Aging Well in the Gorge January 30th 2019

Over the last two years there have been major improvements to the Center thanks to the community’s support: the hundreds of individuals, foundations, The City of the Dalles, Wasco County, NWC PUD and Columbia Basin Care. An elevator has been installed, the upstairs restrooms remodeled, and all the old upstairs floors have been replaced – except one: the floor in the Deschutes room. The floor tiles are worn and falling apart – although there is one positive benefit from the floor. It reminds me how bad the dining room floor previously looked before the Center received a donation from Columbia Basin Care to replace it.
To raise funds to replace the Deschutes Room floor and for the Center’s operations, the Center will be hosting its Annual Fundraiser Dinner Auction on Friday, February 22nd sponsored by our friends at The Springs at Mill Creek, Schultens Motors and Cousins who will be catering the Cordon Bleu dinner. Doors open at 5:00, dinner served at 5:30 and the auction will begin at 6:30. But only one hundred tickets will be sold, so purchase your tickets early. The tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at the Center or Klindt’s Booksellers.
And what may be most important to some folks, the winning raffle ticket for the Chicken Coop will be drawn at the fundraiser. Purchase your Chicken Coop raffle tickets at the Center for $10 apiece or three for $25 dollars.
I know many of you don’t carry around an appointment book or have a smart phone to keep track of your schedule and appointments; and you may not even care what day it is. (If you’re retired isn’t every day Saturday?) So, I just want to remind you of two events coming to the Center in the next two weeks.
On Wednesday, February 6th at 1:00, Lucille Torgerson and Widge Johnson will be presenting their one-hour class, “As I Was Saying – Writing Your Life Story for Your Family, Friends and Yourself”. If you ever wanted to write down your life experiences to share with others, this will be a great place to start. I wish my mom and dad had written their life story so I would have a better idea of the challenges they faced and the accomplishments they achieved.
Then two days later on Friday, February 8th the Center is hosting a 50’s, 60’s 70’s dance with master DJ Randy Haines spinning his imaginary 45’s – plus trivia, Name That Tune and door prizes. It is an over 21 event because Freebridge will be selling beer and The Pines selling wine. But before you come, you may want to refresh your dance moves by watching YouTube videos of American Bandstand where I learned the latest dance moves. (Okay, maybe I should say watched. Because at dances, when I was forced to attend by peer pressure, you would usually find me along the wall trying to avoid eye contact with any girl – fearing some girl would actually want to dance with me! Anyone else remember being a wallflower back then?)
This is the last week for questions about “phrases we don’t hear anymore” and I hope it is one you remember. (I asked my wife the question and she had no idea. And she’s a smart cookie!) For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was someone called who was unpopular and just not fun to hang out with? And to give you a clue since this is a difficult one, the answer I am looking for is composed of two three-letter words. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write you answer on the back of an old dish cloth.
Well, it’s been another week trying to stay on the bucking horse as long as I can. Until we meet again, as I am frequently reminded, only your true friends tell you when your zipper’s unzipped.
Here’s one of those “Isn’t that the truth” quotes I heard from John Zalaznik describing how things turn upside down as we get older, “When I was younger, I exercised so I could stay well. Now I try to stay well so I can exercise.”
I didn’t receive the February menu in time for this week’s column because Denise Patton, the director of the Meals-on-Wheels program, had other things on her mind. She and Gary are first time grandparents! Congratulations.

Aging Well in the Gorge January 23rd 2019

It’s almost February, that time of the year when you find out whether you paid Uncle Sam too much or not enough. There are many excellent tax preparers in the Mid-Columbia region, but if your tax situation is relatively simple, there is free help available through AARP Tax Aide. And because Tax Aide is supported by federal and private grants as well as the AARP Foundation, it is open to all ages with a focus on assisting low to moderate income persons and families.
AARP Tax Aide begins Friday, February 1 downstairs at the Center and continues every Friday from 2:00 – 6:00 and Saturdays from 9:00 – 1:00 through April 12th. In addition, there are two other sites: Tygh Valley Community Center from 9:00 – 1:00 on Thursdays; and the Rufus Community Center in Sherman County on Saturdays where you’ll need to call 541-993-1054 to make an appointment. But be patient. With new software and tax laws, lines may be especially long.
For your Tax Aide appointment, you’ll need to bring several documents: last year’s tax return; government issued identification for both tax payer and spouse even if both are not present when the taxes are being prepared; and a Social Security identification card (original, photocopy or a photo on your smartphone) for all individuals listed on the tax return.
And finally, don’t forget the obvious: all tax documents or statements that show income received and all tax documents or itemized statement that show expense incurred by you and your family.
Lucille Torgerson, with the help of Widge Johnson, just finished writing her life story and found it to be an incredible experience. They would like to help and encourage others to write their own life story by sharing what they’ve learned. Their one-hour class, “As I Was Saying – Writing Your Life Story for Your Family, Friends and Yourself” will be on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:00 at the Center. If you ever thought about sharing your life adventures, you’ll want to attend this class.
Here’s your chance to step back in time – dancing to the tunes you grew up with: “Indian Love Call”, “Wooly Bully”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, “How Sweet It Is” and the favorite of one of The Dalles’ distinguished councilmen – “Wild Thing” at a “50’s 60’s and 70’s Party!” It will be held at the Center on Friday, February 8thfrom 6:30 to 9:30 – which is past my bedtime, but I’ll make an exception. (And remind me, what was so exciting about staying out late at night when we were younger? Was it because it showed our independence? Made us feel more adult like? Or did we just want more time after dark to “neck” with our steady?)
Music will be provided by master DJ Randy Haines plus Name-that-Tune, Trivia and door prizes. Ticket are $5 per person which you can purchase at the Center or at the door. And send me your favorite song request, the song that got you on the dance floor, to  mcseniorcenter@gmail.comor text me at 541-980-4645.
The Center will also be hosting its Annual Fundraiser Dinner Auction on Friday, February 22nd. The goal is to raise money for the Center’s operations but also to replace the Deschutes Room floor – the only floor upstairs that hasn’t yet been replaced. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at the Center.
Continuing with the theme of words seldom used anymore, this week’s “Remember When” question is, What was an inexpensive, delipidated old car called which was often the means of transportation for teenagers in the 1950’s? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write it on the fender of Archie Andrews’ red, open-top antique car.
The name of the dare used when the first dare was refused was a double dog dare or for those who liked to keep it simple a double dare. I received answers from Cheri Brent, Sandy Haechrel, Carol Earl, Jerry Phillips, Lana Tepfer, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Harold and Lucile Stephens. And I missed Jerry Phillips and Elaine who had answered galoshes. And going back even further to the blue plate special, I missed Carol Earl. Now have I caught up?
Well, it’s been another week throwing mashed potatoes against the wall – or is it spaghetti? – and seeing if it sticks. Until we meet again, let that “little light of yours” shine.
“Ever since the beginning … to keep the world spinning… it takes all kinds of kinds.” Miranda Lambert

Aging in the Gorge January 16th 2019

I still remember my cardiologist walking back into the exam room with a smile on his face and telling me, “Guess what? You have AFib.” (It does reduce the anxiety when your doctor gives you such news with a smile.)
You may also be one of the nine percent of older adults 65 or older who have Atrial fibrillation or AFib. I have learned one of the most serious complications of AFib is stroke. And if you are at five times greater risk of having a stroke, it is probably a good idea to be able to recognize the signs of a stroke and know how to respond. Every minute counts and fast treatment can lessen the brain damage and a stroke’s debilitating effects.
In their efforts to raise awareness about stroke, the American Stroke Association (ASA) and the National Stroke Association (NSA) promote the acronym FAST which stands for:

Facial drooping – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arm weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech difficulty – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
And Time – Don’t drive yourself to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call 911 for an ambulance so medical personnel can evaluate your condition and begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room. Stroke treatments that work best are available only if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours of the first symptoms, so note the time when any symptoms first appear.
FAST covers most but doesn’t cover all the signs and symptoms. If a person suddenly has trouble doing something they normally would be able to do, it’s possible it could be a stroke. In addition to facial drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulty, sudden confusion, trouble with their vision, sudden difficulty walking or a sudden severe headache are also possible symptoms.
Finally, it is helpful to know there are two types of strokes: hemorrhagic and ischemic. In a hemorrhagic stroke, a weakened blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds into the surrounding tissue. An Ischemic stroke is when a fatty deposit, or clot, obstructs a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain.
Ischemic strokes are much more common accounting for about 87% of all cases.
If your symptoms go away after a few minutes, you may have had a transient ischemic attack (TIA). Although brief, a TIA is a sign of a serious condition that will not go away without medical help. But because TIAs clear up, many people ignore them. Paying attention to a TIA can save your life. Tell your health care provider about your symptoms right away.
People with AFib are at greater risk of a stroke, but anyone can experience a stroke. In fact, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. If you want to learn more, the ASA and NSA websites offer detailed information including diagrams and animations about strokes and how they affect people.
I received two different correct answers for last week’s question. Cheri Brent, Louise Wooderson, Laura Comini, Lana Tepfer, Diana Weston, Sandy Haechrel and Mary Haas (this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket) remember calling the rubber boots you slipped over your shoes Galoshes. And Bob Haechrel and Gary Conley remembers them as overshoes. And from some week before (I lose track of what was when), I missed Cathy Wilson’s answer Oceans Eleven and she even emailed a picture of the Rat Pack – the personification of 60’s sophisticated cool; and Marta Moser and Ron Nelson who answered correctly “Blue Plate Special” all of whom are also winners of a quilt raffle ticket each.  
You may remember back in the day when someone would egg you on by daring you to do something – usually something you knew you shouldn’t. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was a dare called that was twice as challenging and used when the first dare was refused? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a DVD of the movie A Christmas Story.
Well, it’s been another week trying to keep my balance. Until we meet again, as hard as you may try it’s hard to have a big head when you keep making silly mistakes.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” Albert Einstein

Zging Well in the Gorge January 9th 2019

My wife and I are back home in The Dalles where it’s nice to once again sleep in your own bed and return into your regular routine. There is something to be said for the familiar.
It was a nice trip visiting my son and daughter. (I still don’t know what they really do.) And I think I passed another year where they won’t feel the need to take care of me – yet! But there was something I did for the first time – and no, it wasn’t bungee jumping.
Most of us probably don’t enjoy the patronizing attitude of some younger folks who often “assume” we can’t do anything on our own – that we have to be assisted opening doors, getting into a car or going online. I know they are trying to be nice and respectful, but couldn’t they just ask instead of assuming.
But once in a while it is expedient to play into those stereotypes – in other words, playing the “Age Card” to get out of a sticky situation.
That occurred when my daughter’s best friend invited us to dinner the night we flew in to San Diego. We hoped to spend the little time we had with our daughter, so for the first time we decided to play the “age card” and asked my daughter to tell her friend, “You know, my parents are older, flights wear them out and they do go to bed awfully early!’ And it worked. No hurt feelings and we spent more time with our daughter.
I would be interested to know if you ever played the “Age Card” – when you didn’t want to change a tire or repair a leaking pipe under the sink when knew you could. Email me your experiences to
The Center’s AARP Smart Driver class occurs every third Monday and following Tuesday of each month – and if you check your new 2019 calendar that means the 21stand 22nd of January. The class is from 8:45 am to 12:05 pm on both days and the cost is $20 ($15 for AARP Members). Call (541) 296-4788 to sign-up. And after the class, you can enroll in CarFit – a free 20-minute session which helps you adapt to your car, and adjust your “fit” within it, in order to reduce your risk of injury during a crash.
They say people are more afraid of giving a speech than dying. But I would rank above both of those dancing on stage in front of your friends. That’s why I admire anyone who participates in “Dancing with the Gorge Stars”.
This fundraiser for the Mid-Columbia Community Concert Association will be held Friday, January 11th at 7:00 PM at The Dalles High School. If you aren’t familiar with the event, it is where six friends and neighbors from the Gorge are paired with a professional dancer from the Utah Ballroom Dance Co.; practice a dance routine for hours; and then perform it in a beautiful costume – which sounds pretty intimidating to me but makes for a very entertaining evening. You can purchase tickets at the door or at Klindt’s Bookstore, Lines of Designs and The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce.
The term commonly used by diners and cafes from the 1920s through the 1950s that referred to a low-priced meal was a “Blue Plate Special”. (I received correct responses from Cheri Brent, Jeannie Pesicka, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Mary Davis who emailed me an online clipping of a 1926 ad in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper for Halloran’s “Landmark for Exceptional Cooking” which served Blue Plate Specials. And from the previous week, the only response I received was from Cheri Brent.)
When I was a child there were many things I was made to do by my mother that I didn’t enjoy. One was when on rainy days I had wear over my shoes those thin rubber boots with buckles. Because they had to be tight fitting, they were always difficult to put on and take off. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what do you remember calling those rubber boots you slipped over your shoes? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a forecast for heavy rains.
Well, it’s been another week wondering what lessons I’ve learned. Until we meet again, you always discover something new when you’re lost.
“If you want an interesting party sometime, combine cocktails and a fresh box of crayons for everyone.” Robert Fulghum

Aging Well in the Gorge January 2nd 2019

Do you still make New Year’s resolutions? My resolution had been to decide what I want to be when I grow up – and I’m running out of time! But you may have something more practical such as one of the most common resolutions: losing weight and exercising more.
If your resolution is the latter, here are six suggestions from the National Council on Aging on how to move more and sit less during the winter months when the temperatures drop, sidewalks are slippery, and winter weather hinders outdoor activities.
1. Explore arthritis-friendly exercise videos. Check out these short videos with exercises focused on reducing joint pain through stretching and building strength. There are options for working out your upper and lower body, as well as trying out Tai Chi, all in your own home.
Also, the Arthritis Foundation’s “Walk With Ease” self-directed program is a physical activity and self-management intervention developed for people living with arthritis and/or other chronic health conditions who want to be more physically active.
2. Find an exercise class near you. It can be hard to stay motivated while exercising alone. Find an exercise class that can offer different options for activities and provide an opportunity to meet up with friends. You can find classes at Water’s Edge, The Dalles Fitness and Court Club and at the Center. One popular class that has been proven
effective is “Strong Women” (and men) which is available at the Center and CGCC.
3. Go mall walking. Okay, you aren’t going to find an indoor mall in The Dalles, but you can walk a good number of steps around Home Depot – if you don’t stop to check out the latest refrigerators or power tools. There is a “Mall Walking Resource Guide” found at
4. Take steps to prevent falls. If you do walk outside, take precautions to avoid slips and trips on icy sidewalks. Check out how you can “Winterize to Prevent Falls” at
5. Get a workout to go. Go4Life’s “Workout to Go” guide has several options for exercising in your own home, including hand grips, wall pushups, and arm raises.
6. Find an indoor community pool or track. We don’t have an indoor track – at least until the Youth Center is built, but there are pools available at Water’s Edge or The Dalles Fitness and Court Club.
Whatever you do it needs to be fun. It can’t be a chore. And the mantra “No Pain, No Gain” you can forget. You aren’t preparing for the Olympics. Remember to take your time. You aren’t exercising the body you once had, but the body you now have!
“Give the Gift of Warmth” is the theme of this year’s Annual Blanket Drive hosted by the Wasco County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). On Saturday, January 12, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at 523 East 3rd St. (across the street from Sawyer’s Ace Hardware) you can drop off NEW or gently used (and washed) blankets, socks and other warming items. All items collected from this drive will be donated to The Warming Place in The Dalles, and to Gilliam & Sherman County Emergency Management.
For more information about this blanket drive or the Medical Reserve Corps, contact Tanya Wray at (541) 506-2631 or visit the North Central Public Health District webpage at
The name of the 1960 American heist film starring five of the Rat Pack: Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop was Ocean’s Eleven. (Once again because of the holidays I am writing this early, so I will include the correct responses in next week’s column.)
There are several colloquial phrases I remember from growing up in Indiana that I seldom hear anymore. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the term commonly used by restaurants, especially diners and cafes, from the 1920s through the 1950s that referred to a low-priced meal that usually changes daily? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with the 1926 advertisement in The New York Times for “The Famous Old Sea Grill Lobster and Chop House” where you could still get “a steak-and-lots-of-onion sandwich for a dime”.
Well, it’s been another week living day to day. Until we meet again, keep learning, moving and always keep dreaming.
“I know. I’m lazy. But I made myself a New Year’s resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have ’til December, right?” Catherine O’Hara

Aging Well in the Gorge December 26th 2019

Haven’t we been here before – reaching the end of another year wondering how it passed so quickly; hoping for the best but knowing around some corner we could be slapped in the face like a gust of wind on a frigid day. Do we play it safe, avoiding any corners and wishing for the best? Or do we work to make the best of every day?
Here are some tips from the Aging in the Gorge Alliance, with a few embellishments of my own, on how to make the most of every day particularly during the holidays.
Get out. Check your local newspaper for different events. There are usually many even during the winter months. Can’t drive? Invite a friend or family member to join you. Or have company over. Go for a walk and enjoy your neighborhood decorations.
Volunteer. Whenever there is a discussion of how to improve your health or ways to be happier, volunteering is always mentioned. And there is a reason. Helping others can counteract stress, anxiety, depression and increase self-confidence and a sense of purpose. Check out the Chronicle’s Gorge Giving Guide and you will find over fifty non-profits many of which need volunteers.
Drink responsibly. Drinking a glass of wine a day is a Blue Zone recommendation. But excessive drinking can increase feelings of depression. The recommended limit for older men is 14 drinks per week and 7 per week for older women.
Accept your feelings. There’s nothing wrong with feeling down from time to time. Be kind to yourself and reach out to family and friends.
Talk to someone. Having some holiday blues is usually temporary. However, lingering feelings of sadness can be a sign of something more serious. But help is available. Reach out to your health care provider if these feelings linger for more than 2 weeks. If you are dealing with any kind of grief, there is a Grief Support group lead by Gwen Thomas every first and third Thursdays at the Center at 10:30 am.
The end of the year means it’s time to renew your Center membership or if you are not a member to become one. The dues are $35 per person or $60 for a couple; and if you want to give a little more you can be a SUPPER DUPER member for $50 apiece. By becoming a member, you are supporting the Center’s mission of enhancing the community by sharing and caring.
After a week break, Saturday Night Bingo will be back in business on December 29thwith an “End of the Year” Party. It will be an exciting night because there’s a guaranteed payout of $1000 on the last game – no ifs or buts. And that is in addition to more than $1000 paid out in the other games. Come and enjoy an evening of fun and see if you are the lucky one who could take home $1000. The minimum buy-in is $10 and the games start at 6:00, but if you are new you should arrive by 5:30 to give yourself time to learn the games.
Meals-on-Wheels will be closed New Year’s Eve but open on New Year’s Day, so you can welcome in the new year with a delicious noon meal with friends. And although the Center’s classes are cancelled for Monday and Tuesday, the Center will be open most of the day in case you have questions or need medical equipment.
Bing Crosby starred in two Christmas classic films Holiday Inn with costar Fred Astaire and White Christmas with Danny Kaye.  (I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Jeanne Pesicka, Sandy Haechrel and the winner of a quilt raffle ticket Jerry Phillips.)
Last week it was movies with Christmas themes, so this week how about a movie about a New Year’s Eve heist. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the 1960 film about a plan to rob five Las Vegas casinos on New Year’s Eve and was the inspiration for a trilogy of heist films released from 2001 through 2007? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or write your answer on the back of a picture of the Rat Pack: Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop.
Well, it’s been another week waiting for the bell to ring in the new year. Until we meet again, may your dreams come true in the new year.
“Over and over I marvel at the blessings in my life. Each year has grown better than the last.” Lawrence Welk