Aging Well November 25th 2014

With Thanksgiving becoming another shopping holiday: Black Friday morphing into Black Thursday, I have begun to appreciate the perspective that comes from having lived these many years. I no longer feel I need to participate in the mad rush of finding the best deals of the pre-pre-holiday sales – although I really could use some tube socks! Instead I have found the tide has shifted and instead of wanting more stuff, I’m trying to give away what I don’t need – and there is plenty of it.
I have also learned to appreciate all of life’s little things: those special nights when I don’t have to get up at 3:00 in the morning, or when that I was wearing a long sweater when I forgot to “zip up”. I’m thankful my best friend, who can be real difficult at times, hasn’t divorced me yet. And I am particularly grateful to be alive and kicking providing so many opportunities to laugh at my own imperfections.
When I take the time to appreciate and savor every moment of each day, knowing that in a flash my life could turn upside down, I have found I don’t really need anymore “things”. As long as I have friends and family, a roof over my head and food in the cupboard, I’m doing just fine. I hope you have found all you really need and I wish you a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving.
During the winter months of early sunsets and cold temperatures, the Center is adjusting the winter hours for Saturday Night Bingo. Beginning December 6thSaturday Night Bingo will start two hours earlier at 4:00 PM and the doors will open at 2:00 for the early birds. The Thursday Night Bingo will continue at their regular time of 6:00 PM.
Most of you should have received a mailing asking you to become a member of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center. Now I know many of you may have been “confused” by such a request because, to paraphrase Bernard Baruch, you are at least fifteen years from being “old”. But while you may not be “old”, and even though you haven’t been “new” for some time, we still would like you to become a member. By joining the Center you are contributing to the health of the whole community, because while the center’s focus is supporting older adults, the Center is really a community center – open five and often six days a week. There are no age restrictions for any of the activities including the medical equipment loan closet, AARP Tax Aide, Tuesday Night Music, Bingo or any of the classes. So whether you are old, new or someplace in between, please consider becoming a member today.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, don’t forget the Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Christmas Bazaar on December 6th from 10:00 – 2:00 PM in the basement of the United Church of Christ Congregational Church. There will be local craft vendors, but even better, there will be delicious baked-goods for sale and their world famous homemade soup lunch.
For the Center’s Tuesday Night music on December 2nd, Andre, K.C. and Tom will be performing. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciate to feed the band and keep the heat on.
Many folks had fond memories of the Dobre Deli – the delicatessen that opened in 1977 and was located on 4th street between the CAP Office and the Williams Building. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on December 20th is Virgil Choate who remembers it was also common meeting place for The Dalles Windbaggers in their bright yellow sports jackets.)
The inspiration for this week’s “Remember When” question, came from a friend of mine who named her new pup after this actress, comedienne and musical performer. Who starred in several movie musicals including Nellie in South Pacific as well as starred in several of her own television specials in the 60’s and 70’s?  E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail with the lyrics to “I’m’ Going to Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”.
Well, it’s been another week, thankful that the rain was not snow. Until we meet again, as overheard at the Center, “There is no shame in being old, but it can be a real bother”.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

Aging Well November 18th 2014

I certainly expect snow and below freezing temperatures in The Dalles, but this latest wintry blast came so early, I kept thinking Christmas must be only a two weeks away. And I haven’t even stuffed the Turkey for Thanksgiving yet! Oh, well.
But now that we have had this first taste of winter, here are several reminders about how to manage two of winter’s challenges.
Inside – keep warm. You don’t have to be climbing Mt. Hood to get hypothermia particularly if have a health problem that keeps your blood from flowing normally such as diabetes. Set your heat at 68 degrees or higher; and to save on heating bills, close off the rooms you are not using. Dress in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothes for warmth. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear socks and slippers and even a cap or hat. Although it might not be very sexy, but who’s really looking, wear long johns under your pajamas; and use extra covers.
Outside – watch the ice. More than 1.6 million older Americans go to the emergency room each year for fall-related injuries. You can reduce your chances of falling by wearing sensible footwear with low heels, good support and non-skid soles. (I know several friends who have purchased ice-grippers to attach to their shoes.)  Stick to cleared sidewalks and roads. Hold on to handrails on stairs – which is a good idea any time. And use a cane or walker, or your walking stick or even a ski pole, if necessary to help maintain balance.
And stay connected with others. Check up on your friends and neighbors and have them check up on you. Be vigilant during these cold and icy wintry days to avoid any unwanted surprises. And if you need assistance, don’t be too proud to ask.
When to close the Center because of the weather is a difficult decision. But the Center has decided to pass the buck and follow the lead of School District 21. If the school district is closed, the Center will be closed; and if there is a two hour delay, the Center’s morning classes will be cancelled. The Center will notify the radio stations of any closures or cancellations, post the information on the Center’s website (, and update the message on the Center’s answering machine.  
And occasionally the predictions will be wrong, The Portland School District was an example last week when they closed for a snow day and, contrary to the weather forecast, it didn’t snow! It can be a little embarrassing, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
If you don’t seize up at the thought of preparing income taxes, enjoy fiddling with numbers, and decoding things like tax rules…this volunteer opportunity might be for you! The AARP Tax Aide program, a collaboration between AARP, The Mid-Columbia Community Action Program and the Center, is in need of volunteers. For over 35 years in the Gorge, the AARP Tax-Aide program has been operating with volunteers to prepare taxes for older adults and low-to-moderate income persons, free of charge. To be a volunteer, there is some required training and a minimum of four hours per week is requested. But there is tremendous support – no one is expected to know it all. If you’re interested, call Ronell Currie at 541-478-3461.
For the Tuesday Night music at the Center on November 25th, the Highline Express will be performing. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.
The name of the television variety show that aired on CBS from 1969–1971, co-hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark, and featured such colorful characters as Grandpa Jones, Stringbean, the Gossip Girls and Samuel B. Sternwheeler was Hee-Haw. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on December 20th is Alice Mattox.)
But it’s back to The Dalles for this week’s “Remember When” question – this time from 34 years ago. What was the name of the delicatessen which opened in 1977 in the commercial building on the corner of 4th and Washington, and because of its location, was a popular hangout for students and staff from Treat Oak Community College and attorneys plying their trade at the courthouse? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a box of pastries from Zorba the Buddha Bakery.
Well, it’s been another week, trying not to babble more than my fair share. Until we meet again, keep the long johns on and the covers pulled up tight.
“You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” Woody Allen

Aging Well November 11th 2014

I have come to realize that it isn’t my memory I should be worrying about. I haven’t forgotten my social security number or the combination to my locker. I still know where I live. And give me five minutes and ten deep breathes and I can remember most anyone’s name.

But now I find myself more easily distracted. I can be walking to another room to find a book and along the way I see the cat throwing up (which is pretty disgusting) and I forget what I was looking for. And when I’m distracted and not paying attention, who knows what I‘m doing. I use to be able to put the cheese away in the refrigerator while discussing some important topic with my wife – no problem. But now I find the cheese in the freezer! And I’m wondering how it got there.

But apparently, I am not the only one. Research has shown that as we get older, starting as early as thirty, we are more easily distracted. That’s one reason why for most of us, it becomes more difficult to drive on busy and unfamiliar streets with all the new distracting sights and sounds.

So I am continually learning to slow down and pay attention. That way I can both appreciate the moment – and avoid any more embarrassing situations. Now if I can just find my pen.

The craft fairs and bazaars have begun. And the granddaddy of them all, the St. Peter’s Holiday Bazaar, will be held on November 22ndfrom 9:00 – 4:00 at the St. Mary’s Academy. And on the same day, the Center will be holding its first winter bazaar from 9:00 – 3:00. Call the Center to rent a table and if you are a Center member a table is free. So whether after or before the St. Peter’s Holiday Bazaar, stop by the Center to start you holiday shopping.

After Thanksgiving, on December 6th, Habitat for Humanity will be holding their Annual Christmas Bazaar (with their famous selection of delicious soups), downstairs at the United Congregational Church from 10:00 – 2:00 PM. And if you are interested in displaying your crafts and wares, call Becky Bailey at 541-980-9015.

On Tuesday the 18th, Truman will be playing his Country Gold at the Center from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.

Because of the Zumba Gold Class downstairs and the AARP Smart Driver class upstairs, there will not be a lecture next Tuesday. (And although the November Smart Driver class is full, there is still room in the December class which will be the last class Dennis Davis teaches. After seven years he’s  looking for another itch to scratch.)

Back by popular demand, Mosier Voices from the Past will be performed at the Mosier School on November 15. You will see eight direct descendants become their ancestors telling stories from the early days of Mosier. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $20 for VIP Seats which includes a drink at the Rack & Cloth. The show starts at 7:00, but make sure you arrive early because the doors will be closed at 7:00 for filming. Find more information at

It was Senator Wayne Morse who served as a U.S. Senator from Oregon for 24 years during which time he was a Republican (1944 – 1952), Independent (1952 – 1955) and Democrat (1955 – 1968). (And for pointing out correctly that Senator Morse served only 24 years, Bill Van Nice is the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on December 20th.)

I would ask another “Remember When” question about The Dalles but having moved here in 1979, I’m still just a newcomer. But if you have any memories of The Dalles in the 60’s and 70’s that I could use, send them my way.

But for this week, what was the name of the television variety show aired on CBS-TV from 1969–1971 (before going into syndication) and featured country music and humor from the fictional rural Kornfield Kounty? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a greasy hamburger from Lulu’s Truck Stop.

Well, it’s been another week, waiting to see what surprises the cold weather brings. Until we meet again, it’s been said “Sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station”.

“A lot of people resist transition and therefore never allow themselves to enjoy who they are. Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.”  Nikki Giovanni

Aging Well November 4th 2014

You receive a call from your grandson. He is in trouble in a foreign country and he needs your help, now! He sounds desperate and you want to help, so you send him a Western Union money order. And you never hear from him again or see your money.
You have probably heard of this scam known as the “Grandparent Scam”. It has been around for years and is just one variation of the imposter scams that deceive thousands of folks every year. And as I learned from The Dalles Police Chief Jay Waterbury, who just last Friday received a call from a person who had lost $1500 from such a scam, it can happen in The Dalles.
But there are several things you should do if you ever receive such a call.
Don’t unknowing provided important information by the way you answer the call. For example, if the caller states, “It’s your granddaughter.” Don’t reveal your granddaughter’s name. Reply by asking which one and most likely they will then hang up.
Always be skeptical. Ask questions only the grandchild would know. Get in touch with your grandchild or check with family members to confirm their location. Do whatever you can to confirm the information you were told.
Never send money unless you have verified that your relative is really in trouble. If a caller asks for your bank account number or urges you to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram there is an excellent chance the call is a scam.
And if you use Facebook, keep it private by updating your privacy settings. Scammers often make their stories more believable by searching for personal information on Facebook,
Unfortunately if you are a victim of such a scam, as Jay Waterbury can tell you, there is very little the local law enforcement agencies can do. Even so you should immediately report such incidents to local law enforcement agencies and the state Attorney General’s Office.
Meals-on-Wheels will be closed on Monday instead of the 11th so their dedicated staff can have a day off. And on Veterans Day, in honor of the Veterans who served our country, dinner will be free for everyone sixty and over. Dinner will be served at noon and will include turkey and dressing, green bean casserole, buttered roll, carrot salad and pumpkin pie.
If you agree with the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who wrote “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” you will want to make sure your next Tuesday is not lost by dancing to the music of Martin and Friends at the Center from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.  Everyone is welcome and donations are appreciated.
And one last reminder for NW vocalist Nehemiah Brown’s last 2014 performance at the Center on Friday night November 7th. Thanks to the sponsorship by Flagstone Senior Living the cost is still only $3.00 per person. Music starts at 7:00 and ends by 9:00.
At the Tuesday Lecture on the 11th, you will have a chance to take an eighteen minute trip through the history of the universe – all 13.8 billion years! I will be showing a fascinating video presentation by David Christian called “Big History” which “examines our past, explains our present, and imagines our future”.

I found conflicting answers as to the coldest year and month in The Dalles, although every source agreed that 1949-1950 was a very cold winter. But Jerry Phillips remembers January, 1950 when it reached a -25 in The Dalles. He told me the Columbia was so frozen that the ferry couldn’t operate (which made a long trip to Dallesport), a sternwheeler was frozen in a canal; and when the ice did finally break up it was like icebergs flowing down the Columbia. (And for such a good memory, Jerry is the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on December 20th.)
Since today is Election Day, this week’s “Remember When” is about Oregon politics. Who served as a U.S. Senator from Oregon for 30 years during which time he was a Republican, Independent and Democrat and whose motto was “principles above politics”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution.
Well, it’s been another week trying to keep all my marbles which seems more difficult every day. Until we meet again, and after finishing yet another bitter election season, it might be timely to remember “Everyone has a piece of the truth”.

“Maybe it’s true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.” Phyllis Diller