Aging Well in the Gorge December 22nd 2021

There are many excellent centers and meal sites for older adults on both sides of the river, but I’ve heard many folks avoid places for older peopleBut why? Is it a fear of catching some kind of “old age” contagion causing you to lose your cognitive abilities, balance, or sense of humor?  

It’s just the oppositeCenters and meal sites offer opportunities to socialize, exercise, and share stories both funny and sadOkay, there are canes and walkers, but they are just tools to stay active and engaged.  

But what is “old”? 

You may have heard the common quote by Bernard Baruch who stated, “Old age is ten years older than I am”. And according to the 2009 Pew Research Study “Growing Old in America: Expectations vs. Reality,” he isn’t far off the mark. The study found that as people grew older, they felt relatively younger. Among adults 65 and older, 60% felt younger than their age. And for those between 65 and 74, a half said they felt 10 to 20 years younger. 

In terms of chronological age, academics have categorized old age into three subgroups: the Young Old 65-74, the Old 75-84, and the Oldest Old 85 plus. But chronological age doesn’t really help either because it doesn’t correlate with biological age. In fact, there is no reliable measurement for determining our biological age; and appearances alone don’t determine how old we are. (My lungs could be 45 but my knees are telling me, “Take it easy. I’m 101!) 

The reality is we all start aging the moment were born; we cannot stop it or reverse it – contrary to what you may hear. Arriving at the point of being “old” is an individual experience that resists any absolute definition.   

But for me, I’ve found some signs that maybe, just maybe I am no longer that young whippersnapper(Well, that’s a clue. Who uses the word whippersnapper anymore!) 


Here are several clues I’ve found. 


1.) I don’t know the names of current celebrities unless they are over 65.  

2.) When I fly, TSA no longer considers me a highsecurity risk. 

3.) An elderly woman in Portland was reported hurt and was 10 years younger than I am. 

4.) When someone asks for help moving furniture, they look right past me. (But I’m not complaining!) 

5.)  I’m bundled up in a winter coat and scarf and high school kids are walking around in T-shirts. 

6.) I fall asleep in the evening while watching television and my wife must explain what just happened.  

7.) You turn to the classic rock station and it’s playing 80’s music. (What’s that about!) 

8.) I prefer to stay in rather than go out. 

9.) Items from my youth are now considered “vintage”. 

10.) When telling a story, begin with the disclaimer, “I may have told you this before.” 


As Helen Hayes once said, Age doesn’t matter unless you are a cheese – or unless you are applying for Social Security and Medicare! 


The cap Fess Parker made famous in the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett was a coonskin cap and the talking doll popular in the 60s that could speak when you pulled the string from her back was a Chatty Cathy doll. I received correct answers from John McEwen, Emmett Sampson, Susan Ellis, Stephen Woolpert, Tina Castanares, Pat Cadwell, Margo DameierGene Uczen, Jess Birge, Nancy Higgins, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Jim Tindall, Keith Clymerand Rebecca Abrams, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And in the last two weeks, I missed Susan EllisMaureen Wells, and Keith Clymer. 


There are many Christmas traditions I remember as a child and I continued with my children. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what popular snack (without the butter and salt) was strung together with a needle and string to decorate a Christmas tree? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a bag of cranberries which was common addition to add to the string. 


Well, that’s another week – spinning my wheels on the icy road of life. Until we meet again, let the sleigh bells ring; the treetops glisten, and your heart be light – as I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. 


“Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” Bing Crosby 

Aging Well in the Gorge December 15th 2021

How many times have I been told what is good for me, but I still don’t do it? For example, I know I shouldn’t eat that second bowl of ice cream. (I probably shouldn’t eat the first bowl, but you can only do so much!) Or eat that candy bar because its high in sugar. Or that piece of pizza that is low in sugar, but high in sodium. So what can eat? I know – vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats such as olive oil – basically Mediterranean diet. But I grew up in the Midwest, meat and potato country, where a good meal was plenty of it.  So, I am not predisposed to eating right and it can be hard to change.  

BJ Gallagher, contributor to HuffPost an online news source, knows its not easy to change habits but has some ideas on how to stay motivated to do what you know is good for you 


Drop “should” and “ought” from your vocabulary 

These are negative words driven by a sense of guilt. Instead, try using “want” which is positive“I want to eat less sodium”“I should eat less sodium.” See the difference? 


Keep It Small and Simple.  

Set yourself up to succeed by setting small, achievable goals. To start walking, try walking around the block once; then gradually increase the distance. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 


No one can do it for you, but you can’t do it alone.  

When you go walking ask a friend to join you. Or if you want to exercisejoin a Strong Women’s or water aerobics classKnowing friends are expecting you is a great motivator – plus you can catch up on the latest news.  


Success is about progress, not perfection.  

As you’re moving in the direction you wantpat yourself on the back. Or reward yourself. Buy that pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Oops, bad example! But give yourself credit for successes even if they are small ones.  


Re-train yourself with love.  

We want the best for our children because we love them. The same can be said for ourselvesIf we care about ourselves, what we should do becomes what we want to do, and we can start changing old habits 


We’ll soon start a new yeara new beginning to do for ourselves what we want” to do. It’s possible but it won’t be easy. As Mark Twain wisely pointed out: “A habit cannot be tossed out the window. It must be coaxed down the stairs one step at a time.”  


Now, anyone for more fruits and vegetables? 


Let’s see if I can get this right. From two weeks agothe state laws that prohibited certain types of retail operations on Sundays particularly liquor stores were called Blue Laws.  I received correct answers from Emmett Sampson, Steven Woolpert, Susan EllisDoug Nelson, Pat Cadwell, Janet Hinkley, Lana Tepfer, Rose Schulz, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Pat Kelly, Mike McFarlane, Carol Hayes, and Leo Walton winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I missed Tiiu Vahtel 


For last week’s question, the voice of the mean old Grinch (and the narrator) in the 1961 animated television special How the Grinch Stole Christmas was Boris Karloff who also starred in the 1931 horror film Frankenstein. I received correct answers from only Gene Uczen, Emmett Sampson, and Keith Clymer all of whom are winners of a quilt raffle ticket.  


This week’s “Remember When” questions are about gifts you may have received during Christmas pasts. For the boys, what kind of cap did Fess Parker make famous in the Disney miniseries Davy Crockett? And a tough one for the girls. What was the name of the talking doll popular in the 60s that could speak different phrases including “I love you” when you pulled the string from her back? E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a book of S&H Green Stamps. 


Well, it has been another week waiting anxiously for the first snowUntil we meet again, even with two strikes against you, youre still in the game. 


“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me! I want people to know ‘why’ I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way and some of the roads weren’t paved.” Will Rogers 

Aging Well in the Gorge December 8th, 2021

During this time of the year, why would I write about the difficult subject of grief and loss? Isn’t this the time to enjoy the Christmas decorations, the “Merry Christmas” greetings, and singing Joy to the World? loss? 

Yes, but the loss of a loved one can be particularly challenging during this season when memories of Christmasetogether come flooding back, along with all the conflicting questions associated with grief: Shouldn’t I be over this? Why can’t I feel happy? 
Or maybe during this season, there is someone you know who is experiencing the loss of a loved one; needing your support by being open and present to their often silent sadness, but not knowing what to say.  

It’s never easy, but to help get through these difficult situations, I’d like to share a few brief suggestions. 


If you are grieving,  


Accept the grief – do not try to “be brave”. Share your grief with family or a friend and if a friend tells you to “snap out of it” find another friend.  


Keep busy – do work that occupies your mind. 


Take care of yourself – you may feel you don’t care but that will change. You are important and valuable 


Eat well – at this point in your life you need good nourishment.  


Exercise regularly – return to your old program or start a new one soon.  


Get rid of the imagined guilt – you did the best you could. If you made mistakes accept that you, like everyone else, are not perfect.  


Associate with old friends – this may be difficult, because some may be embarrassed by your presence, but they will get over it.  


Join a group of others who are sorrowing – you may need new friends who have been through your experience. If interested, Providence offers grief support. Call 541-387-6449. 


Postpone major decisions – for example, wait at least a year, if you can, before deciding to sell your house or change jobs.  


Take advantage of your religious affiliations, if you have one – if you have been inactive this might be the time to become involved again.  


Get professional help if needed – There comes a time to stop crying and to live again.  

You may not be grievingbut if you know someone who is, what do you say? Often just listening, and a simple “I’m sorry or a hug can show you care. And although tempting there are some things you may not want to say. For example: 


“I could never handle what you are going through!” Don’t talk about how their loss affects you, or project what you would do.  


Anything that starts with “At least”Don’t try to force the person to be positive or to lighten their mood by saying something you think is funny about their situation.  


You’ll see her again someday.” Be careful referencing religion unless you’re certain the bereaved shares your faith. 


Stay strong”Avoid telling them how to feel. They are in a difficult place and will move through their grief in their own way. 


As we age, we will all experience the loss of loved ones. We will cope and carry on; and as Thomas Attig points outwe will meet the most difficult challenge “making the transition from loving in presence to loving in separation.” 


Oops, I ran out of space trying to cover too much. Next week I won’t be so wordy and will include the answer to last week’s “Remember When question. 


But for this week, before Jim Carrey’s Grinch stole Christmas, there was an animated television special of the children’s classic, first shown in 1966. For this week’s “Remember When” question who was the voice of the Grinch (and also the narrator) playing one of his final roles? E-mail your question to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of the 1931 science fiction horror film Frankenstein. 


Well, it has been another week kicking down the cobblestones and feeling groovyUntil we meet again, keep searching because you never know what you’ll find. 


“To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep stepping.” Chinese Proverb 


Aging Well in the Gorge December 1st 2021

During one of my regular ZOOM chit-chats with my sister (you know – football, the weather, kids, latest aches and pains) she threw me a curve when she asked “What have you learned from working at the Senior Center? What immediately came to mind was to stay socially connected and keep moving. Good advice, right? But after several days of reflection, I should have answered “You need to learn to accept and adapt”.

As we age, we experience changes we never thought would happen – uncooperative bodies, memory lapses, and personal losses.  But it is important to accept “the way it is” – this new and often challenging reality. But accepting is not the same as “giving up” – if you identify ways to adapt. For instance, if it is getting difficult to drive, avoid complicated intersections. Or if it is difficult to read because of poor vision, listen to books on tape.

Although we may wish we could just take off our shoes, kick back and relax at this stage of our lives, we know it isn’t that easy. But the good news is that with effort, creativity, and perseverance, we can accept and adapt – and make the remaining years of our lives both purposeful and rewarding.

What are the most meaningful gifts you’ve received…or given? In this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder” several individuals shared the most meaningful gifts they’ve received. One was a quote attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt which reminded me of another quote of hers that I feel is fitting for this holiday season.

“A mature person is one who does not think in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned there is both good and bad in all people, and in all things and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

This season is a marvelous time of the year: holiday music, bazaars, and visits with the grandkids. But that may not be the case for many of you. During this time, you may feel down, a little depressed or you just have the blues. But if so, what do you do?

One answer is P.E.A.R.L.S. – a program that helps older adults reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression through eight weeks of one-on-one counseling. From trained facilitators, you will learn ways to solve problems and overcome challenges; set goals; and add pleasurable activities to your life – and get where YOU want to go. For more information call 971-718-6226.

If you appreciate the contributions of art, cultural and historical non-profits, you have until the end of this year to donate to a qualifying nonprofit and the Oregon Cultural Trust to receive a matching Oregon tax credit. All you do is donate to any of Oregon’s arts, heritage, and humanities nonprofits which includes forty in Hood River, Sherman, and Wasco counties (listed at Then make a matching gift to the Cultural Trust to claim your contribution to the Cultural Trust as a tax credit. The Oregon Cultural Trust funds county Cultural Trust Coalitions that annually distribute $500 to $1000 grants to area schools and non-profits.

The singer and jazz musician who first recorded “It’s a Wonderful World” in 1967 was Louis Armstrong or as many pointed out “Satchmo”. I received correct answers from Gene Uczen, Barbara Cadwell, Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Rose Schulz, Keith Clymer, Susan Ellis, and Janet Hinkley, this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Catherine Whalen, Rose Schulz, and Tiiu Vahtel – I think.

My wife and I were discussing how most stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day which reminded us of the state laws that “back in the day” prohibited certain types of retail operations on Sundays particularly liquor stores. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what were these laws commonly called? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of Samuel A. Peters’ General History of Connecticut (1781),

Well, it has been another week, realizing I’m often the oldest person in a meeting! Until we meet again, enjoy the hidden fruits of the season.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”  Thornton Wilder

Aging Well in the Gorge November 24th 2021

Well, it’s the beginning of the holiday season – when we enjoy the company of family and also gain seven pounds by the start of the New Year! But while visiting with parents, children, grandchildren, or all three, it can be difficult navigating around and through past hurts and slights that are brought to family gatherings along with gifts and holiday treats.

But I found this advice that might help avoid the traps and difficulties often encountered at family gatherings. It is from the website Next Avenue (, a service of several PBS stations that offers advice for older adults.

First, bury the hatchet (and although tempted – not in someone’s back!). You may not forget past wrongs but try to maintain a spirit of forgiveness.

Second, keep your mouth shut! Well, not exactly. But hold your tongue – even when they have it all wrong! Follow the advice of Rumi, a 13th Century Persian poet and philosopher, who suggested before you speak let your words pass through three gates. “At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask, ‘Is it kind?’”

Third, simplify and reduce stress. Don’t be totally worn out when guests arrive. Determine ahead of time what is essential and what is not. And skip what is not.

Fourth, sneak in a few breaks to relax before, during and after the gathering.

Fifth, reinvent your traditions. Find a new location for the gathering. Or go as a family to help volunteer for a community event. Think outside the turkey roll.

Sixth, rethink your gift-giving. Give “experience” gifts: tickets to the theater or a gift card to a restaurant they would not normally visit. Or donate on behalf of your loved one to a non-profit. (Great idea. But I’m not sure that will go well with the grandkids!)

Families are our support system in times of trouble; our connections to the past and future. And when families are so scattered and often disconnected, the time together is a special time to be enjoyed and savored.  

A while back I challenged you to decipher several humorous quotes where I removed most of the vowels – a tough assignment. This time it will make it a little easier. Here are a couple more quotes from two famous comedians – this time spelled backwards. Good luck.

“.secalp esoht ot gniog tiuq ot em dlot eH .secalp owt ni gel ym ekorb I rotcod eht dlot I”

Henny Youngman

“!srorriM ?elbmuh em speek tahw wonk uoY” Phyllis Diller

The hair care product that used the catchphrase” a little dab’ll do ya” was Brylcreem. (You may also remember Edd Byrnes played Kookie on the 1958-1964 TV series 77 Sunset Strip and recorded “Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb” with Connie Stevens.) I received correct answers from Steven Woolpert, Susan Ellis, Sam Bilyeu, Jess Birge, Rhonda Spies, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Doug Nelson, Rose Shultz, Pat Evenson-Brady, Linda Frizzell, Keith Clymer, and Lana Tepfer, who I missed last week but this week is the winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And I missed Rus Hargrave from several weeks back.

Tis the season to be grateful and one particular song expressing that feeling is “It’s a Wonderful World”. The song was recorded and released in 1967 but sold poorly in the US although it was number one on the British pop charts. But in 1987 it was featured in Good Morning, Vietnam starring Robin Williams and became a major hit. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what singer and jazz musician first recorded the song? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a copy of “Hello, Dolly” his most successful recording.

Well, it has been another week waiting for the curveball to zip around the corner. Until we meet again, from Oprah Winfrey, the entertainment mogul, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.

“My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor.” Phyllis Diller

Aging Well in the Gorge November 17th 2021

 Okay, I admit it. I have hypochondriac tendencies. I’m always asking myself if this dark lesion or sharp pain or tiredness is a sign of something serious; and whether I should make an appointment with my primary care provider?

And then when I do, they relieve my immediate concern for the visit but during the exam, I’m asked if I have experienced a variety of other symptoms. Now I have more things to worry about! It’s not easy dealing with your ailments – both real and imaginary.

So, what medical symptoms should you not ignore? In an article for UC San Diego Health, an academic medical center in San Diego, Scott LaFee identifies ten.

1. Chest pain: Extreme discomfort that feels like squeezing, pressure or tightness. May be accompanied by pain radiating down an arm, nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulty breathing.

2. Shortness of breath: A sudden feeling that you’re breathing faster than usual, without obvious explanation, and without good effect. Worsens when you lie flat or exert yourself. Wheezing or gasping.

3. Sudden intense headache: This is head pain, unlike anything you’ve felt before, peaking in seconds or minutes.

4. Unexplained weight loss: Losing more than 5 percent of your body weight without trying in less than six months.

5. Unusual bleeding: For example, rectal bleeding or black or tarry stools. Or bloody vomit.

6. High or persistent fever: Anything 103 degrees Fahrenheit or higher warrants an immediate trip to the doctor, without exception. A low-grade fever (somewhere around 100 degrees) for several weeks with no obvious cause should also be checked out.

7. Sudden confusion: Or inexplicable changes in personality, aggression, or an inability to concentrate.

8. Swelling in the legs: Persistent, accumulated fluid (edema) in the extremities.

9. Sudden or severe abdominal pain: Centralized around the belly button. Sharp and unexpected.

10. Flashes of light: Bright spots, flashes, or other visual disturbances.

Most of my concerns are not serious: that dark lesion is not melanoma, feeling off-balance is not the result of a brain tumor, and fainting in the bathroom during the night is not because of a heart problem. Okay, that last one was a heart problem!

Knowing the difference between when to wait and when to see a provider is important. But I often remind myself there is more to life than unnecessarily worrying about the next medical problem. Instead, I can worry about something important: whether my favorite football team will win! To learn more, the article by LaFee is posted at under the HEALTH tab.

I periodically mention fall prevention because each year three million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. I’ve done that, been there, and don’t want you to enjoy the same experience. (I now make sure I ALWAYS hold on to the handrail.)

To prevent falls, the CAPECO Area Agency on Aging and Providence Health & Services are partnering to offer a free fall prevention webinar on Monday, December 6th, from 1-3 pm. During the webinar, you will learn how medications, footwear, and home environment can keep you safe and on your feet. You can register by calling 541-506-3512 or by emailing

This singer, piano player, and songwriter famous for his over-the-top stage costumes was Reginald Dwight better known as Elton John.  I received correct answers from Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Gary Van Orman, Steven Woolpert, Emmett Sampson, Gene Uczen, Dave Lutgens, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, Susan Ellis, and Kim Birge this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This week’s “Remember When” question comes from the category “Classic TV Commercials”. What men’s hair care product used the jingle “. . . a little dab’ll do ya/Use more, only if you dare/But watch out/The gals will all pursue ya/They’ll love to put their fingers through your hair.” E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or leave it with a comb used by Edd Byrnes.

Well, it has been another week, enjoying the rain. Until we meet again, bad always looks better after it gets worse.  

“To know what you want to draw, you have to begin drawing it.” Pablo Picasso

Aging Well in the Gorge November 10th 2021

You’ve heard the condescending stereotypes about older adults. We’re frail and tired, a drain on society, poor memories, set in our ways, uninterested in new technologies (most older adults own a smartphone! But do we have to be on it all the time?), unable to make important decisions, and contribute little to our communities. 

To paint a different picture, this year’s Wasco County Ageless Awards highlight the valuable contributions of older adults seventy-five and older by recognizing this year’s recipients: Sherry Munro, Mary Davis and The Fort Dalles Floozies, Duane and Sue Powell, and Darrell France.

As with most volunteers they don’t want or need the recognition. Each has their own reason for contributing: the love of children and local history; to have fun and make people happy, because they’ve been volunteering since high school and stepped in when needed, or because they’re called by their faith to help others.  

As older adults we contribute in many different ways; by being grandma or grandpa nurturing our grandchildren; by connecting and sharing with neighbors and friends; by serving in our faith communities; by mentoring children and sharing an “old fashioned” perspective; by demonstrating how to rebound from adversity and how to laugh while doing it; and in the end, by showing how to exit gracefully from this life.

We know we are not the stereotypical caricature of “old”. Yes, some of us find the new technologies threatening. (Do I really want my best friend to be a robot?) Some of us are frail but with sharp minds and others physically fit with memories like a sieve. (I’ll count myself in that latter category.) And some of us may find it hard to make difficult decisions. But we all are valuable assets in our communities – which I worry many will not appreciate until they’ve traveled many more miles in their life journey.

Several weeks ago, when I wrote about Dave Barry’s book Lessons from Lucy, I asked if there were lessons you’ve learned from your cat. This week I received an email from Linda from Mt. Hood who shared three wonderful lessons she’s learned: get as much rest as you want at any time; eat a little bit at a time at any time: and enjoy a good rub. Any more lessons from your feline friend?

Were you able to decipher the two quotes from last week? I found them difficult even when I knew what the quotes were! If you haven’t figured them out, here they are.

“I’m at a place in my life where errands are starting to count as going out.”

“It’s weird being the same age as old people.”

The song released on January 27, 1956, that included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die” is “Heartbreak Hotel” sung by Elvis Presley.  I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Gary Van Orman, Steven Woolpert, Gene Uczen, Pat Cadwell, Kim Birge, Rhonda Spies, Keith Clymer, and Anna O’Donnell this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.

This week one more singer from the past – but also the present. This singer, piano player, and songwriter born in Middlesex County in England was immediately hooked on rock and roll when his mother brought home records by Elvis Presley and Bill Haley & His Comets in 1956 when he was only nine. Throughout his career he has recorded hit songs in six decades beginning with “Your Song” in 1971 and this year with “Cold Heart”.  For this week’s “Remember When Question”, what is the name of this performer known for his over-the-top stage costumes. Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with the lyrics to “Your Song” written by Bernie Taupin his longtime collaborator.

Well, it has been another week adjusting to the time change. Until we meet again, as we experience the challenges of aging don’t forget all the things that don’t need fixing.

“I decided to make sure my husband had a smile on his face every morning. Now I can’t keep sharpies in the house anymore.” Anonymous

Aging Well in the Gorge November 3rd 2021

 information to decide whether your current plan is still the best one for you. There are several optionsThere are local insurance brokers who understand the complexities of Medicare and can help you choose the best planOr you can call 541-288-8341 to speak with a SHIBA volunteer counselor whos not trying to sell you anything and can guide you through the Medicare maze 

Another option is to search for Medicare plans onlineBut as with anything online, be cautiousFor example, when I searched for Medicare plans the first site listed was at And then when I searched for Advantage Plans in my zip code, no Advantage Plans were listed even though I am currently enrolled in one. 


Another site listed was Medicare Advantage 2022 where you can “Compare plans, prices, and star ratings online. Some premiums as low as $0/month. That sounds good, sclick on that link where I learn By entering my contact information and clicking Next above, I consent to receive e-mails, telephone calls, text messages and artificial or pre-recorded messages from ” Well, forget that websiteI don’t need any more unwanted phone solicitations – I have enough!  


But to avoid the sales pitches and misinformation, the best website to visit for unbiased and accurate Medicare information is Medicare.govYou can tell it is an official federal government website because the website address ends with .gov. And remember only to share sensitive information on official, secure websites. How do you know? If you see https:// (not http://) or a symbol of a lock, it means your connection to the website is secure.  


Did you notice last week I mentioned the Through the Eyes of an Elder” column written by Susan Hess? It’s embarrassing (which happens way too often!) because itactually in this week’s paper. I know which day of the week it is, although Monday holidays can mess me up, but knowing which week? That’s a little more difficultSo once again, check out Through the Eyes of an Elder in today’s paper. 


Because you can’t have words without syllables and syllables without vowels, vowels are known to be rather arrogant – believing they are indispensable; belonging at the top of the alphabetic food chainSo see if you can read these two short quotes with the vowels removed and see how indispensable they really are.  


And to keep you from running out of the house screaming, kept the vowels in the most difficult word of each quote. Good luck! 


“_’m  _ t  a  pl_c_   n  my  l_f  wh_r_   errands   _r_   st_rt_ng  t   c_ _nt   _s   g_ _ng   _ _t.” 


_t’s  weird  b_ _ng  th_   s_m  _g_   _  _ld   p_pl_.” 


The name of the popular 1952 – 1956 comedy series starring Eve Arden as the sardonic high school teacher and Gale Gordon as the blustery high school principal was Our Miss Brooks. I received correct answers from Susan Ellis, Claire Zumwalt, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Lana Tepfer, Mike Nagle, Kim Birge, Pat Kelly, Mike Yarnell, and Elva Codinothis week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Susan Ellis and Mike Nagle and for some mystical reason, Ive missed Carol Earl several times. 


This week’s “Remember When” question is about a song released on January 27, 1956, that reached the top five on the Country and Western, Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, and Pop charts simultaneously. What was the name of the song that included the chorus, “You make me so lonely baby/ I get so lonely/ I get so lonely I could die”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788, or mail it with a picture of Alvin Krolik, the man who “walked a lonely street”. 


Well, it has been another week watching soap bubbles dance in the wind. Until we meet again, enjoy all the small things that make life worth living. 


“As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something.” – Hagar the Horrible   


Aging Well in the Gorge October 27th 2021

From the first public demonstration of network technology and the development of electronic mail in 1972, the Internet has revolutionized the computer and communications world. Today we can shop online at Fred Meyer and pick up our groceries and then go home and stream our favorite TV shows or log on to one of the many websites that offer more online classes in response to the pandemic. 

During the pandemic, I’ve had time to discover several websites offering a variety of classes. Two of my favorites are Oasis and Senior Planet. Both encourage lifelong learning by offering classes to learn and explore in this digital age. At Oasis Lifelong Adventure ( you can find virtual classes from “Cybersecurity Scavenger Hunt” to the “History of Halloween”; and at Senior Planet ( classes from “Easy-to-Follow Tai Chi” to “Streaming and Smart TVs”. 

Locally, Kerry Cobb will teach a virtual class on Modern Art. She will be using the book What Are You Looking At to tell “the surprising, shocking and sometimes strange story of 150 years of modern art” – without all the jargon and pretentiousness. The class will be online, but you can also watch her presentation at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center on the big-screen TV. 

Copies of the book are available to borrow or purchase at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center thanks to a grant from the Wasco County Cultural Trust. The ten-session class will be every 3rd Tuesday of the month from 11 – 12 beginning with the Impressionists on November 16th. The book isn’t required but you do need to register for the class by calling 541-296-4788 or emailing   

Most of us are fortunate. We still drive, have adequate retirement income, a house that is paid for, and now our children are buying us gifts – which we don’t have any room for! Life is good. But many older adults face various challenges: inadequate housing, inability to prepare healthy meals, poverty, isolation and loneliness. 

For those of you who live in The Dalles, you are invited to attend a virtual Community Conversation on Aging. Your voice will help identify our community strengths and the challenges older adults face in order to influence state and local policies. It is hosted by Age+ and will be held on November 4th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. Since it is virtual, you will need to register at to receive the link for the conversation. 

If you are concerned about the environment, you should read this month’s “Through the Eyes of an Elder”. Susan Hess writes about her passion to protect the environment and how in her 70’s, when most people are considered over the hill and tumbling down the back side, she started an online environmental magazine. Not all of us have Susan’s skills, but is there a passion of yours you want to revive?

The name of Hanna-Barbera’s space-age animated series portraying life one hundred years in the future was the Jetsons. I received correct answers from Emmett Sampson, Steven Woolpert, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Gene Uczen, Lana Tepfer, Rose Schulz, Dave Lutgens, Patty Burnet, Margo Dameier, Mike Yarnell, and Rhonda Spies,

this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. Last week I missed Mike Nagle.

I can’t remember where I placed whatever was in my hand two minutes ago, but I do remember this television series from 1952 – 1956 when I was just a wee boy. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the popular comedy series starring Eve Arden as the sardonic high school teacher and Gale Gordon as the blustery high school principal? Email your answer to the, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with a picture of Walter Denton from the 1956 Madison High School yearbook.

Well, it has been another week zigzagging from one distraction to another. Until we meet again, don’t forget to take time to take care of yourself.

“Nobody ever said that growing old would be easy. Just having to hold the newspaper out in your forties and then hair growing out of unusual parts of your body in your fifties. It’s tough on the ego.” – Geoffrey Rush

Aging Well in the Gorge October 20th 2021

 Last week I wrote about the three daily habits scientifically proven to make us happier and healthier: gratitudes, acts of kindness, and moments of silence. But maybe there is another way to learn how we can be happier, maybe a little less scientific, but just as meaningful. Dave Barry awardwinning humor columnist and book author surprisingly found a way: observing his “consistently happy” old dog Lucy.  

Dave Barry wrote Lessons from Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old Happy Dog because as he’s getting up in years (henow 74), he felt his constant companion Lucy could teach him a few lessons about being happy.  


Below are the seven lessons from Lucy. And I added a quote from the book for each lesson, because, well, I enjoyed the quotes. See what you think. 


First Lesson from LucyMake New Friends. (And Keep the Ones You Have.) “I’m going to think about Lucy – about the trustful, open, unreservedly joyful way she approaches everybody, and the happiness she clearly derives from her many friends.” 


Second LessonDon’t Stop Having Fun. (And IYou Have StoppedStart Having Fun Again.) Don’t settle for contentment. Don’t just stand around grinning. Get out there. It’s a wonderful world.” Life is too short to not be a part of something stupid. 


Third lesson: Pay Attention to the People you Love (Not Later. Right Now!) “In the end, all that really matters – all you really have – is the people you love. Not your job, not your career, not your awards, not your money, not your stuff. Just your people.” 


Fourth Lesson: Let Go of Your Anger, Unless It’s About Something Really Important Which It Almost Never Is. Lucy definitely gets angry. But not often, and this is the important thing  never for long. 


Fifth Lesson: Try Not to Judge People by Their Looks and Don’t Obsess Over Your Own “One of the positive aspects of aging is that, as you and your friends get old, you pretty much give up on being hot; you’re just happy just being not dead yet.” 


Sixth Lesson: Don’t Let Your Happiness Depend on Things; They Don’t Make You Truly Happy, And You’ll Never Have Enough Anyway“Lucy needs food and family. That’s all she needs now: that’s all she will ever need.” 


Seventh Lesson: Don’t Lie Unless You Have a Really Good Reason Which You Probably Don’t.  “Be like LucyAs the saying goes, iyou mess up, fess up. And do not be afraid to say these words: I was wrong. I made a mistake. I’m sorry. I apologize.” 


These lessons are not original, but they remind us we can learn how to be happy from all around us – even from Dave Barry’s old dog LucyBut now the essential question: Are there any lessons I can learn from my cat!?  


The name of the movie that depicted the societal tensions of the 1960s as two bikers traveled through the American southwest and south was Easy Rider. I received correct answers from Emmett Sampson, Steven Woolpert, Chuck Rice from Goldendale, Susan Ellis, Jeannie Pesicka, Doug Nelson, Barbara Cadwell, Gene Uczen, Kim Birge, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Rose Schulz, Keith Clymer, Joan Chantler, and Mike Yarnell this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket.  


As a young boy, Saturday morning cartoons were an obsession and I remember enjoying this one that portrayed life in 2062For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the animated series, Hanna-Barbera’s space age counterpart to The Flintstones, that included supersized flatscreen TVto virtually communicate with others; home treadmillsreclining massage chairs, and robots. (We don’t have robots to walk our dog YET, but there are Roombas to clean our floors!) E-mail your answers to, call 541-296-4788 or send it with the series’ theme song that reached number nine on the Billboard charts in 1986. 


Well, it’s been another week ducking and dodging – which isn’t getting any easierUntil we meet again, when was the last time you did something for the first time? 


“We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but we have to learn to live in the same box.” – Anonymous