Aging Well in the Gorge October 27th 2015

Fear. How many of our decisions are driven by this unpleasant emotion that often controls our lives? Afraid of seeing the doctor about a persistent cough, fearing the worse. Afraid of expressing what we really want to our adult children, because it may hurt their feelings. Afraid of starting a new activity because we might look silly or inept. Afraid of making an emotional commitment because it might not be shared – or last. And afraid of the unknown when an overzealous imagination conjures up only the worse that could happen.

 What are you afraid of? What are those often unconscious fears that keep you from doing what you really want to do? To make the most of each day?

 Our lives are full of fears. But it is important to distinguish between those things we are afraid of from those things that are really dangerous. I may ride my bicycle along the Riverfront Trail, but I don’t think I will try a “backside heelflip” on a skateboard. And I will still use a step stool, but you won’t see me climbing thirty foot ladders any more. We are old enough to know where the line is between being fearless and just plain stupid. (Now let me point out that wearing a bright pair of lime green pants is not fearless or stupid – it is just showing really bad taste!)

 Know the true risks. But don’t make your fear of what could happen make nothing happen. Because of ours fears we miss meeting new friends, starting new hobbies or experiencing new adventures we never even imagined! Fear is a choice.

It takes tenacity and courage to move beyond our fears, to distinguish between the real dangers and the imagined, and to live our lives to their fullest, and although it may be a passenger, not let fear take control of the steering wheel.

 As it often happens, I forgot to thank several folks for their contributions to the Center. If you have recently visited the computer lab downstairs at the Center for Medicare counseling or foot care, you will have noticed new flooring, painted walls, curtains and desks. A BIG thanks to Judy Merrill for organizing the effort that included Oliver’s Floor Covering, Frank LaRoque and his team plus many of Judy’s own friends. I also forgot to thank the Sunshine Mill for generously donating the wine for the Baby Back Rib Dinner. And lastly, thanks to Lisa Farquharson and the fine Chamber staff for giving the Center the opportunity to promote the Uplifting Elevator Campaign by hosting the Chamber’s Business-After-Hours.

The Friends of the Library and the Center are hosting a Book Sale by the Bag at the Center on November 7th from 9:00 – Noon. Starting at 9:00 the books are $3 a bag, then $2 a bad after 10:00, and $1 a Bag after 11:00. Come early for the best selection.

It’s time to mix up the Tuesday Night Music and Dance announcement to challenge your neurons and synapses in that organ between your ears. And I’ll try to keep it simple – or at least relatively simple. .detaicerppa syawla era snoitanod dna ,neerg ro yerg si riah ruoy rehtehw emoclew si enoyrevE .00:7 ta strats cisum dna 00:6 ta nepo srood ehT .”god eht gniklaw“ elihw gnignis eb lliw moT dna .C.K ,erdnA ,dr3 rebmevoN no retneC eht ta ecnaD dna cisuM thgiN yadseuT roF

The 1960 – 1964 CBS television drama that followed Tod Stiles and Buz Murdoch as they traveled the back roads of America in a 1961 Corvette was Route 66. (From all the many entries, the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Mike Knopf.) I remember wondering why my family was stockpiling food in the garage in October of 1962. I later found out it was because of the Cuban Missile Crisis when the United States and Russia almost went to nuclear war over the Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba. We know Kennedy was President and Khrushchev was his Russian adversary, but for this week’s “Remember When” question who was the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with the documentary Fog of War.

 Well, it’s been another week hoping for inspiration to fly by and leave something behind. Until we meet again, don’t forget you have to have lemons to make lemonade.

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” Henry Ford

Aging Well in the Gorge October 20th 2015

You may have received the Center’s request for financial help to finish the Center’s UpLifting Elevator Campaign. And with the request, I thought it might be a good time to provide an update as to where the Center is on the project.   
The good news is we are two thirds of the way to reaching the goal of $380,000. Thanks to the hundreds of local donations from individuals and businesses (including a generous anonymous donation of $50,000), the Center has in the bank $121,000. And with the $115,000 grant from The Ford Family Foundation, a $10,000 PUD grant, and a $5,000 MCMC Foundation Grant, a total of $251,000 has been raised – which is impressive. We have also applied for two smaller grants, and will hear if they are successful in November.
But there is still a gap to be filled. Over the last three years with the improving economy and inflation the cost of installing an elevator has grown to our best guess of $380,000 – which leaves a gap of $129,000. And before the cost increases any further, we would like to wrap this campaign up for good by the end of the year.
Every contribution helps – none is too small or too large. We appreciate all you have given in the past which has made it possible to secure the grants we have received so far. But if you can dig down in your pockets a little further for the first, second or third time, we can bring this project to completion.
But why is the elevator important? Over the last several years, the downstairs has been improved, thanks to many volunteers, and the use has increased significantly. Downstairs you’ll find the Quilters on Monday; Tai Chi and Foot Care on Tuesdays; Yoga, Zumba Gold, Table Tennis and Strong Women on Tuesdays and Thursdays; SHIBA (Medicare Counseling) on Wednesdays; and the Easy Writers on Friday. Plus the Center’s popular Medical Equipment Loan Closet is downstairs as well as AARP Tax Aide from February through April. And with easy and safe access to the downstairs, there are even more possibilities.
The elevator will be located near the northwest corner of the Center where the Nu-2-U Shop is currently located and drop down to the small foyer downstairs next to the door at the bottom of the exterior steps. This will require little change downstairs, but upstairs the Nu-2-U Shop, lounge and the reception area will be reconfigured. And for the cold, blustery winter days, the walkway in front of the building and the exterior stairs will be enclosed, so folks won’t have to deal with icy, snowy steps when walking downstairs.
But take a minute to imagine if you used a cane or crutches; or a walker or wheelchair, how difficult it would be to access the downstairs activities. And unless you are one of the lucky ones, you will probably need to use one of those devices – at least temporarily.
There is a reason why most multiple story buildings have an elevator – whether it’s the Courthouse or Fred Meyer. Isn’t it about time the Center also has an elevator so everyone can have the opportunity to enjoy all that the Center has to offer?
Don’t forget Nehemiah Brown will be at the Center this Friday the 23rd from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. Besides having a beautiful voice, he is also a great entertainer. The cost is still only $3.00 per person thanks to our sponsor: The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center.
For Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on October 27th, Our Way will be performing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.
Although Charles Atlas might have been my first guess, Jack LaLanne was the American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert, who had his own television show from 1953 – 1985. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Esther Nygaard.)
Did you ever have the dream of finding adventure traveling across the back roads of America in a 1961 corvette convertible? That was the basic plot of what television series starring Martin Milner and George Maharis that aired from 1960 through 1964 on Friday nights? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a map of the Will Rogers Memorial Highway.

Well, it’s been another week trying to act my age – once I figure what that age is. Until we meet again, sometimes you just have to fake it til you make it.

Aging Well in the Gorge October 13th 2015

If you are the curious sort, at the Center at 11:00 on every Tuesday except the third, you can attend the Center’s Tuesday Lecture. And even though you may think you have been around the block a few times, I guarantee you will learn something new. For example, last Tuesday, Rite-Aid pharmacist Chryll Cromier discussed vaccines for older adults particularly stressing the importance of an annual flu shot since the vast majority of people who die from the flu are older adults. 
But did you know each year the flu vaccine is formulated to guard against the three or four most common flu strains. Or did you know you can’t catch the flu from the vaccine. Flu shots are made with dead viruses or without any viruses at all. But there may be some soreness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given and low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches may also occur. 
Or how about the fact that antibacterial soaps may kill or inhibit many germs, but won’t protect you from the flu any more than plain old soap and water will. And if you unfortunately catch the flu, antibiotics won’t help. But antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza can fight the flu virus and make you feel better faster. They work best when taken within two days of getting sick, so if you exhibit flu symptoms make sure you call your doctor as soon as possible. 
And by getting a flu shot, did you know you will also be doing your part in preventing the spread of flu and the accompanying discomfort and misery for your neighbors, friends and grandchildren. 
If you haven’t received your flu shot you can get one this Thursday, October 15th from noon till 4:00 at the Community Health Fair at The Springs at Mill Creek. And from noon to 6:00 there will be vendors, educational exhibits and refreshment; and a line-up of excellent speakers from MCMC covering the following topics: “Don’t Make Me Laugh — Incontinence and What You Can Do About It”; “Mindful Meditation and How to Relax”; “Total Joint Replacements”; “Skin Care As We Age and Skin Cancer Prevention”; “Improving Memory”; and “Fall and Fall Prevention”. Call the Springs at 541-298-1303 for more information. 
I often mention the exercise and movement classes at the Center but there are many other opportunities in the area including Water’s Edge, Curves and The Dalles Fitness and Court Club (TDFCC). This month, TDFCC is offering several specials including free Guest Passes to try out one of their morning Aqua Aerobics classes including their Silver Splash (Arthritis Foundation Class). You can pick up a free Guest Pass at the Center. For more information call TDFCC at 541-298-8508. 
Because of the AARP Smart Driver Class upstairs (you can still call the Center to sign up), and the Zumba Gold Class downstairs (just drop in if you want to find out how exercising can be fun) there will not be a Tuesday Lecture on the 20th. 
It has been a while since Nehemiah Brown performed at the Center. But you’ll be able to hear his beautiful, silky smooth voice on Friday, October 23rd from 7:00 – 9:00. He covers all types of music from pop and blues to country and gospel. The cost is still only $3.00 per person thanks to our sponsor The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation Center – an employee owned skilled nursing and long term care facility. 
For Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on October 20th, Simcoe Boys will be performing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated. The swimmer who won five Olympic Gold Medals, and set more than fifty world records during the 1920’s, and starred in six Tarzan movies in the 1940’s was Johnny Weissmuller. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Jim Ayers.) 
This week’s “Remember When” question is about a bodybuilder who some consider the “”first fitness superhero”. Who was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert, who opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in 1936, and had his own television show from 1953 – 1985? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a Glamour Stretcher and a “Juice Tiger” juicer. 
Well, it’s been another week trying to keep all my marbles in the air. Until we meet again, sometimes good enough is all you need. 

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.” From the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Aging Well in the Gorge October 6th 2015

We all age differently, some of us better than others, but we all grow older. It is one of the certainties of life – and only in science fiction is it otherwise.

 But the changes that take place can affect many of our everyday activities – especially our ability to drive. In America, and particularly in rural America, the automobile is considered essential. Even though there are alternatives such as LINK, without the ability and means to drive, we are limited in what we can do: going to the grocery store, attending church, dances and fundraisers. But by knowing how the normal aging process affects our ability to drive, we can learn to adapt and be better prepared so we can continue to drive and enjoy the independence driving provides.

You can learn more by attending the recently revised AARP Smart Driver class taught by Dick Frost. The next six hour AARP Smart Driver Class will be held at the Center from 8:45 AM – 12:05 PM on both Monday, October 19th and Tuesday, October 20th. (The class is offered every month on the third Monday and Tuesday.) For the $20.00 investment, or $15.00 for AARP members, you will learn how aging affects your driving abilities, as well as the recent changes in the Oregon state driving laws. You will need to bring your driver’s license, a check made out to AARP, and for AARP members, your membership number.

 After completing this class, you will be better prepared to manage today’s fast paced driving environment; and if that is not reason enough, you may be eligible for an automobile insurance discount. You can sign up at the Center or call (541) 296-4788. Dick looks forward to seeing you there!!

Thanks to the over three hundred folks who attended the BBR Dinner to support The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels and the Center. It was a rousing success! And there are many folks to thank for making it all possible. Once gain a very big thanks to The Springs at Mill Creek who generously sponsored the event so ALL the proceeds from the evening can be used for the operation of Meals-on-Wheels and the Center. Thanks to local bluegrass band Hardshell Harmony for providing the perfect music for a wonderful evening. (And on October 16th they will be playing before the Meals-on-Wheels dinner starting at 11:15.) And thanks to the many donors for the silent auction and raffle, all the wonderful volunteers – a special shout out to Denise Patton, Meals-on-Wheels director, who lead the charge preparing the Baby Back Ribs, and Ashley Lauterbach and Ron Sutherland who organized the effort.

Okay, this is my second mistake in two weeks. I was gently reminded that the hour long Line and Clogging Class, ably lead by Jacquie Hashizume, is back up and running, or should I say clogging, starting at 10:30 – not the other time I have often mentioned.

The topic for the Tuesday Lecture on October 13th will be “Using Technology to Maintain and Improve your Health and Fitness”. I will try to keep it simple while discussing how a growing number of older adults are using Fitbits to encourage themselves to keep moving, Skype and Google Hangout to stay socially connected, and Smartphone apps to monitor their heart rate, and more.

For Tuesday Night Music and Dance at the Center on October 13th, Martin and Friends will be performing. The doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, all ages are welcome and donations are appreciated.

The baseball player who hit the 9th inning home room known as the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” that sent the New York Giants to the 1951 World Series (where they were defeated by the New York Yankees) was Bobby Thomson. (And the winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Don McAllister.)

For this week’s “Remember When” question I’m sticking with sports but with a Hollywood twist. What swimmer won five Olympic Gold Medals, fifty-two U.S. National Championships, and set more than fifty world records during the 1920’s, but is more famously known for starring in six Tarzan movies in the 1940’s? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail a picture of him with another former competitive swimmer turned actor – Esther Williams.

Well, it’s been another week of cool mornings and warm afternoons. Until we meet again, when something goes wrong it’s always a nice to realize at least this time, it wasn’t me!

“A drunk driver is very dangerous. So is a drunk backseat driver if he’s persuasive.” Demetri Martin