for a two hour Portland Spirit cruise with lunch for $60; and the Warm Springs Museum on September 22ndfor $30. All the trips are on Tuesdays and transportation is provided by Sherman County Transit. There is only room for 20 for each trip and we are now accepting payment to hold your spot on the bus. For the Oregon Gardens we already have ten spaces filled.

Thanks to the generosity of Flagstone Senior Living and the Mid-Columbia Area Agency on Aging, there will once again be a “Senior Picnic in the Park” at the Wasco County Fair on Thursday, August 14 (Free Admittance Day sponsored by Mel’s Sanitation) beginning at 
11: 30. And you can let LINK do the driving! The bus will leave the Center at 10:00 and start the trip back after the picnic around 1:00 PM. The cost is $3.00 each way and the seating is limited to only 14 plus two wheelchairs. Call the Center to reserve your place.
“The Dufur Boys” will be playing their crowd pleasing country music at the Center on Tuesday, July 8th. Doors open at 6:00 and music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.         
The name of the popular series of children books that included Pokey Little Puppy and was first published in 1942 selling for twenty five cents is the Little Golden Book series.  (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast is Bette Nelson.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is back to the category of music but not the rock and roll variety. Born in 1924 this American composer, conductor and arranger, is best remembered for his film and television scores and is often cited as one of the greatest composers in the history of film. Who wrote the themes for movies and television featuring a colorful cat, body of water and a firearm?E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a case of Oh Henry! candy bars.

Well, it’s been another week – what more can I say. Until we meet again, as Dave Lutgens once told me “Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”

 “I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party.” Ron White

Aging Well July 15th 2014

Is it hot enough? Hopefully, by the time you read this, the heat advisory will have expired. Fortunately, today we are better equipped to handle the excessive heat with window air conditioners and central air. But back in1967, only 10% of American homes were air conditioned, so most of us can remember the hot, sticky days and nights of summer. We may not have liked it, but we found ways to stay cool and lived to tell about it.  
During the hot and humid summers in Indianapolis, my dad would try to make it at least bearable, by using a dehumidifier in the basement and also installing a fan in the opening to the attic to pull hot air out of the house at night. But all too often that wasn’t enough. And many nights I would sleep without covers, spreadeagle, with a cold wet towel under my neck.  I’m sure many of you have stories of how you stayed cool during the summer. If you do, email them to me at
But if you haven’t noticed, our bodies can’t jump as high, run as fast or bear the heat as well as we once did. So during these hot days, it makes good sense to heed the advice of the North Central Public Health District.
You should drink plenty of liquids, enough to have to urinate every four hours. (I wish I could last four hours!) But avoid caffeine or sugary drinks. Wear lose clothing and stay out of the heat as much as possible – which is a given for most of us. And if you need a place to stay cool, the Center is open until 5:00 every weekday and open for various activities from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM except Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights.
But most importantly, keep an eye on your neighbors – making sure they are able to handle the heat. Heat is the number one weather related killer causing more deaths than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightening and floods combined. It should be taken seriously.
Kristy Beachamp, manager of Wasco County Emergency Management, stopped by the Center to register folks for the Citizen Alert Notification system. When you are enrolled in the system, you will be contacted by phone, email or text, in case of imminent or potential threats to life or property including floods, wildfires, and natural gas leaks. You can also sign up for additional notifications such as public health advisories and law enforcement alerts. Sign-up by going to the Wasco County website. Or if you don’t have a computer or need assistance, we can help you at the Center.
The Center is hosting the annual Cowboy Breakfast from 7:30 – 9:30 on Saturday July 19th, sponsored by Flagstone Senior Living. The menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and coffee or juice. It’s still only $5.00, $4.00 for members and $3.00 for children 12 and under. And as an added bonus, members of the Mid-Columbia Car Club have been invited to bring their classic cars to show. You will be able to see all the classic autos during the Neon Cruise through downtown The Dalles on Friday night, August 8thand the Cruise the Gorge “Show in the Shade” up at Sorosis Park on the 9th.
Truman will be playing his “Country Gold” at the Center on Tuesday, July 22nd. Doors open at 6:00 and music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
The cheerful but dim-witted, Canadian Mountie who was always rescuing the object of his affections, Neil Fenwick, is Dudley Do-Right. (And the winner of a free Cowboy Breakfast on July 19th is Bill and Darlene Marick.)
When I was browsing through Klindts (which has all kinds of fun stuff besides a great assortment of books) I came across a book of all the things you need to know based on a popular series of children books first published in 1942. These books sold for twenty five cents and included “Pokey Little Puppy” and “The Little Red Hen”. What is the name of this series of “sturdy little books with the shiny cardboard covers and gold foil spines”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with the gown created in 2010 made of hundreds of discarded and recycled books from this series.
Well, it’s been another week closed up in my bedroom with the air conditioner on. Until we meet again, as Steven Wright asked, “If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?

“I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” – Albert Einstein

Aging Well July 8th 2014

The weather is warmer, okay maybe a little too warm; you see folks of all ages out walking, and you’ve heard from your friends about different exercise classes. (And how many times have you been told physical activity is good for both your heart and brain!) And now, even though you were never that “athletic”, you’ve decided it’s not too late to begin some kind of physical activity. Where do you start?

You may be the type that can just go out and “Do It”, but for most people setting goals is one of most effective tools to get started and stay motivated. Here is a quick “two minute drill” version for setting goals.

The first step is to know what you want. Why is it you want to be physically active? To prevent falls? To walk through an airport without assistance? To be able to bounce your great grandchild on your knee?

Then decide what exercise goals will achieve what you want – something you can and want to do. Many of us have a condition that makes it difficult to keep moving: arthritis, respiratory problems or weight issues. But there is always some activity you can do. And talk to your medical provider for suggestions if you need help determining what will work for you.

Be specific – include the when’s, where’s and how’s. I will walk around the block every other morning at 7:00 for 30 minutes. Or I will spend the first 15 minutes of every day completing seven stretching exercises and practicing deep breathing techniques. 
By starting a regular exercise plan, you won’t get any younger, but you can increase your endurance, become stronger and more flexible; and generally feel better. You can find several more tips about staying active as well as a delicious and timely recipe for a Cherry Salad in your Passport to Happiness Calendar for the month of July.

I hope everyone had a good viewing spot for the spectacular The Dalles Fourth fireworks display. It was the first time in twenty plus years, I actually saw a staged fireworks display other than on television. And what a difference it makes. Watching from my front porch on east 7th street, there were several times my head instinctively move backward afraid the expanding embers of light were going to reach the front porch. With the fourth on a Saturday next year, I am hoping to stay up way past my bed time again for anther spectacular fireworks display.

If you are a member of the Center, (and it is still not too late to join) you should be receiving in the mail an invitation to the Center’s Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday July 15th. The meeting will start at 3:00 and conclude by 4:30 when there will be a free dinner of pulled pork sandwiches and all the fixin’s provided by Chris Zukin and the Center’s Board of Directors to show our appreciation to the Center’s many members and volunteers.
I’ve been reading more about the benefits of meditation, and on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, you can learn more about Mindfulness Meditation from 7:00-8:30 PM at Water’s Edge. In this class you will learn the history and benefits of meditation, plus several simple relaxation techniques you can use to incorporate in your daily routine. Register by calling 541-296-7319.

“For the Good Times” will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure at the Center on Tuesday, July 15th. Doors open at 6:00 and music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

It was Slammin’ Sam Snead who was considered the best golfer of the 1950’s and who in 1997, at age 85, shot a round of 78 at the Greenbrier golf course in West Virginia. (And the winner of a free Cowboy Breakfast on July 19th is Sandra Fritz.)

But this week’s “Remember When” question is about a hero in a 1960’s animated television series. Featured on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, who was the cheerful but also dim-witted, Canadian Mountie who was always trying to catch his nemesis Snidely Whiplash, with the help of his horse named “Horse”. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with an original copy of this Canadian Mounties own “How to Do Right Book of Manners”.

Well, it’s been another week trying to be cool on another hot summer day. Until we meet again, don’t let the little things block you path to having an incredible day.

“This is a youth-oriented society, and the joke is on them because youth is a disease from which we all recover.” – Dorothy Fuldheim

Aging Well July 2nd 2014

Do you enjoy visiting new destinations: museums, historical sites and scenic vistas that offer new perspectives? Or maybe you just want to revisit familiar places you haven’t seen for a while. But you find it difficult because you no longer appreciate the unexpected surprises driving through unfamiliar city neighborhoods or on congested, bumper-to-bumper highways.

If you are interested in visiting new or familiar sites while letting someone else do the driving, the Center’s Travel Club is scheduling several trips for this summer and fall. But they want to know what trips folks are interested in. They are considering trips to the Oregon Gardens in Silverton, a cruise and lunch on the Portland Spirit, a cruise on the Sternwheeler combined with a visit to the Interpretive Center in Stevenson, and a tour of the Warm Springs Museum. The estimated cost of each trip is between $40 and $60 which includes transportation, and will take place on Tuesdays or Fridays. If you are interested in any of these trips, call, email or drop by the Center to complete an interest form and you will be the first to know when the trips are scheduled.

 And as a once-in-a-while reminder, particularly now that the weather is more accommodating in Portland, (how many times have I left a sunny and warm The Dalles, forgetting that further west, I would need a jacket and an umbrella), the LINK offers trips into Portland every Tuesday and Thursday, except for major holidays, for $8.00 each way. It is first come, first served, so there are no reservations. You do have to get up early as the bus leaves The Dalles at 7:30 AM, but returns by 5:10. Stops include Gateway Max Station, the Portland Art Museum, OHSU, and Clackamas Town Center. For the most current information, call LINK at 541-296-7595.

And this summer at the Portland Art Museum, you can view an international exhibition showing the art, design, and evolution of Paris’ most famous garden: the Tuileries Garden. Admission for adults over 55 is $17. And if your art interests are more local, The Dalles Art Center’s July Show features the work of 2D artist, Dennis McGregor, and 3D artist, Kris Joy. The opening reception, which gives you an opportunity to meet the artists, will be held this Thursday, July 3rd, from 5-7 p.m.

 The Center will be closed on the fourth, but thanks to the generous support of businesses and individuals, you can enjoy all the 4th of July activities at the Lewis and Clark Festival Park; as well as the 10:00 parade and the KODL Home Town Hero Chicken BBQ from 11:00 – 2:00 between 1st and 2nd on Federal Street. And the day ends with a big exclamation point: one of the best fireworks shows in the Northwest!

Martin and Friends will be playing their crowd pleasing country music at the Center on Tuesday, July 8th. Doors open at 6:00 and music starts at 7:00. All ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

Soon the heat will drop by like an uninvited guest on a Friday night. And during those warm Thursday and Saturday evenings, you can play Bingo at the Center where it is cool and comfortable. Games start at 6:00 PM, the minimum buy-in is $10 and an average of over $1000 is paid out each night. For just a little more than the cost of a movie ticket, you can help support Meals-on-Wheels on Thursdays, the Center on Saturdays; and have a chance to take home some spare cash for that special occasion. (But there will not be Bingo on July 3rd.)

The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is Casey Stengel, the coach of the New York Yankees from 1949 until 1960 during which time he won seven world series including an amazing five straight from 1949 – 1953. (And the winners of a Cowboy breakfast on July 19th are Bob Brockman and Virgil Choate.)

Let’s stick with sports for another week, but try another game where you need to hit the long ball. Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player were the top golfers of the sixties. But who was considered the best golfer in the fifties, winning 82 PGA tour events during his career including being the first player to win PGA Tour titles in four different decades, although he never won the US Open? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail your answer written inside a straw hat.

Well, it’s been another week swinging, but seldom connecting. Until we meet again, keep your eye on the ball and aim for the fences.

“Never make predictions, especially about the future.” Casey Stengel