Senior Living July 1st

Rumors can be the scourge of any organization or business. We appreciate the positive word of mouth but when it becomes negative and unsubstantiated, rumors can be destructive and hurtful. Vi Grant, a classic teacher of the old school who taught at Petersburg, dealt with rumors in her classroom by telling her student’s parents if they would only believe half of what their children said happened at school, she would only believe half of what they said happened at home.

I started thinking about rumors when a senior center member misunderstood the latest plans for the building expansion. Because the rooms on the plans were not clearly identified, she did not see a kitchen and concluded that Meals-on-Wheels was going to be moved out of the senior center. Considering the past history, I did not want that rumor to start. I called her back, had a nice conversation and clarified that Meals-on-Wheels was definitely included in the future plans for the Senior Center and in fact because what we were planning enhanced their valuable program, Meals-on-Wheels totally supported the expansion.

So for whatever reason rumors travel, misunderstanding, false assumptions, faulty memory (my excuse) or a need for something exciting to share, if you hear something that doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t appear to have any factual support, go to the source. Ask someone who should know. I am always willing to answer your questions and I am sure that is true in other organizations. It is in our best interests and also in the best interest of the community that false rumors are not spread.

Several weeks ago we raffled off a Senior Center Quilt and the winner was Dan and Aggie Adamson from Oregon City. They bought their winning ticket at the Senior Center’s Cherry Festival Breakfast when they came to enjoy the festivities. We now have another quilt to raffle and many have said it is even better than the last one, if that is possible. Stop by to see the new quilt hanging on the lobby wall, and buy your raffle tickets.

You are invited to a festive picnic in the Dufur City Park Saturday July 12th 11:00 am – 1:00, but by July 7th you need to make reservations by contacting Jackie Williams at 541-298-4065. The picnic is co-sponsored by the Dufur Historical Society and the Wasco County Historical Society. The cost is $8.50 per person for the BBQ sandwich, salads, desserts and drinks catered by Kramer’s Market. The musical entertainment will be provided by the Dufur Valley String Band. At 1:00 pm, the Dufur Historical Society will offer tours of the Metzentine Exhibit Hall, Endersby School, Schreiber Cabin and the newly renovated Kramer’s Market. And don’t forget the Dufur Threshing Bee from August 8 through the 10th.

Skip and Janet Tschanz are continuing their “1st Monday Hikes”. Their next hike will be on Monday July 7th and will be a “feast for the eyes and feet”. It is an easy hike starting at Starvation Creek Park and includes Lancaster Falls and a trek along a remnant of the Historic Columbia River Highway. Skip always knows the best places to hike at the best times of the year. It is suggested hikers wear traction soled walking shoes and to bring some water. Again we will carpool from the Senior Center at 10:00 a.m. With the price of gas, donations for the drivers are welcome, but not mandatory.

Once in a while when I am on the Coffeebreak with Al Wynn I get a little flustered (maybe I am just envious of his full head of grey hair) and spout off incorrect information. So to correct myself, the next Network on Aging meeting is Thursday July 10th from 3:00 – 4:30 in the basement of the Senior Center and not the earlier time I mentioned on the radio. The meeting is open to all professionals who help support seniors in order to network, learn more about issues in the field of aging and advocate for seniors. If you would like more information contact Sue Samet at the Area Agency on Aging at 298-4101.

On July 8th the Senior Center’s regular second Tuesday musicians, “The Notecrackers” will be playing their fine dancing and listening music from the 20’s through the 60’s. And tonight Truman Boler is back playing his Country Gold. Music starts at 7:00 and admission is always free but donations are kindly accepted. Everyone is welcome.

The mission of the Senior Center is to promote healthy aging by sharing and caring which can be summarized in three simple words: explore – connect – contribute. You can improve your health and attitude by exploring new opportunities and taking positive risks – although it may not necessarily mean taking a walk on the wild side – by connecting with others through shared experiences and stories and by contributing back to your community.

And there are so many ways to contribute. We rely so much on volunteers to make the senior center operate, and we are not the only ones. Most non-profits from Meals-on-Wheels to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center; from Big Brothers/Big Sisters to SMART and from our local service clubs to our local churches, all rely on a cadre of volunteers. The need is huge. To try to help fill the need and to provide healthy opportunities for seniors I will try to highlight a volunteer opportunity that just may fit your interests and time commitment. Volunteering is good for the community but it is also good for the soul.

That is it for another week. Until the next time, stay cool and listen before you leap.

“It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.” Errol Flynn

“There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” Winston Churchill

Senior Living June 24th

The fear of the unknown drives many of our decisions. We may not particularly like our current situation but its familiar and we know what to expect. In Connie Goldman’s book “Secrets of Becoming a Late Bloomer” she discusses the secret of risk taking that has helped folks find fulfillment and satisfaction in the third chapter of their lives. Positive risk taking is about moving beyond the unknown and engaging in life-affirming chances or risks that are reasoned, and appropriate.

The first step is deciding what you really want. What are your goals, your dreams and aspirations? Be honest, but positive. And writing them down will help clarify your goals. You have the best chance of success if you have a clear sense of purpose or a clear goal in mind.

No matter how old you are, everything you want in life requires some kind of risk and as we age this may be the best time to take the risks. We have less family responsibilities, the children have left home and started their own families, and we hopefully have less financial responsibilities with adequate savings and retirement to live modestly. With fewer responsibilities we have the time to be a little self-indulgent and make our lives better for ourselves and for our communities. That is if we want to, and if we are willing to take the risk.

There are many examples of people taking a chance to fulfill a life dream, but one close to my family is my mother-in-law, LaVine Rathkey. She was always interested in writing and ten years ago, retired and in her mid 60’s, she took a writing class offered by Chemeketa Community College at her local senior center. When the class was no longer funded, she and the group kept meeting as she continued to hone her writing skills. She never gave up on her dream and with the support of her husband, her first book, “Chalk Dust and Choices”, was just published.

You may not want to write a book. You may want to be an adventurous traveler and decide to attend Elderhostel classes. You may want to sing and perform in front of a live audience and decide to get your guitar and join the Jammers. Or share your interests and passions by teaching a class at the Senior Center. What do you have to lose? This may be the best time to jump into the unknown, take a risk and fulfill a life’s dream.

Some time in the past (the months all seem to flow together) the Senior Center was fortunate to host the Jammers – a bunch of friends sharing their talent and their love of music – for one of their Sunday afternoon Jam and Pie Socials. The dining room was packed, the music was great and everyone wanted them back. That day has arrived. They will play this coming Sunday, June 29thSenior Center. You never know who will show up but you do know it will be a great afternoon of music and entertainment. from 2:00 – 5:00. There will be pie and coffee for sale to raise a little money for the

On Tuesday July 1st you will have another chance for some fine musical entertainment. For the Tuesday Night Music program Truman Boler returns to the Senior Center to play his Country Gold. And tonight The Jazz Generations will be performing the Big Band sounds of the 20’s – 60’s. Music starts at 7:00 and is free and donations are appreciated. Everyone is welcome.

Today was the last Next Chapter Lecture for the summer. We will start again on the first Tuesday in September with more informative and stimulating presentations. I would like to thank all the folks who presented during this first series including: Jim Bishop, PK Swartz, Heather Runyon and Tara Donivan, Jason Corey, Jerry Jeffers, Jerry Tanquist, Jay Waterbury and Ed Goodman, Pat Case and Tina Castañares, Dean Dollarhide, Ryan LeBreton, Carola Stepper, Dan Ericksen, and Cassandra Mullins. Thanks also to Suzanne Burd, Susan Wolff and Dan Spatz from CGCC and to Joyce Powell Morin with MCMC for scheduling all of the fantastic medical folks including Dr. Stanley, Dr. Hodge, Dr. Matthew Proctor, and Susan Shipman.

I realized from an unnamed source that it is hard to hide your age when you announce you high school class reunion. But those of you from the 1968 class of The Dalles High School, listen up or detention after school. On Friday September 5th at 7:00 there will be a no-host get together at Spookys. On Saturday the 6th, there will be a brunch at 10:00 at the Chat-n-Chew, and then a class picture at noon in front of the High School. The day concludes with dinner and program starting at 5:30 at The Dalles Country Club. For more information visit the web site, or call Darlene France at 467-2371.

What better way to strengthen the gray matter between the ears than learning to play Bridge. Every Friday at the Senior Center from 1:00 – 3:00 the Bridge Club meets and is inviting anyone who wants to learn how to play Bridge as well as those who already know how. They are a supportive group that couldn’t intimidate a two of clubs. Take a chance and enjoy a friendly game of bridge.

I want to thank Dennis Morgan and all the realtors and staff at Windermere Realty for cleaning up the grounds around the Center. They spent a whole morning cutting back the ivy, pulling weeds and hauling debris. Every year Windermere staff takes a day off to work on a community project and the Senior Center was fortunate to be this year’s recipient of their community goodwill. Also thanks to David Zopf for taking care of the rose garden and to Mary McDonald for picking the roses for everyone to enjoy at the Center.

That is it for another week. Until the next time, “Remember that every day God is saying to you, ‘May I have this dance?’ ”

Senior LIving June 17th

Often as we age we settle into our familiar routines. They are comforting and provide a sense of control. We don’t have to think; it’s automatic. When I arrive at the Senior Center every morning, I unlock the basement door, turn off the alarm, unlock both front doors, turn on my computer, and start my daily tasks. When I am interrupted from my regular routine, I usually end up forgetting something. Routines provide a tremendous benefit in our daily lives, but because they are automatic and require very little mental effort, they do not increase the cognitive activity that helps strengthen our brains.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting that by engaging in new and novel activities that do not depend on automatice processing we can maintain or even improve our cognitive health. The key is to seek activities requiring cognitive effort where you actively focus on the task and give it enough attention to successfully complete the task.

Instead of engaging in a passive activity such as watching TV, try learning something new: a new card game, a new language, or how about tap dancing (you have to learn to use both your brain and your feet at the same time). Or join a book club, try a new Wii game, or learn how to use a computer – which will keep you busy and frustrated for many years.

It is even suggested you change the way you do simple daily tasks: drive home a different way, and observe the new surrondings; learn to eat with chop sticks and then change hands. Very few things maintain their novelty for very long, so we must constantly pursue new opportunities to challenge our brains. In the simplist terms; you either use it or lose it.

In order to provide a structured and challenging program to strengthen our brains, I would like to establish within the next year a Brain Fitness Gym within the computer lab at the Senior Center. At the National Conference on Aging I saw several computer software programs marketed to senior centers and retirement communities to help maintain cognitive health. If you or someone you know would be interested in helping start a Brain Fitness Gym get in touch with me. And in the mean time if you are interested in learning more about brain health check out the Sharp Brains website at

This coming Tuesday the 24th the Next Chapter Lecture Series presents “Managing your Medications without Mayhem or Mix-up. “ The presenters will be Icey Sheeran and Marcia Medler both RN’s from Visiting Health Services. Since most of all of us take some kind of medications and many on a regular basis, you should find this interactive presentation informative and helpful. This lecture will be the last one until September, so we can take the summer off to plan for the next season of lectures. If you have any suggestions or ideas for lectures or would like to speak about a specific topic, contact us at the Center 296-4788.

The Cascade Singers will present a farewell concert prior to a musical tour of the British Isles on Saturday, June 21, at St. Peter’s Landmark in The Dalles starting at 2 p.m. There is no charge for the concert, but donations will be split between Cascade Singers and St. Peter’s Landmark. The local concert is a “dry run” of the tour program after several weeks of intensive rehearsals.

And later that same day at 7:00 pm at The Dalles High School Auditorium, Maryhill Museum of Art is presenting a Jody Sperling/Time Lapse Dance production of La Noir, Dance of the Elements, and a preview of the new work, Ghosts, all inspired by the mesmerizing spectacles of Loïe Fuller’s dances. Artistic Director Jody Sperling — a choreographer, performer and dance scholar — combines research with imagination, to craft inventive, visually lush and often humorous dances. Sperling’s luminous works in the style of early modern dancer Loïe Fuller are a mainstay of the repertory. General Admission is $10.

On Sunday, June 22, 2008, 5:00pm – 8:00pm you can celebrate the 100 year opening of the Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur. Live music by Hardshell Harmony, catered dinner on the north lawn, and a vintage fashion show 1900’s – 1920’s with pieces from the Historical Museum of Hood River County. All proceeds will benefit the continued restoration and collection for the museum. Tickets are $40 and available by calling 541-467-2277 Seating is limited. Period dress is encouraged!

On June 24th, Tuesday Night Music at the Senior Center will feature “The Jazz Generations” playing their big band sounds. There is no excuse now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer. Music starts at 7:00 pm and everyone is invited, young and old. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted. And tonight the always popular bluegrass band “Hardshell Harmony” is performing.

This coming Saturday is the third Saturday of the month so you know what that means. You don’t have to cook breakfast! Edna Chandler and Bonnie Lobdell will be cooking up a fine breakfast at the Senior Center for your morning enjoyment. Edna has created four different menus that she rotates though out the year and this month’s menu includes: French Toast, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit and the regular beverages. This month’s sponsor is the Oregon Veterans’ Home and we appreciate their support. I remember when the late Fred Spivey and the Dalles Chamber of Commerce worked so hard to get the legislative support to build the Veteran’s home here in The Dalles. The Veteran’s Home is a real asset to the community and to veterans throughout the state.

That is it for another week. Until we meet again try something new, take a chance and explore new horizons. Your comfort zone is not always the best place to be.

Senior Living June 10th 2008

During the Cherry Festival, I had a chance to talk with Carl and Ruth Long whom I hadn’t seen for quite a while. As we were chatting, Carl mentioned how much fun they have had “geocaching”. They had traveled around Oregon and beyond looking for what one could call buried treasures. A little later I saw Lee Bryant, past director of the Senior Center. We shared the usual greetings and when I mentioned my conversation with the Long’s about geocaching, I found out that she was also an avid “Geocacher”. Within 30 minutes I had two conversations with folks who were so excited about something I had never heard of. I needed to know more.

I found that Geocaching is relatively new. It started in 2000 when the satellites circling the earth were upgraded increasing the accuracy of GPS technology by ten times, and GPS enthusiasts immediately started thinking of ways to use this new capability.

It wasn’t long before a few GPS geeks started leaving items in the woods to test the accuracy of the GPS system and posting the GPS coordinates on the internet. That allowed others to find the items using a GPS unit, an electronic device that can determine your approximate location (within around 6-20 feet) anywhere on the planet. Soon the word spread over the internet and folks started hiding their own caches and posting the coordinates on the new web site.

Part of Geocaching’s popularity is that it is a simple game: you hide a container (cache) and note the coordinates with a GPS unit, and with simple rules: take something from the cache, leave something in the cache and write about it in the logbook. What makes it intriguing is that a cache can be anything from some cheap trinkets to a $1000 bill. Since geocaching began there are now tens of thousands of caches hidden all over the world (28 caches hidden within 5 miles of The Dalles) with the locations posted on the geocaching website.

This is the modern equivelent of the treasuer hunt we all enjoyed as kids except this is for kids of all ages. You can learn more about this exciting new game, on Tuesday June 17th at 11:00 at the Next Chapter Lecture Series. Cassandra Mullins from Parks and Rec will discuss Geocaching: how to use a GPS unit, tips and tricks for finding your first geocache and how to set up an account on line. Don’t miss this presentation.

The Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music on June 17th will again feature “Hardshell Harmony” who play simple traditional bluegrass music and harmony vocals. Folks really enjoyed them the last time they performed at the Senior Center and I encourage you to take the night off, leave the dishes for another day, and stroll over to the Senior Center for a foot-tappin good time. This energetic group features Clint Miller on the fiddle, KC Kortge on the banjo, Mike Robarge on the lead guitar and Candie Robarge on the bass. And tonight the “Notecrackers” will be playing.The music always starts at 7:00 pm. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted. Music night is for everyone whether you are ten or a hundred years old.

Every Monday night from 7:00 – 8:30 is now Wii bowling night at the Senior Center. We also practice on Thursdays and Fridays after lunch for those who need the practice – although for some of us the more we practice the worse we get. We were honored to have Marc Berry, the mayor of Mosier, dropping by to try out his Wii bowling skills. We hope he will stop in again. Thanks to several donations we will hopefully have another Wii in a couple of weeks so will be able to accommodate more bowlers. Now if we can only get the new Wii “Fit” we can practice surfboarding without getting wet.

The Dalles Wahtonka High School class of 2008 graduated this last Saturday, the first graduating class that completed all four years in the unified district. High School graduation is a time when the whole community comes together; celebrates the end of these young peoples’ high school careers and wishes them the best as they move to the next stage of their life’s journey.

As the summer is a time for high school graduations, it is also a time for high school reunions. The Dalles High School class of 1958 will hold its 50th reunion July 31 through August 3, 2008. Contact Mike Fowler at or 541-980-7662 for more information. The Dalles High Class of 1963 will hold their 45-year class reunion September 19, 20 and 21. You can find more information at their website or contact Dennis Davis at 296-9580. Also The Dalles High School class of 1978 is trying to locate classmates for their reunion this summer. You can find the names of the missing classmates in the Entertainment section on The Dalles Chronicle website. For more information contact Carri at 298-1667.

And there is more. The Dalles High School class of 1988 will have its 20-year reunion during the weekend of August 1-3. Contact Suzy Sato by email at for more information. And The Dalles High School class of 1998 will hold its 10th reunion on June 27 and 28. All events and information can be found on their class website, or contact the reunion committee at

Well that’s a wrap for another week. Until we meet again, you don’t always need GPS because it is when we get lost that we find new wonders.

“You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but at least you can prevent them from making nests in your hair.” Old Chinese proverb.

Senior Living June 3rd 2008

I often include a humorous quote at the end of this column to lighten things up and to provide an incentive to read to the very end. But last week I ran out of space. So this time I am adding a little humor at the beginning. I shared this strategy with Rose and she asked if I wasn’t taking a chance that you wouldn’t read any further. Good point! So I am going to scatter a few quotes throughout as you travel the bumpy road to the end. (“An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.” Agatha Christie)

But it also started me thinking about the importance of humor, mirth (which I learned is the positive emotion that accompanies humor) and laughter. Dr. Steve Allen, Jr., son of the talk show host and comedian, said “Laughing, especially at yourself is the most powerful stress-releaser we have.” He goes on to suggest that humor not only reduces the body’s negative reaction to stress, it helps prevent such stress from occurring in the first place.

Humor is particularly helpful as we age, because it acknowledges the incongruities and absurdities of life and reminds us that we are all in this together. We all deal with the struggles and challenges of aging and yet we all are still alive and kicking and dancing or at least moving. As Bill Cosby said, “If you can find humor in a thing, you can survive it.”

The best laugh is always on ourselves (Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.” – Elsa Maxwell at age 75) or as Robert Fulton puts it “It is a matter of laughing with ourselves, not at ourselves.” One of these days I will share with you my most embarrassing moment – which still makes me smile and turn a little red- if I can gather the nerve. But what is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you? What makes you smile or laugh?

A sense of humor is very individual. Some can be offended while others find a joke hilarious (I left out several quotes because my wife didn’t think they were appropriate for such a young audience.) But I hope I have included a quote that made you smile. (Jack Benny, “I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”)

In June you will have another chance to take advantage of AARP’s Driver Safety Class promotion where two people (one with an AARP Card.) can take the class for the individual price of $10. To make this opportunity possible, the June class has been moved up a week to next Monday and Tuesday, June 9th and 10th from 9:00 – 1:00 each day. Call the Senior Center at 296-4788 to sign up for the class.

The Next Chapter Lecture on Tuesday June 10th at 11:00 will feature Carola Stepper, Board Certified Acupuncturist and founder of Cascade Acupuncture Center. She will discuss and demonstrate “Trigger Point Therapy” including practical instructions on how to release neck and shoulder tension. Bring a really stressed partner and learn how to loosen up. (“I heard a woman ask the doctor if it was okay to have children after thirty-five. I said, “Thirty-five children is enough for any women.” Gracie Allen)

Next Tuesday, June 10th at 7:00 pm at the Senior Center, the Notecrackers will be performing. We really appreciate their commitment to the Senior Center by performing every second Tuesday. And tonight Harold Gimlin and Friends are playing Country and Western. Show starts at 7:00. Free but donations gladly accepted.

We have scheduled a trip to the award winning Sherman County Historical Museum on Thursday June 5th. We will carpool from the Senior Center at 9:30, visit the museum and have lunch before we return. Their newest exhibit is the Conservation, Cultivation and Clothespins Exhibit which “tells the story of how gasoline and diesel power along with electricity changed the family farm.” We have many more day trips planned for the summer which I will mention in the coming weeks. (This is where I would have added the inappropriate quote by Groucho Marxs.)

It feels like the cost of food is rising as fast as gas which is especially hard on folks with fixed incomes. It also significantly affects Meals-on-Wheels whose federal funding has been fixed for many years. In their monthly newsletter they wrote, “Starting July 1st, 2008, we will be raising the ‘suggested donation’ to $3.50 for anyone over sixty and $5.50 for anyone under 60. We have worked very hard to keep the cost down, but found this is no longer possible with rising food costs. Less than a year ago, dry milk was around $40 for 25 pounds. It now costs $101.00 for 25 pounds. Eggs went from $12.78 for 15 dozen to $28 for 15 dozen. So the increase we are asking for will help pay for the food only. The last time that an increase was put into effect was in 1998.”

Meals-on-Wheels is also looking at possibly choosing a new name for the lunch time meal they serve in the dining room, since Meals-on-Wheels best describes the meals they send out for home deliveries. They would still be called Meals-on-Wheels but with a different name for the on site lunch. If you have any suggestions, call them a 298-8333.

That is it for another week. Until the next time, keep laughing. We can’t take life seriously all the time.

In difference to Elt Fadness the master of all Ole and Lena stories: Ole and Lena were at the drive-in movie. Ole says, “Say Lena, you wanna get in the back seat?” Lena says, “Naw, Ole, I’d just as soon stay up here with you.”

Senior Living May 27th 2008

I started reading a book called “Secrets of Becoming a Late Bloomer” by Connie Goldman and Richard Mahler that I heard about while attending the “Aging in America” conference.

The book tells the stories and secrets of how older adults transformed and brought new meaning to their lives becoming late bloomers, those “extraordinary ordinary people who defies the notion that his or her best years are over, someone who responds to the late stage of life not as a crisis but as a quest.”

One of the secrets Connie identified for staying creative, aware and involved in midlife and beyond is knowing who we are. For many of us, we lived our lives trying to be what others wanted us to be or would allow us to be. We became the role or position that we held: a respected manager, a caring parent or a successful adult athlete. But when we turned 50 reaching that half way point in our adult lives and began to see the end of our working career, or we got smacked in the face with some serious event that knocked us off our balance: a major illness, or a death in the family, these life events may cause us to question who we are and what do we really want.

Through greater insight and understanding particularly through the lens of experience we have developed over our many years, we have the ability to better understand who we are. We can begin to see the possibilities and opportunities and live our lives congruently, as one late bloomer would say, where “who we want to be” becomes the same as “who we are” and we stop worrying about who we should be.

Everyday I meet and hear the strories of extraordinary ordinary people: one who started singing in a local country western band, another who is learning to tap dance, another who started a college class in psychology, and another who taught a class on aging. It can go on and on.

By taking this step of finding who we are and what we want with honesty and without fear, we can redefine aging as a time of great potential for growth and opportunity with remarkable rewards. It is not easy but it is possible.

On Tuesday June 3rd, at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, Dean Dollarhide, financial representative for Northwest Mutual, will be discussing the The Myths and Realities of Long Term Care – The Basics”. Dean is another home town boy who has returned and is actively giving back to the community.

Next Tuesday Night, June 3rd, the music program will feature Harold Gimlin and Friends playing down home Country and Western music. Harold is well known in the local “jamming” scene and he and his friends will put on a really nice show. Tonight the “Jazz Generations” will be performing. The dancing always starts at 7:00 PM. The admission is free although donations are gladly accepted.

Tuesday is the Senior Center Night for music and dancing but Friday night is dance night at the Cherry Park Grange, 1002 Lambert St. in The Dalles. They have line and partner dance lessons starting at 7 p.m. followed by open dancing to DJ music until 10 p.m. It is open to singles and couples of all ages (kids, teens and adults) and only costs $3 per person, $5 per couple and $6 for the whole family. For more information, call 993-3540. And if you don’t want to dance the night away, there is Gospel Music every Thursday night and Karaoke Music on the fourth Sunday of the month from 7 – 10 p.m. All at the Cherry Park Grange.

On June 7th from 12 to 8 pm, you are invited to a Mosier Cherry Festival benefit for the Seniors of Mosier. It is described as an Octoberfest but in June. There will be food booths, arts and crafts, carnival games for the kids, bingo, desserts and dancing in the streets. For venders or anyone who has questions contact Bernie Evans at 541-490 6882. It sounds like fun and way to support the seniors in Mosier. Like many of us, Seniors of Mosier Valley are dealing with the transition from depending on the old guard to recruiting the younger newly retired seniors. They have been in existence for 28 years providing many activities including lunch every Monday and Wednesday in the community room at Mosier Creek Terrace. As Bernie Evans said, “The Seniors of Mosier Valley isn’t anything but a fun place to go relax and visit.”

Skip Tschanz has led three Wildflower Walks this spring, and he is willing to continue through the summer leading a hike on the first Monday of every month. The next hike on June 2nd is a moderate trail hike, less strenuous than last month’s Mosier Syncline hike, and has two great waterfalls, Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls plus the bridge over Oneonta Gorge. (And there could even still be some wildflowers.) Skip suggests hikers wear traction soled walking shoes to avoid slipping and sliding and to also bring some water. This hike will start at 10:00 a.m. and we should be back to the center by 4:00 p.m. We will car pool from the Senior Center and gas donations are welcome, but not mandatory.

Just a last reminder on Thursay May 27th at 1:00 at the Senior Center, Collette Tours will present information about trips to Branson, Missouri this October and San Antonio in March 2009.

That is it again for another week. It is always nice to have an extra day off. It gives you a little time just to catch up. So until we meet again, be true to yourself.

Senior Living May 20th 2008

As I mentioned last week, May is Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme is “Working Together for Strong, Healthy, and Supportive Communities”. By working together we can address issues at the national, state and local level to improve older adults’ overall quality of life and indirectly create better care and reinforce healthier communities for all ages.

In the Mid-Columbia we are finding additional ways to work together. Thanks to the Mid-Columbia Medical Center and the Area Agency on Aging, many of the senior providers meet annually to prepare for the Senior Expo as part of MCMC’s Health Fair during the Cherry Festival. To continue these conversations beyond the Cherry Festival, a ”Network on Aging” has been formed for professionals who work in areas related to aging to provide an opportunity for networking, education and advocacy. The first meeting of this professional group will be June 5th from 8 – 9 am at the Senior Center. A light continental breakfast will be provided. For more information contact the Area Agency on Aging or the Mid-Columbia Senior Center or just show up. By working together we can improve the health and well being of our seniors and pave the way for future generations.

Now that we have the perfect place to display the beautiful quilt hand stitched by the Senior Center’s quilters – hanging on the wall in the Senior Center lobby – it is about time to find a new home for it. People have been waiting patiently for the raffle drawing and I promised it would happen by the end of May. I will be close. At noon on Monday June 2nd we will hold the drawing at the Senior Center. That is the good news. The bad news is you have less than two weeks to buy your winning raffle ticket.

We now have over forty classic movies for rent – mostly VHS – including “Monkey Business” with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the Marx Brother’s “Duck Soup”, and Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights”. We also have some of the favorite TV shows of the 50’s such as “I love Lucy”, Jack Benny and George Burns. With these classics you don’t have to worry about inappropriate language or too much skin. You can borrow them for seven days for $1 for non-members and free for members (because we know where to find you). Just check them out with the receptionist at the front desk. And to build the collection, we are accepting donations of movies from the 30’s through 60’s.

Volunteering is one proven way to stay active, maintain your mental skills and contribute to the community. One local non-profit that is doing terrific work and relies on many retired folks is Habit for Humanity. They have just opened a “Restore” store across the street from Big Jim’s, selling new and used building materials and home furnishings. They are open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10:00 – 3:00 and on Saturdays from 10:00 – 4:00 and are in need of volunteers. This kind of store has been very successful in other communities and all proceeds will go to building more homes for local families. You can see the result of Habitat’s efforts at a dedication ceremony for the Flores family’s new home at 4675 Lockwood in The Dalles, Sunday, May 25, starting at 2 p.m. Thanks goes to a group from Thrivent Builds with Habitat for Humanity, a division of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, for supplying two thirds of the funding and to the local Lutheran community for supplying half of the volunteers for building the new house. For more information call The Dalles Habitat for Humanity at 296-8817.

With the weather improving (except for that early reminder of what summer is really like – just in case we may have forgotten) Tuesday is the night to get out of the house and make your way to the air conditioned Senior Center to enjoy fine music and dancing. Next Tuesday on the 27th our fourth Tuesday regulars “The Jazz Generations” will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. And tonight the one man band of Truman Boler will be playing his country Gold. Truman also played The Spring Fling Dance last Friday evening, reminded me of my high school days, when I would stay in the corner hoping that no girl would find me unattended and ask me to dance. You see I am as graceful as a fly struggling in a spider web and I would hate to crush anyone’s toes. But for all of you folks who can dance, come down and kick up your heels or at least shuffle your feet. The dancing always starts at 7:00 PM. The admission price is free although donations are gladly accepted. Everyone’s welcome.

At this time I don’t know who will be the featured speaker for The Next Chapter Lecture series 11:00 on Tuesday May 27th, but I do know it won’t be a waste of your time. The series has been a tremendous success providing information topics from the medical to the historical and in between. We will continue this lecture series through June and then take a two month vacation before we start again in September.

Several folks have expressed interest in travel tours, so we have scheduled a Collette Vacations presentation after lunch at 1:00 at the Senior Center on Thursday May 29th. They will be describing two tours: a six-day tour to Branson, Missouri from October 16 – 21 and a five day tour of San Antonio in March of 2009. Both trips are reasonably priced to great locations and since you won’t be leaving the country you won’t have the passport hassle.

A final reminder, the Senior Center including Bingo will be closed for Memorial Day weekend to honor the men and women past and present who have served in our armed forces.

That is it for another week. Until we meet again, I can’t think of anything else to say.

Senior Living May 13th 2008

At the luncheon honoring the Senior Center’s Charter Members, Hal Sessions presented a slide show using newspaper articles and photographs saved from the early years of the Senior Center. It was a nice reminder of all the hard work and challenges involved in building this senior center. But I realized that besides supporting seniors for the next twenty five years, the building expansion will also fulfill the original vision for the center: a two story multi-purpose community facility with an elevator, an exercise room and offices for rent. It amazes me that even though times are different and approaches and styles may change, two visions twenty five years apart can still be fundamentally the same.

The Senior Center will be serving breakfast this Saturday the 17th from 8:00 – 10:00. This month’s tasty offerings include: country fries, scrambled eggs, sausage links, biscuits, fruit and the regular beverages. We want to thank Washington Federal Savings for sponsoring this month’s breakfast and also for doing double duty by providing volunteers for last month’s Cherry Festival Breakfast. So enjoy a fine breakfast with good friends for only $5 for the general public and $4 for Senior Center members.

The Wasco County Historical Society is inviting you to join them for a trip to the Whitman Mission, a National Historic Site in Walla Walla, Washington on Saturday May 31st. The trip will be guided by local historian Jon Carlson, retired Army Corps of Engineers and WCHS Board member. The thirty passenger bus will be leaving at 7:30 am from the upper parking lot of The Dalles/Wasco County Library with the estimated return time being 6:30 pm. The cost is $10 plus $3 admission and bring your own sack lunch and beverage. If interested contact Jan Leininger at 541-478-3429.

May is AARP Driver Safety Program Month and for this month AARP has a special promotion. Any AARP member (with a membership card) can bring a friend to the AARP Driver Safety class at the Senior Center on May 19th and 20th from 9:00 – 1:00 and the cost for BOTH persons will be $10 instead of the normal $10 a piece. Dennis Davis has ably replaced Dick Frost as instructor for the class (Dick has been teaching the class forever – which is a very long time – and is still busy teaching classes and coordinating the program throughout the Mid-Columbia region). And when you do see Dennis you may want to ask him what it’s like to live with a very special dancing mouse. Call the Senior Center at 296-4788 to sign up for the class.

May is also “Older American’s Month” and to celebrate the Area Agency on Aging and Meals-on-Wheels are putting together an Ice Cream Social at the Senior Center this Friday May 16th from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Senior Center. Truman Boler will be providing the entertainment with his crowd pleasing and danceable music. Here is a chance to get out of the house on a Friday night for a little music, dancing and Ice Cream.

And to “double your pleasure and double your fun”, Truman will also be performing at Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music on May 20th. If you already had your Friday night planned or once is not enough, come down on Tuesday night for another chance to enjoy the sounds of Truman Boler. And tonight the Notecrackers are playing for your dancing pleasure. The dancing always starts at 7:00 PM. The admission price is free although donations are gladly accepted. Everyone’s welcome.

The Next Chapter Lecture series 11:00 on Tuesday May 20th will feature Dr. Ryan LeBreton O.D., local optometrist, discussing common problems with your vision including Cataracts/Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma. It is always nice for a home town boy to go off to college, come back and contribute so much to the community.

May 20th is the last day to turn in your mail ballots in this important primary. Serious issues are being discussed including health care, the economy and war and peace but there has always been room for humorous look at the political events. This year we had Stephen Colbert a comedian on Comedy Central running for President and in the late 60’s does anyone remember Pat Paulson’s run for President? But again realizing there’s nothing new under the sun, I found in 1940 when Franklin Roosevelt was running for his third term, a political novice, Gracie Allen, announced her quixotic run for the White House. Since both of the major parties had qualified candidates, she decided to create her own party, the “Surprise Party”, explaining that her mother was a Democrat and her father was a Republican and she was born a surprise. Gracie had such high ethical standards that there was no vice-presidential candidate, because she had warned all along that she would not tolerate any vice in her administration. During the campaign she was asked several difficult questions. When asked if she would recognize Russia, Gracie answered: “I don’t know. I meet so many people….” and when she was questioned about what party she was affiliated, she replied, “I may take a drink now and then, but I never get affiliated.”

Like the major parties she also had a platform which she described as “redwood trimmed with ‘nutty’ pine”, with two key provisions (which she admits came to her in a dream). (1) Put Congress on a commission basis. Whenever the country prospered Congress would get ten percent of the additional take, and (2) extend Civil Service to all branches of government, because “a little politeness goes a long way.”

Well that is it again for another week. Until we meet again as I told my son last week during this election year, “Relax!”

Senior Living May 6 2008

Retirement ain’t what it used to be. In fact, William D. Novelli, Executive Director and CEO of AARP speaking at the Institute for Public Relations conference said that in the coming years as the boomers start to reach 65 we will see the end of retirement as we have known it.

My mom and dad were examples of what commonly considered retirement. When they retired they bought a second home in Florida (no one really wanted to spend the winters in Indiana if they could avoid it) and traveled, fished, relaxed and enjoyed the comforts that they so richly deserved. They both had sufficient pensions and had made wise financial investments to support their retirement.

My sister and I are examples are of what Novelli predicts retirement will look like in the coming years. When I retired from Wasco County government after serving for 20 years I continued to work, becoming the director of the Senior Center. My sister when she retired after working 25 plus years for the Fairfax school district in Virginia, went back to school, will finish her doctorate this summer and will start teaching as an assistant professor at a major university in Indianapolis at the age of 59. I don’t think either one of us can imagine ourselves not working in some capacity as long as we are physically able to do so.

My sister and I are not the exceptions. Research shows that 80 percent of boomers expect to continue working in some form past the age of 65. This could include starting a new career, a new business, or volunteering for a non-profit organization. Some will have to work (I will be paying off student loans for the next 20 years) and others will work for the fun of it.

For many, retirement is now seen as the start of the next chapter of one’s life and that next chapter will probably include some kind of work. And at 50, where one has half of their adult life ahead of them, many are viewing that as a time to start considering new adventures, activities and goals that will provide them with both choice and freedom and also personal fulfillment. Institutions including senior centers will have to adapt and adjust to these significant changes to what has been considered retirement.

Alzheimer’s is a terrible and very difficult disease for both the individual and the caregiver. Seeing a loved one drift away to the point where they no longer recognize you is heartbreaking. The Planetree Health Resource Center in partnership with the MCMC Spiritual Care Department is presenting a special health lecture on “The Challenge of Alzheimer’s” at 7:00 PM on Thursday May 8th at MCMC’s Medical Office Building. This free presentation “will summarize what is currently known about the disease, including the signs and symptoms that lead to diagnosis, risk factors, treatment, and important things to remember when relating to a person with Alzheimer’s”. It will be presented by Judy McKellar, Executive Director, Alzheimer’s Association. The lecture is free, but pre-registration is required. Call 296-8444 to reserve a seat.

On Thursday May 8th, The Senior Center will be taking this year’s first day trip to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum, a non-profit museum established in 2006 in Hood River. The museum provides a living history of aircraft and automobiles with a growing fleet of 50 plus flying antique aircraft plus dozens of automobiles and military jeeps. Many of the airplanes are either the last of their make and model or the only ones left flying. The cost for the museum tour is $7 for seniors and veterans. We will carpool from the Senior Center at 9:30 and return by 2:30 with lunch in Hood River.

The Notecrackers will be returning to perform on Tuesday May 13th at The Mid-Columbia Senior Center “playing pop standards from the ’20s – ’70s. They sing and play saxophone, flute, guitars, mandolin and strict tempo bass and drums for your dancing pleasure. With such variety, if you don’t like one song – just wait – the style will change! We try to have something for everybody. Revive old memories and make new memories of a good time”. And tonight the “Sugar Daddies” will be playing. The fun always starts at 7:00. It is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

Jason Corey, local attorney, will discuss “Wills and Estates” at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, 11:00 on Tuesday May 13th at the Senior Center. Many people were disappointed when we had to postpone his presentation last winter because of the weather. Hopefully it won’t snow this time.

Both Basic Computer classes for May are almost full but one service that we offer that is underutilized is the Help Lab on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:30 taught by Corlis Marsh. She is excellent in explaining the complex and frustrating world of computing. If you feel you know the basics but have individual questions about e-mail, the internet or word processing, or whatever this is the place for you.

One last plug for the “Tough Talk on Aging” workshop on Saturday the 10th from 9:00 – 11:30 at the Senior Center with registration starting at 8:30. Aging parents and adult children are both invited. You can come together or by yourself. Many folks are talking about this workshop and I hope to see you there.

That is it for another week. I wish all the mothers, both young and old, a happy mother’s day. Until the next time, give your kids a hug.

“Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” George Burns

“Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire his experience. He must use it.” Bernard Baruch

Senior Living April 28 2008

Remember as a parent when your kids knew all the answers, were so disrespectful – ignoring all the rules, always wanted to know “why” and thought you were so un-cool and old fashioned. And they would never listen or talk about it. Or as a kid growing up during the “express yourself” years when your parents had all these stupid rules that didn’t make any sense, were always telling you what to do, and didn’t understand your music or your fashions. And they would never listen or talk about it.

It was tough enough to have serious discussions about wants, needs and desires back then let alone now, forty years later. Hopefully our relationships with our adult children or our aging parents are better, having survived that “rebellious” period. But I imagine the majority of us still find it difficult to talk about important aging questions; still find it difficult to listen to one another.

But these questions about how one wants to be cared for as we age need to be discussed. To help, the Mid-Columbia Senior Center is hosting a workshop “Tough Talk about Aging” to assist aging parents and their adult children learn how to better talk and listen to one another.

“Like it or not, elders and their families tend to bristle whenever issues of care and long-term planning arise. No matter how well intentioned the parties might be, these topics are highly emotional for nearly all of us. All too often, parents and their children fall into a deep abyss of guilt, shame, and frustration when discussing these concerns, yet there are creative and compassionate ways to build bridges to safely cross these dangerous chasms. This workshop will focus on identifying the major stumbling blocks regarding communication between parents and adult children, and coping with the challenges of aging with grace and love.”

We are extremely fortunate to have as the presenter Lee Paton, RN, PH.D., Clinical Director of Spectrum Elder Services, Inc. in Beaverton and a clinical gerontologist. She is a highly respected and sought after speaker providing educational programs throughout the US and Asia. The workshop will be facilitated by Lucile Torgerson who along with Kathleen Flynn helped facilitate the “Let’s Talk” discussion series at the senior center last year. Both of them understand how important this subject is and have given their time and effort to make this workshop possible. I also want to thank Pat Case of Hospice of the Gorge for all of her help.

The workshop will be held on Saturday May 10th at the Senior Center with early registration and continental breakfast starting at 8:30 and the presentation beginning at 9:00 and concluding at 11:00. As both parents and children have grown older and hopefully wiser, we have another chance to get it right.

Last week, when I mentioned the Charter Member Recognition Luncheon on Thursday May 1st, I forgot to thank Meals-on-Wheels for providing the special meal for the event – your choice of Chicken Cordon Bleu or Teriyaki Steak – in support of the Senior Center. At the luncheon we will recognize the Charter Members in attendance and share the story and photographs of the construction of the Senior Center. It is a fascinating history.

I don’t know how Boyd Jacobsen lines up all this great musical talent, but this coming Tuesday May 6th the “Sugar Daddies” with Mark Womble, Dennis Williams, and Jim Ortlie will be playing. I have seen them perform around town and they are a great act. And tonight the Senior Center’s own “Young at Heart Seranaders” will be performing. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is free although donations are gladly accepted. All ages are welcome!

Dan Ericksen, Wasco County Judge, will be discussing the “State of the County” at the Next Chapter Lecture Series, 11:00 on Tuesday May 6th at the Senior Center. You will have a chance to ask him questions about all kinds of subjects: the budget hearings just completed last week, the county charter committee, road funding or whether he wears boxers or briefs.

In May we are starting another four session Computer Basics class on Monday from 10:00 – 11:30 taught by Laurie Fadness and on Wednesday from 10:30-12:00 taught by Richard Lyon. This introductory class covers the basics of getting started on a computer. Because there are only six persons in a class so you will receive a lot of individual attention. If you feel you know the basics but have individual questions, you are welcome to attend the Help Lab on Tuesdays from 1:00 to 2:30 taught by Corlis Marsh. Call 296-4788 to sign up.

The third “Wildflower Walk” led by Skip Tschanz is scheduled for Monday May 5th. We will carpool at 1:00 from the Senior Center. And a Potluck and Bunco Party will be held at the Senior Center this Friday from 6:00 – 8:00 for all 2008 Senior Center members to thank them for their support.

The Wasco County Pioneer Association Annual Meeting will be held this coming Saturday May 3rd. Registration begins at 9:30 at the Calvary Baptist Church with a salmon or ham luncheon served at 11:30. Don Schmidt will be present a program “Shaniko and the Southern Wasco County” after a short meeting at 1:00.

That’s it for another week. Until the next time, as I tell my kids, there is a reason we have two ears and only one mouth.

“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.” – George Moore. And on the lighter side “Never have children, only grandchildren.” – Gore Vidal