Aging Well in the Gorge April 8th 2015

After you have escaped your days of youthful adventure, and before you arrive at old age, there is that in-between phase called middle age. And with rising life expectancies and healthier lifestyles, it is often asked when does middle begin – or more importantly for us mature folks, how long does it last?
From a recent study, it was found that attitudes towards becoming middle-aged are changing. At one time 41 was considered middle-aged but now it’s 53. And almost half of those over-50 felt they had not yet experienced middle age. In fact, eight in ten said it was a state of mind, rather than a numerical or physical milestone.
My body reminds me daily that I’m no longer “young” but does these changing attitudes mean at 65, 70, 75 or even 80, I could still consider myself middle age? Sounds good to me.
But for those of you who are still unsure about middle age, here is a top ten list of how you know when you are middle aged.
1) You avoid noisy bars, preferring a night in to a night out. 2) You begin thinking doctors look really young – which you see all too often. 3) You are obsessed with monitoring your health. 4) TV shows suddenly look extremely racy. 5) You have no idea what “young people” are talking about – even when they aren’t mumbling. 6) You take a keen interest in gardening and “classic” automobiles. 7) You buy shoes and clothes for comfort rather than style – and everyone can tell. 8) You book a cruise – preferably one that doesn’t allow children. 9) You start placing sticky notes around the house as reminders. And last but not least, your idea of adventure is no longer climbing Mt. Hood but riding the Ferris Wheel during Cherry Festival!
The speaker for the next 11:00 Tuesday Lecture on May 5th will be Litxia Miranda, a Portland State University graduate student working at the Institute of Aging. She will speak about the important subject of aging and mental health.
Following the rule that a person needs to see or hear a message at least seven times before they act upon it, here are few reminders of several events at the Center that may interest you. But I will keep them short.
The Seniors-4-Seniors Dance is on Friday, May 1st from 6:00 – 8:30 with simple dance lessons taught by Danette Utley, social director at Flagstone, from 5:00 – 5:45. This is a fundraiser for the Wahtonka Community School graduation and is open to all generations.
On Saturday, May 2nd, there will be two workshops presented by Vicki Schmall, OSU Extension Gerontology Specialist Emeritus: “The Challenging Behaviors of Dementia: Preventing & Responding”, at the Center from 10:00 am-12:00 pm: and “Packing Your “Caregiving Basket” for Self-Care” at the Hood River Adult Center from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. More information at the Center.
There are still a few spots open in Joy Kloman’s popular drawing class. The first of the three Tuesday classes starts on May 5th. The cost is only $55 which includes the supplies. For more information or to register, contact the Center at 541-296-4788 or
At the Center on Tuesday May 5th, Andre, K.C. and Tom will be performing so you can dance the night away. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are always appreciated. And the entertaining bluegrass band “Hardshell Harmony” will eventually play at the Center before the Meals-on-Wheels dinner, but not yet. When they are rescheduled, I’ll make sure to mention it.
The answer to last week’s “Remember When” question is the Sawyer’s family who built the Ninth Street Supermarket and Sawyers Variety Store where St. Vinnies is now located. (And the winner of five quilt raffle tickets is Bill VanNice.)
Sticking with an aging theme, this week’s question is about Peter Pan – the boy who never wanted to grow up. When Peter Pan, the children’s book written by J.M. Barrie, was adapted into a musical for Broadway in 1954, who played the role of Peter Pan?  Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or mail it with a crocodile that goes tick tock in the night.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember what I promised to do. Until we meet again, some wise advice from Andre Lamoreaux: ”When they stop listening before you stop playing, you know it’s time to go.”

“I’m officially middle-aged. I don’t need drugs anymore, thank God. I can get the same effect just by standing up real fast.” Jonathan Katz

Aging Well in the Gorge April 21st 2015

The Dalles will be a happening place this week starting off with the always popular Lip-Sync tonight and the BYU-Idaho Symphony Band on Thursday, both at TDHS; followed by three days of fun activities downtown. There will be plenty of entertainment including the Twangshifters at the Swingin’ Sock Shop on Saturday night playing rockabilly from the 50’s that is still cool today. And you won’t want to miss the parade along its familiar route starting at 10:00. The Dalles Chamber and all the volunteers should be congratulated for organizing quite a show. Let’s hope the weather cooperates
The Center will be part of the action hosting the annual Cherry Festival Pancake Breakfast, once again sponsored by our neighbors to the north – Cherry Heights Living. From 7:30 to 9:30, the Center will be serving pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage plus fruit and beverage – all for $5.00 per person and $3.00 per child. Let the Center cook your breakfast on a busy Cherry Festival parade day.
The Center will also have a table downtown on Federal Street near the Veteran’s office. There will be information about the activities at the Center plus one last chance to buy raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt made by Francie Yuhas. Stop by and say hi.
There hasn’t been a Tuesday Lecture at the Center for several weeks. (I was either out of town or I couldn’t remember which Tuesday of the month it was. Ever have that problem?) But the Tuesday Lecture is back on April 28th with Alida Raynor, MCMC’s Breast Health Nurse Navigator, speaking about breast health and MCMC’s new program to support women that need a diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram is used when the initial mammogram identifies any abnormalities – which, speaking for myself, would freak me out. But those abnormalities may not be breast cancer. The diagnostic mammogram helps identify whether the abnormality is cancer or nothing to be concerned about. The Breast Health Navigator supports the patient through the process and helps ease any anxiety that may occur.
I have often mentioned the value of participating in creative activities whether it is building back scratchers or writing ten minute plays; designing a garden or writing a country ballad. And if your creative interests are in drawing, Debra Jones has arranged for Joy Kloman to return to the Center to teach a drawing class for those who want to have fun learning how to draw or want to broaden their knowledge of drawing. Joy is a former university art professor who has taught classes to all ages.
There will be a series of three Tuesday classes from 1:30 – 4:00 on May 5th, May 19th and June 9th. . Because of the Wasco County Cultural Trust grant, the three classes cost only $40 plus $15 for supplies. To register or for more information contact the Mid-Columbia Senior Center at 541-296-4788 or
Because Tom Graff told me he can’t seem to read backwards, I’m not going to mix up this week’s Tuesday Night Music announcement – except for my normal typos. But Tom can sing! You can hear him perform at the Center on the first, third, and fifth Thursdays of the month starting at 11:00 am before the Meals-on-Wheels dinner.
On Tuesday April 28th, Andre and Friends will be performing at the Center for your dancing and listening pleasure. Music starts at 7:00, all ages are invited and donations are appreciated.
And the popular bluegrass band “Hardshell Harmony” is still going to play before the Meals-on-Wheels diner at the Center, but the date has been postponed to Wednesday April 29th starting at 11:00.
I guess I stumped everyone last week, since no one knew the satirical radio quiz show that aired from 1942 – 1951 and featured “a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it” was It Pays To Be Ignorant – which you can still hear on several old time radio websites.
This week I am going to make it up by asking a local question I think most everyone will know. What successful business, that is celebrating 75 years in The Dalles, built the super market on 9th Street that St. Vinnies now occupies? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with an eight foot Stihl chain saw.  

Aging Well in the Gorge April 14th 2015

You usually hear dementia associated with memory loss, but it is also often expressed through ceaseless repetitive questions and irrational behavior that can be challenging for any caregiver. To help better understand how dementia affects the person living with dementia and the caregiver, there will be two workshops on May 2nd presented by Vicki Schmall, OSU Extension Gerontology Specialist Emeritus; and sponsored by OSU Extension Service and the Oregon Geriatric Education Center and supported by Providence Home Services.

The first workshop, “The Challenging Behaviors of Dementia: Preventing & Responding”, will be offered at the Center from 10:00am-12:00pm. It will provide an understanding of how brain changes resulting from dementia affects a person’s perceptions and behavior; why challenging behaviors occur; what to do to minimize such behaviors and intervene when the behaviors do occur; and the adaptions the caregiver must make as dementia progresses.

The second workshop, “Packing Your “Caregiving Basket” for Self-Care” will be offered at the Hood River Adult Center from 2:00pm – 4:00pm.  It will provide you the tools to reduce stress, increase self-care and maintain your personal well-being while taking care of your family member.

Besides serving tasty and healthy meals at the Center, Meals-on-Wheels has scheduled music before their dinners on several days of the month. Starting at 11:00, Tom Graff performs on the first and third Thursdays of each month and on the second and fourth Tuesdays, Andre Lamoreaux and KC Kortge perform. In addition on Thursday, April 23rd at 11:00, the excellent local bluegrass band “Hard Shell Harmony” will be making a special appearance. They perform throughout the Gorge and will once again be playing at the Baby Back Rib Dinner at the Center on Friday October 2nd.

There will be a $2 a Bag Sale for used clothing and fabric at the Center on Saturday April 18th from 8:00 to 1:00. The Center’s Nu-2-U Shop is overflowing with clothes from the generous donations and they need to make room. If you can’t make the Bag Sale, the Nu-2-U Shop, which offers the best of the best used clothing at very reasonable prices, is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 – 3:00.  

It was nice to visit with U.S. Representative Greg Walden lst Friday night when he stopped by the Center to attend Opportunity Connection’s 48thAnniversary Dinner and show his support for the good work they do providing services and supports for people with disabilities. Besides discussing the challenges of life within the D.C. beltway, several of us were also able to share with him examples of how Meals-on-Wheels and the Center are working to support older adults

Last week I shook up the Tuesday Night Music announcement by reversing the text. See how fast you can read this week’s mixed up announcement – which you should find a little easier than last week’s.  
.appreciated always are donations and welcome is Everyone .00:9 by home be can you and 00:7 at starts music the  ,00:6 at open doors The .pleasure listening and dancing your for music country of brand special their playing be will Boys Simcoe popular the 21st April on Center the at Dance and Music Night Tuesday the For
The name of the dance where you would ‘dance’ under a stick that was lowered as low as you could go, and was popularized by Chubby Checker’s hit song “Limbo Rock”, was, you guessed it, the Limbo. (Winner of five Necktie Quilt raffle tickets is Corliss Marsh – and you may want to ask her what it was like being a limbo champion.)
I haven’t asked a question about old time radio in quite a while, so let’s see if anyone recalls this week’s “Remember When” question. What was the name of the satirical radio quiz show that aired from 1942 – 1951 and featured “a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it” answering questions such as “What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?” Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a CD of Dr. IQ episodes.
Well, it’s been another week, still trying to keep time to the music without falling over. Until we meet again, you know life is unfair when the November freeze killed many of the rose bushes, but the blackberry bushes are still thriving.

“If we are strong, and have faith in life and its richness of surprises, and hold the rudder steadily in our hands. I am sure we will sail into quiet and pleasant waters for our old age.” Freya Stark

Aging Well April 7th 2015

If you haven’t heard, Brain Goodwin and his small staff of dedicated teachers are running an amazing educational program at the Wahtonka Community High School. There the fifty-five students focus on hands-on, project based learning by working with community members to create and participate in service projects that help others. 
Since February, I have been working with Kyla Mitchell, a senior at the Wahtonka Community HS, on one of her service projects: a “Seniors-4-Seniors Dance” on May 1st from 6:00 – 8:30 at the Center. Tickets are $4.00 a piece or $6.00 for a couple and can be purchased at the Center or at the door. Andre Lamoreaux is putting together a one-of-a-kind band for this special event. 
What is unique about this dance is that it is an opportunity for the Wahtonka Community HS seniors to support the “seniors” in the area by organizing and promoting a dance for them. At the same time, the “seniors” are helping the Senior Class of Wahtonka Community HS since all the money raised from the dance will be used for their first ever high school graduation. It is a two-way street of mutual support. Pretty cool idea of Kyla’s. 
Although this is a dance for “seniors”, it is open to all ages. I hope you will come and support the Wahtonka Community High School’s first ever graduation while enjoying an evening of entertaining music. Kyla also wants to invite everyone to the Grand Opening of GISMO – General Integrated Science Museum Operations at the Wahtonka Community HS Campus on May 4th. Afterwards it will be open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:45 – 2:15. GISMO is organized and run by the students of Wahtonka Community HS as one of their learning-by-doing projects. 
Every spring, I take advantage of my annual Medicare Wellness exam so I can find out if my body is still operating properly and what maintenance is required. At my most recent visit I was pleasantly informed that in 2016 I would be eligible for my next colonoscopy! Eligible? What is this, the Publishers Clearinghouse of medical procedures? As if I’m now eligible to win a cruise through the inner workings of my colon as if it were a Viking Cruise on the Rhine River. Oh look over there! Isn’t that a polyp? It’s so spectacular! 
And since I’m on a roll, when did I become of age to start receiving mailings for cremation services? In one mailing, I even had a chance to win a free pre-paid cremation – like that is something I am really looking forward to enjoying! Oh, well. As the English have often said, “Keep calm and carry on”. 
I haven’t shaken up the weekly Tuesday Night Music announcement for quite a while. So once again a quick test of your synapses and neurons. .detaicerppa syawla era snoitanod dna – srelddot gnuoy ot srezeeg dlo morf – emoclew si enoyrevE .00:7 ta strats cisum eht dna 00:6 ta nepo srood ehT .erusaelp gninetsil dna gnicnad ruoy rof senut nretsew yrtnuoc dlo doog emos gniyalp eb lliw Friends and Martin,14th April no retneC eht ta ecnaD dna cisuM thgiN yadseuT eht roF 
The actor who starred as Lucas McCain, a widowed Union Civil War veteran and a homesteader, in the ABC television series Rifleman was Chuck Connors. (The winner of five raffle tickets for the Necktie Quilt is Janet Williams who told me you can still watch the Rifleman on MeTV.) 
This week’s “Remember When” question came from an email for “older” kids. I tried this dance when I was much younger and could actually touch my toes, (And yes Debra, I know your chair Yoga class at the Center would really help my flexibility.), but today I wouldn’t even think about it. What was the name of the dance, popularized by Chubby Checker in his 1962 hit song, where you would ‘dance’ under a stick that was lowered as low as you could go? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with a picture of yourself doing this dance in the 60’s – and I promise I won’t make fun of your hairdo. 
Well, it’s been another week, still trying to decide what to be when I grow up. Until we meet again, remember if plan A doesn’t work there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. 
“It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.” Margaret Mead