This is the seventh year I have had the opportunity to wish all of you a Happy New Year. When I started writing this column, I had no idea what the next eight years would bring, but over those years attending state and national conferences, listening to the Center’s Tuesday lectures, preparing for this column, and particularly listening to the amazing “elders” at the Center, I have learned more than I ever could have imagined. Yet, I still feel like a rookie, knowing there is much more to learn about how to live gracefully with courage, compassion and understanding.

But I am often reminded that this journey is not about getting older or even about living longer. It is about taking care of ourselves so we can live the rest of our lives to their fullest. To welcome in the new year, here are a few insights I have discovered over the last eight years that guide me in my continuing life’s journey, so I can try to fulfill the familiar adage, “It is not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years.”
1. What is good for your heart is good for your brain.
2. Learn something new without worrying how good you’ll be.
3. First steps to improve your memory: focus and pay attention.
4. Most things don’t really matter, but a few really do.
5. The goal is not to get faster, but to keep from slowing down.
6. Getting older beats the alternative, but it is hard work.
 7. Accept what you can’t control – and then adapt.
8. Live in the now.
9. Know what you want and let others know – particularly your adult children.
10. Dream as if you will live forever and live as if you will die tomorrow.
11. Age is in your attitude.
12. Avoid the five S’s: Sugar, Salt, Seconds, Soda and Shortening.
13. Add color to your meals i.e. eat vegetables!
14. Isolation kills. Stay connected.
15. Keep moving – at least 30 minutes a day.
16. Breathe from your belly.
17. See the world with virgin eyes and you’ll find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
18. Relationships are more important than things (although I do have an unhealthy relationship with my iPhone).
 19. Grey hair is cool.
 20. And as Carl Kramer once said, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out and before you know it, you are 100 years old.

Meals-on Wheels and the Center will be breaking with tradition and will be open on New Year’s Day but closed on the 2nd. And since Thursday is Meals-on-Wheels’ Bingo night, they are going to celebrate the first day of the year with another Bingo Bash. There will be great prizes – plus you can enjoy a free Hot Turkey Sandwich dinner starting at 5:00.

 Last week were you able to identify the three missing consonants? They were m, p and r. To finish out the year, see if you can identify the three consonants I have removed this week.

or te irt Tueday Nigh Muic and Dance o 2015, Andre, K.C. and Tom, and woever ele tey can pick up along te way, will be playing there entertaining brand of county muic on January 6th tarting at 7:00 PM. Everyone I invited rom grandkid to grandms and grandpa. Donation or the band and the Center are always appreciated.

 The name of the popular toy that could travel down a flight of stairs, end over end and stop upright was the Slinky. (And the winner of a Saturday breakfast in April is Dayle Nagle.)

 At the end of every year, we are inundated with the top ten lists: best movies, best albums, best books, best dressed, best undressed and more. And although I was more interested in sports (Johnny Unitas and Oscar Robertson) than reading, the more literate readers of this column may know this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the name of the critically acclaimed Cold War spy novel, which during 1964 was at the top of the New York Times’ best seller list for 34 weeks? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with the identity of Control, the head of Circus.

Well, it’s been another week, as I look forward to seeing what surprises come my way. Until we meet again, an Irish toast to the new year, “May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten”.

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” Hal Borland

Aging Well December 23rd 2014

Now that the children have grown and left the stable, Christmas is much quieter. I no longer have to worry about buying the Christmas tree that will leave pine needles sprinkled like fairy dust along its path to the living room – the artificial tree works just fine. Or worry about the right presents to buy – cash seems to be the preference. The only worries this year are what to pack and how soon to leave for the airport. Because even though my wife has told me a winter vacation in Arizona would be cheating (you have to suffer through the winter), it is okay to spend four days in sunny San Diego visiting our children. I’m just thankful they aren’t going to school in Buffalo.

Since there isn’t much to announce, now that Christmas has almost arrived, and a good joke is a gift that can keep on giving, I want to share this one sent to me by Virgil Choate. While so many jokes about “old” folks are stereotypical about the conditions many of us experience: loss of hearing, frailty, and something else I can’t remember, this one points out why you don’t want to mess with us “old” folks with our years of life experiences. You may have heard it before, but it is worth enjoying again.
A lawyer and a senior are sitting next to each other on a long flight. The lawyer is thinking that seniors are so dumb that he could get one over on them easily. So, the lawyer asks if the senior would like to play a fun game.
The senior is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists, saying that the game is a lot of fun.
“I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me only $5.00. Then, you ask me one, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $500.00,” he says.
This catches the senior’s attention and, to keep the lawyer quiet, he agrees to play the game with him.
The lawyer asks the first question. “What’s the distance from the Earth to the Moon?”
“The senior doesn’t say a word, but reaches into his pocket, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer.
Now, it’s the senior’s turn. He asks the lawyer, “What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?”
The lawyer uses his laptop to search all references and he can’t find it on the Internet.
He sends E-mails to all the smart friends he knows; and all to no avail. After an hour of searching, he finally gives up.
He wakes the senior and hands him $500.00. The senior pockets the $500.00 and goes right back to sleep. The lawyer is going nuts now, not knowing the answer.
He wakes the senior up again and asks, “Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four??”
The senior reaches into his pocket, hands the lawyer $5.00, and goes back to sleep. 
Were you able to identify the three missing consonants in last week’s Tuesday Night music announcement? They were the first three consonants of the alphabet. But this week, I am upping the ante and removing three random consonants. Can you identify them?
Duing the holidays any activities at the Cente have been cancelled but not Tuesday Night usic, because soe folks just gotta dance. On Tuesday Decebe 30th, the Dufu Boys will be laying fro 7:00 – 9:00 .The doos oen at 6:00 and donations ae always aeciated.
The powdered drink that become popular when it was used by John Glenn in the early manned space flights was TANG. (And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast in April is Virginia McClain.)

This week’s “Remember When” question is about a toy most all of us who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s played with. What was the name of the popular toy, invented in 1943, that can travel down a flight of stairs, end over end and land upright? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a 1999 postage stamp that honored this toy.

Well, it’s been another week, remembering to count my blessings before I go to sleep. Until we meet again, may all of you have a safe and joyous Christmas when we celebrate peace on earth and goodwill towards all people.

“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou

aging Well December 16th 2014

I’m not fond of these winter doldrums in The Dalles: grey overcast skies with a few days of sunshine, just to tease us that better days are ahead. And although I may not like them, I find these gloomy days are necessary, because without them I wouldn’t really appreciate the warm t-shirt days with blue skies. And isn’t that the way it is in our daily lives? All the challenges and difficulties, the missteps and losses, remind us not to take for granted the simple joys and comforts we can experience every precious day.
I’ve mentioned it once already, but in case you didn’t write it on your calendar, from 8:00 AM until 9:30 on Saturday, December 20th, is the Center’s December Breakfast sponsored by The Springs at Mill Creek. The menu includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, fruit and a hot beverage to keep you warm – all for $5.00 or $4.00 for Center members. Bring along some friends and meet some new ones. It will also be your last chance to purchase your tickets for the quilt, hand stitched by the Center quilters, that will be raffled off at 9:00 AM.
If you enjoy homemade baked goodies, Meals-on-Wheels is having their annual Bake Sale on Thursday from 11:00 – 1:00. You can buy all kinds of tasty treats while helping the good work of Meals-on-Wheels.
Although we may never know who Susan was or why she was so lazy, Meals-on-Wheels is looking for some Lazy Susans if you have one lying around the house (which would be expected of a Lazy Susan). With the new five foot round tables, the folks who eat regularly at the Center (they know where you can always find a good nutritious meal that is gentle on the pocketbook), found it difficult to pass the coffee and the other condiments. And being an industrious lot, they came up a solution: a Lazy Susan for each of the round tables. But there are 15 tables and so far only 2 Lazy Susans have been donated. So bring in a lazy Susan and enjoy a nice meal for a $3.75 donation if you have reached that magic age of sixty.
The Center’s Loan Closet is used daily and depends on individual donations of medical equipment. Right now, we are generously supplied with rollators which is unusual. (I learned rollator is the correct name for the walkers that have the four wheels, a seat and hand brakes). We also have a supply of absorbent undergarments, (I was going to say for loan, but we don’t really want them back) as well as several hospital beds. But at this time, we are in need of shower seats and bed rails.
Were you able to read last week’s music announcement without the vowels? It wasn’t easy, but this time I will keep the vowels but remove two consonants. See if you can tell which consonants are left out and what the announcement says.  
eause of the winter weather, it may e diffiult to get outside to ike, run or walk, ut you an always find a warm plae to dane. And on Tuesday nights that place is the enter where the Highline Express will e performing from 7:00 – 9:00 PM. The ost is only a donation to keep the musi playing and everyone is welome. Also on Sunday the 21st, the Jammers will take their turn playing at the enter from 2:00 – 5:00. Admission is free ut there will e pie and ie ream for sale.
The “Giant Killers” were the 1967 OSU Football team. (The winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on December 20th is Dan Erickson: a true beaver believer who remembers QB Steve Preece and Earthquake Enyart.)
Until I left home for college, I thought you could only cut cheese with a wired utensil; and I seldom tasted butter. Velveeta and margarine were the staples around my house, as well as this orange flavored powdered drink. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the drink created in 1959 but didn’t become popular until it was used by John Glenn in the early manned space flights? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a box of Pop Rocks and a container of Cool Whip.
Well, it’s been another week, working my way towards imperfection. Until we meet again, when everything seems overwhelming, stop, take a deep belly breath and remember – all things shall pass.

“My definition of an intellectual is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger.” Billy Connolly

Aging Well December 9th 2014

Many of you may still be planning a walk along the streets of Barcelona, or a relaxing cruise along the Rhine. Or maybe a trip to Branson, Missouri or Nashville, Tennessee.  You’re still fit and have the financial means to travel even though getting crammed in an airplane, like cows in a slaughterhouse, is not something anyone looks forward to.
But if you are one who finds as much comfort and satisfaction from just staying closer to home and tending the garden, visiting with friends at your regular coffee spot, or watching old black and white cowboy movies on the television, you are not alone.
According to an August 19th article written by Ron Lieber for the New York Times and sent to me by Bill Noonan, the kinds of experiences that bring us happiness changes over time. Leiber cites the research by Amit Bhattacharjee and Cassie Mogilner who wrote in The Journal of Consumer Research that as people grow older, the happiness they receive from the ordinary, everyday experiences increases.  And eventually the happiness potential of ordinary activities eventually grows equal to that of the extraordinary or uncommon experiences.
I still remember my once-in-a-lifetime experiences: the beauty and terror of driving a rented Alfa Romeo along the 1 ½ lane country roads through the highlands of Scotland; visiting the cultural museums and historical sights on Jeju Island off the southern coast of Korea. And closer to home, climbing Mt. Hood and thinking, once is enough!
As I grow older, I find that the more common experiences such as cooking or reading, can be just as rewarding and satisfying. Which is good – and timely. Because as I continue to pay off the parent loans for my children’s education and the credit card debt – which paid for the trips mentioned above, I may be able to afford only the simple everyday experiences.
The Mid-Columbia Health Foundation’s Festival of Trees (an event where you find out it is okay to dress up in The Dalles) was a packed ballroom even with the Oregon Ducks football game televised at the same time. And for the second year, the Center’s Yoga Class entered a tree with the theme “Steppin Out” in honor of all the active older adults who contribute time, talent and energy to support the community. Thanks to Santa’s helpers who made it possible: Judy Reid, Diana Compton, Donna Gooch, Laurie Fadness and Jan Holt with technical assistance from Tim Willis at the Habitat ReStore
Who needs vowels anyway? They are only five and sometimes six of the letters of the alphabet. See if you really need them as you try to read this week’s reminder for the Center’s Tuesday Night music.  
W wll mss Trmn nw tht h hs mvd nd wll b strmmng hs gtr n th bg cty f Prtlnd. nstd t fll hs rglr spt n th 16th, th Smc Bys wll b plyng fr yr dncng nd lstnng plsr. vryn s wlcm. Th msc strts t 7:00 nd th drs pn t 6:00. Dntns r pprctd fr bth th bnd, t’s nt chp t drv n frm Gldndl, nd t hlp py th ht bll
Not all the spaghetti you through against the wall sticks, and last week’s question was an example. But it was a reminder that fifty years ago a gallon of gas may have cost only thirty cents and a postage stamp five, a family was only earning $6569 – an eighth of what an average family makes today. (And the winner of a free Saturday Breakfast on December 20th is Sandy Goforth.)
With the University of Oregon going to the Rose Bowl and Marcus Mariota being considered for the Heisman Trophy, it’s time to talk football – but about that other university along I-5. So for the beaver lovers, this “Remember When” question is for you. During what year did the OSU football team, which wasn’t expected to do much, finish the season winning six straight games including beating second-ranked Purdue (which I remember because I was attending Purdue at the time), tied second-ranked UCLA, beat top ranked USC, the University of Oregon and became known as the “Giant Killers”? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or drop it off with an autographed picture of the “Great Pumpkin”.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to keep my back to the wall and my feet to the fire. Until we meet again, if you don’t know the words to the song, you can always hum.

“There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.” Josh Billings

Aging Well December 2nd 2014

I’ve been thinking (and I know, don’t believe everything your mind tells you) but I have being reading Being Mortalwritten by Atul Gawande, practicing surgeon and professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. In this thought provoking book, he reminds us that contrary to popular culture and marketing hype, we will not live forever. And unfortunately most of us are not prepared to deal with this eventuality. As we age and gradually decline, we may be able to slow the process by being mentally engaged, staying physically active and eating right. But like the rubber on a car’s tires, we eventually wear out. As Jim Holston reminds me “This is as good as it gets!”
But there is good news. Atul Gawande also highlights the research of Laura Carnesten a professor of psychology at Stanford University. Her work has shown as we acknowledge our own mortality, it changes our perspective on life.
She has found when people feel they will live forever, or too busy to consider their eventual fate, they seek new friends and relationships, try new experiences, and take chances. Because if it doesn’t work out, well, there is always tomorrow.
But when people realize that death is an eventuality they can’t escape, it is in our genes, their perspective changes. People start to see their priorities more clearly, take less notice of trivial matters, are more appreciative, and live more in the “now”. Life gets better and they are happier.
And isn’t that ironic? As we ride this downward trajectory of aging, we generally are happier. What was thought to be so important during the “productive” years is no longer, while friendships and living in the present are. It is like seeing the world with sharper glasses and thinking, wow, even with all the challenges of personal losses and physical ailments, life is pretty good.
If you want to discuss more about how our outlook on life changes as we age, join me for the 11:00 Tuesday Lecture at the Center on December 9th when we will watch a video presentations by both Laura Carstensen and Atul Gawande.
Since the Center’s Saturday Breakfasts took a hiatus for several months, I wanted to give you an early notice that Saturday Breakfast will be back on December 22ndfor the traditional Christmas Breakfast sponsored once again by The Springs at Mill Creek. You can enjoy a traditional breakfast of pancakes, bacon and scrambled eggs, and we’ll see whether Santa makes an appearance this year.
The Center quilters have been creating beautiful quilts in support of the Center since the mid-80’s raising thousands of dollars. But you may not know that the Center quilters can also be hired to repair worn or unfinished quilts if you have that special quilt you want mended. You can find the quilters downstairs at the Center every Monday from 10:00 to 3:00 where they still patiently hand stitch their quilts. And this month you can purchase raffle tickets for two of their quilts which are on display at the Center.
It’s been a while since I have tried to scramble your grey cells by mixing up the Center’s music announcement. See what you can decipher this week.
Fro teh Centre’s Tsuedya Ngiht msiuc no Demcereb 9th, Mriatn and Frindes will eb prefmriong. Adn unlses teh swno flals or teh rain zfreees, the msicu strsat ta 7:00 nad is oerv by 9:00. Eveyreno is wolecme and dionosatn aer aywlas apatpicred.
The actress, comedienne and musical performer who starred in several movie musicals as well as her own television specials in the 60’s and 70’s was Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber, I mean, Mitzi Gaynor. And the winner of a free Saturday breakfast on December 20th is Alex Currie.)
This week’s “Remember When question is not a quote or of local significance, but a multiple choice question about the good old days. In 2013 the median family income was $51,939. What was the median family income fifty years ago in 1964? (a) Between $5,000 and $7,000, (b) between $7,000 and $9,000, or (c) between $9,000 and $11,000. E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a roll of u-lick-em 5 cent postage stamps and a gallon of 30 cent gas.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to find my way back in the dark. Until we meet again, as Roger Rosenblatt wrote in his book Rules for Aging, “Just because the person criticized you is an idiot, doesn’t make him wrong”.
Every time I think that I’m getting old, and gradually going to the grave, something else happens. ~ Lillian Carter