Aging Well in the Gorge November 28th 2017

We often talk about living to 100 but there’s a time when you realize it is not the years in your life that’s important but the life in the years. But how can you make the most of your remaining years? Travel to far-a-way lands? Attend classes at CGCC? Hit the pubs on the weekend?
I have found from talking to older adults at the Center the main ingredient for living a happier life in your later years is attitude – particularly in the following three ways.
First, be open to change and avoid hanging on to what isn’t possible anymore. I’m not going to run a marathon again – I can hardly jog across the street! Second, be creative by finding new ways to enjoy what you once did. If you can no longer eat your favorite foods, experiment in the kitchen, and create new dishes. And third, focus on what you can still do and don’t go down the long dark alley of always complaining about what you can’t.  
By keeping a positive attitude and learning to accept and adapt, when life throws you a curve, you’ll find that you can still hit the ball out of the park.   
Last week’s lesson from the Blue Zones was to eat less – which these days is easier for me. (Just as its quicker for my bladder to feel full, it seems to be the same for my stomach.) But this week’s lesson may be harder. Lesson five from the “Power of Nine” is “Plant Slant”.
Like many of you, I was raised on hamburger, fried chicken, bacon and sausage. But according to Dan Beuttner, the inhabitants of the Blue Zones kept their meat consumption to a minimum and ate mostly plant based foods: beans, greens, fruits, nuts and whole grains. So during these wintry months, why not experiment and try some new healthy recipes with less meat. You can find some tasty recipes at Oregon State University’s website
As you consider all the holiday activities, don’t forget the local Habitat for Humanity Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, December 2, 2017 from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at the United Church of Christ 111, East Fifth Street. There will be craft vendors and baked goods. But what makes it a stop you don’t want to miss is the delicious homemade soup lunch with rolls, beverages, and a slice of pie for only $5.00!
December 7th is the last day for Medicare open enrollment. To compare Medicare plans, you can go online at But the easiest and most convenient way to compare plans and have your questions answered is to call the Center and schedule an appointment with a trained SHIBA volunteer who can guide you through the Medicare jungle.
The Center’s Holiday Breakfast is December 9th from 8:00 – 9:30. And you can’t beat the menu: all-you-can-eat pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, juice and coffee – all for $6 per person and $3.00 for those 12 and under. It will also be your last chance to purchase a quilt raffle ticket before the drawing at 9:00 am. The sponsors are Dennis Morgan and Dean Dollarhide – who were the sponsors for last year’s holiday breakfast which was cancelled because of snow. But don’t worry. There won’t be snow this year. Santa promised!
The name of the Saturday morning cartoon canine hero in the episode “Simon Says, No Thanksgiving” was Underdog as in “There’s no need to fear, Underdog is here!” (It was a tough question, but I did receive correct answers from Jess Birge and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Diana Weston.)
This one hit wonder was recorded in 1969 after the singer heard Porter Wagner singing a gospel song on TV and thought “Yeah, I could do that”. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the song, an innovative combination of gospel and psychedelic rock sounds, sung by Norman Greenbaum? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a Fender Telecaster guitar with a fuzz box.
Well, it’s been another week, trying to remember to keep my shoulders back and my head up. Until we meet again, we take better care of ourselves by taking good care of each other.

“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn how to swim.” Vicki Harrison

Aging Well in the Gorge November 21st 2017

We all face our own struggles and challenges as we get older – and it can be tough. But what can give us strength is to take time to appreciate the many ways we have been blessed: the grandkids – or great grandkids, the conversations with friends at lunch or bible study; or just the fact that we are still moving.  Helen Lynch recently told me, “I may take twice as many steps, but I still get there!”
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. By appreciating what we do have, we discover what is truly important – which aren’t the “things” that are constantly pitched to us this time of year. I hope you have found the joy in these “bonus” years of your life and the strength to overcome any challenges you may face. Have a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving!
The “Power of Nine” are nine lessons from the Blue Zones – places in the world where the inhabitants have lived much longer, healthier, and happier lives than the average American. This fourth Blue Zone lesson is timely because during Thanksgiving there is a tendency, or even an expectation, to overindulge at the dinner table.
This week’s lesson is to eat less by following the 80% Rule: when you feel you are 80% full, stop eating. (But we can make an exception during Thanksgiving, right? I don’t want to offend the cook!)
The Center’s 2018 membership drive has begun. If you are 2017 member, you should have received your membership renewal letter in the mail.  But if you have never been a member of the Center and have been thinking that it’s about time to support the work of the Center, there is no better time than now. The membership fee is $35 person or $60 per couple or if you want to be a Super-Duper Member, $50 per person. Mail you check to the Center at 1112 W 9th Street with your name, address, phone number and email address. Or you can go to the Center’s website at And to all our members, thank-you for supporting the Center’s mission of providing older adults opportunities “to explore, connect and contribute”.
This is my last chance to shout from mountain high, THERE ARE STILL TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR THE SINGING CHRISTMAS TREE at the Keller Auditorium in Portland on Sunday November 26th. The cost is $75 which includes transportation. You have your choice of seats in the balcony or row D on the main floor. Call the Center by Wednesday or if you are a procrastinator, you can text or call me on my cell at 541-980-4645.
The medical equipment loan closet is one of the Center’s most popular services.  Whether it is because you can’t afford the equipment, you need something until Medicare authorizes it, or you just need a wheelchair for a weekend trip, give the Center a call first before you go buy something. The Center may have what you need, and the only cost is a suggested donation of $5.
The person who taught the young man to say “Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bang bang” to persuade a woman to return his love for her was the Witch Doctor, the title of the 1958 novelty hit. (I received correct answers from Jerry Phillips, Betsy Ayers, Don McAllister and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Jess Birge.)
This week’s “Remember When” question is a challenging one – about a 1965 special Thanksgiving television episode to honor the first appearance of this Saturday cartoon canine hero in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Let’s see if anyone in the audience can remember the hero in this popular Saturday morning cartoon series.
What was the name of the canine hero in the episode “Simon Says, No Thanksgiving” which also included Shoeshine Boy and his love interest Sweet Polly Purebread and the villain Simon Bar Sinister? (They sure had great character names back then!) Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of Wally Cox shouting “There’s no need to fear, … is here!”
Well, it’s been another week, keeping the home fires burning. Until we meet again, the more you worry, the more you forget.

“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.” Melody Beattie

Aging Well in the Gorge November 14th 2017

Ah, the holidays. A time to enjoy family, tell stories and eat too much. But it can also be a time of worries and stress: how long are my children and grandchildren going to stay; what presents do my grandkids want; and what do I talk about that won’t offend anyone?
Reducing the stress in your life whether during the holidays or for the rest of the year, can be described as “Down Shifting”, the third lesson from the Blue Zones – the name given to the five “longevity hotspots” discovered by Dan Buettner. If you recall, the first two lessons for living longer, healthier, and happier lives are to “move naturally” and have a “purpose”. 
Reducing stress is important because stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. To cope with everyday stress, the inhabitants of the Blue Zones have built into their daily routines ways to reduce stress: praying, enjoying happy hour, or my favorite – taking a short “power” nap.
Here are some additional tips that can help manage stress particularly during the holidays.
1. Reach out. If you need help, ask for it. Friends can provide support and companionship during stressful times. 2. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect. At our age who are we trying to impress? And I always figure someone has to lower the bar, so others can raise it later. 3. Set aside differences. Holidays are a time to come together – not to be pulled apart. If you hear irritating opinions, just listen this time. You will be better prepared for when you can tell them later how nuts they are. 4. Plan ahead. To avoid the last-minute panic, plan your shopping, cooking and visiting. It can give you a feeling of control – even though control may just be an illusion.
5. Take care of yourself. Learn to say no. Eat well, get enough sleep, and keep moving.
The holidays are to be enjoyed – not a time to worry. Benjamin Franklin had the right attitude when he said “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
The Center still has a few seats available for the matinee performance of the Singing Christmas Tree in Portland on Sunday, November 26th. The cost is only $75 which includes transportation. Call the Center to purchase your tickets.
The Holiday Bazaar season has started and this Saturday, you can shop for your Christmas gifts at the St. Peter’s 39th Annual Holiday Bazaar at St. Mary’s Academy and across 10th street at the Center’s Annual Holiday Bazaar. I can almost guarantee you will find something you like.
It is exciting to hear that the first phase of the Civic Auditorium’s theater renovation has been completed including updating the ceiling and walls, installing the HVAC systems, and re-installing seating for approximately 400 people.
The next phase is restoring the lobby. Towards that end, the Civic has received a significant pledge from an anonymous donor but is looking for donations to match it. This season consider giving to the Civic Auditorium – the place “Where It Happens”.  
And speaking of happenings, the Trail Band will be returning to the Civic Auditorium for their annual Christmas concert on Monday, December 11th. Tickets are $25 which can be purchased at Klindt’s Booksellers, the Civic or online at
The name of the television spy series starring Robert Vaughan as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Illya Kuryakin was the Man from U.N.C.L.E. (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement). (I received correct answers from Diana Weston, Jerry Phillips, Jim Ayers, Sandy Haechrel, Don McAllister and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket Tiiu Vahtel.)
Throughout the history of pop music there have been “novelty” songs – from Ray Steven’s “Gitarzan”toWeird Al” Yankovic’s “Eat It”. This week’s “Remember When” question is about a 1958 novelty song. When a young man couldn’t get a woman to return his love for her, who taught him to say the magic words “Ooo eee, ooo ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bang bang”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a recording by the Chipmunks.
Well, it’s been another week, preparing for the coming holidays. Until we meet again, as Helen Lynch recently told me, “Keep your feet and mind going”.

“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” Doug Larson

Aging Well in the Gorge November 7th 2017

During the holidays, when you are spending time with family, it can often be frustrating trying to follow the conversations if you have hearing loss. Having poor hearing myself, I find it hard enough listening to my wife at home with no distractions. But she also knows the frustration and can get, should I say, a little irritated when I ask her to repeat herself for the 10th time. (Actually, it never gets that far – after the third time it usually is a loud “Never mind!”.)
But I have found some tips that can help improve communication when talking with someone with hearing loss.
The first are common sense: do not talk from another room; speak clearly, slowly, distinctly, but naturally, without shouting; pause between sentences or phrases; and keep your hands away from your face while talking.
But here are five tips you may not have thought of.
1. Say the person’s name before beginning a conversation. This gives the listener a chance to focus at the beginning of the conversation. 2. Tell the hearing-impaired person if the topic has changed. 3. Don’t just repeat over and over. Instead try to find a different way of saying the same thing. 4. If you are giving specific information — such as a phone number have them repeat the specifics back to you. Many numbers and words sound alike. 5. Pay attention to the listener. A puzzled look may indicate misunderstanding. (To avoid embarrassment, I often just smile and nod if I don’t understand.)
Also try to minimize extraneous background noise when talking. But if a noisy situation is unavoidable, like in a restaurant, consider the following: have the person with hearing loss sit with their back to a wall, avoid sitting near the kitchen and bar area, and if possible sit in a booth.
And finally, be patient. Hearing aids greatly improve the ability to hear but it doesn’t return the user’s hearing back to normal. They may hear the sounds but not understand the words. Or as I often tell my wife, “I heard you say something, but I have no clue what it was”.  
The Center’s Wednesday Lecture on Nov. 8th, at 11:00 will feature Rod Runyon who will share his experiences and the touching stories he heard while participating in the ten-day, 2,600 mile “Run for the Wall” motorcycle ride to honor military families. It will be a fascinating presentation.
National Geographic writer and explorer Dan Buettner identified five “longevity hotspots” in the world where the inhabitants live much longer than expected. By investigating the lifestyles of the inhabitants of these Blue Zones, nine lessons have been identified to help us all live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
The first is to “Move Naturally” which I described last week. The second lesson is to have a “Purpose” – your reason for waking up in the morning. There is evidence that knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
Sometime early next year the local Blue Zones Project with be conducting Purpose Workshops. Each workshop is a two-hour facilitated process to identify your gifts, talents, passions, and personal values to help you live a more fulfilled and intentional life with purpose. Until then, what are your reasons for getting out of bed on a cold autumn morning – besides a hot breakfast!
The player who was nicknamed “Mr. October” because of his baseball heroics in October (as when he hit three consecutive home runs in the clinching game six of the 1977 World Series) was Reggie Jackson. (I received correct answers from baseball aficionados Don McAllister, Jerry Philips, Jesse Birge, Jim Ayers, and this week’s winner of a free quilt raffle ticket, Vince Zanobelli.)
This television series ran from 1964 through 1968 and led the spy-fiction craze on television. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the television spy series that involved the two-man team of Napoleon Solo and the Russian Illya Kuryakin working for multi-national secret intelligence agency? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or drop it off with a copy of the show’s pilot originally titled Ian Fleming’s Solo.
Well, it’s been another week, enjoying the cycle of the seasons. Until we meet again, don’t let the blues be the only color in your life.

“One is never wounded by the love one gives; only by the love one expects.” Marty Rubin