Senior Living February 19 2008

Senior Living February 19th

I am always amazed how much faster time goes by as I age. It was just yesterday when my kids were in daycare and now 17 years later one is working back east and the other is about ready to go off to college. How time flies. But I have had this experience before: taking tests in school. During the first half of the test, time moved gently as I concentrated on the initial problems. Then half way through, the clock started ticking faster and during the last 15 minutes it was racing to the end. But I still had several problems to complete; I wasn’t sure I was going to finish them; I just needed a little more time and then, boom, time was up. Until recently I would have used this as a metaphor for life. You are trying to make up for all the time you spent during the first 90 minutes, by accomplishing as much as you can in the last 30 minutes. But I have also found with age comes a sense of acceptance or maybe clarity where different values become important. Do we really have to finish all the problems? Should we not just focus on one or two problems that really matter and enjoy and appreciate the gift of the moment? Then as I start enjoying the moment and appreciate the now, the waters calm and time begins to slow down once again.

Lucille Torgerson and Kathleen Flynn who have facilitated the Senior Center’s the “Let’s Talk” discussion series on affirmative aging have another exciting opportunity planned. They both know the difficulties and challenges that occur between older parents and their adult children and see the need to better understand how to deal with those situations. In order to learn more they have invited Lee Paton, a highly respected and sought after speaker throughout the US, to provide an educational workshop on this subject. Lee is an RN, Ph.D. and a clinical gerontologist with a specialty in dementia and end of life care. She works to design creative care strategies to enhance each person’s health and quality of being alive.

As Lee explains it, “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, stopping the war between parents and adult children, and coping with the challenges of aging with grace and love.”

The workshop will be held on Saturday May 10th (Mother’s Day weekend) and because this workshop addresses such an important issue so many of us face or will face, I wanted to let you know about it early. You will hear more details as we get closer to the workshop.

Focus Groups

We have scheduled several focus groups to gather your ideas and opinions on what you would like to see with the new proposed expansion of the Senior Center. The next focus groups are scheduled for Thursday February 28th at 2:00 pm and Tuesday March 3rd at 10:00 am. Everyone is invited whether you currently use the Senior Center or not. We want input from the whole senior community.

Travel Club

The Senior Center’s Travel Club is going to meet on Thursday February 28th at 1:00 to discuss possible trips for this spring and summer. Louise Gonzales has already reserved 24 excellent seats for the matinee performance of “Phantom of the Opera” in Portland on August 14th. Even though the show is in the summer and we aren’t even into spring yet (only 29 more days) we wanted to reserve the best possible seats for this popular musical. Stop by or call the Senior Center to reserve your seat.

Next Chapter

There has been fantastic attendance at the “Next Chapter” Lecture Series averaging around 30 people for the last several presentations. The series has touched on all kinds of subjects from finances to advance directives to local history. This coming Tuesday the 26th at 11:00 at the Senior Center, we will enter the medical field and learn about the latest in Rehabilitation Medicine and Physical Therapy presented by the Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s Rehabilitation and Mind Body Institute. It promises to be both informative and fun concluding with an interactive Mind/Body Game. Don’t miss it!

Tuesday Night Music

Next Tuesday Night at 7:00 the “Jazz Generations” will be playing at the Senior Center. Have I mentioned how beneficial dancing is for your heart and soul? Am I being a little pushy? Come on down to the Senior Center and kick up your heels while enjoying the fine music provided by the “Jazz Generations”. And if it is not too late, “Pennies and Small Change” are performing tonight.

Well that is it again for another week and as I struggled to find the right words that last hour went awfully fast. It is like taking a test all over again. So if someday you find this column only half finished, you will know I was just enjoying the moment. Until we meet again, take care and breathe deep.

First you forget names, then you forget faces. Next you forget to pull your zipper up and finally, you forget to pull it down.
— George Burns

Senior Living February 12 2008

Senior Living February 12th

On January 4th 1987, over 200 people attended the grand opening of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center built on the principles of sharing and caring. In 2012 we will celebrate the 25th anniversary the Mid-Columbia Senior Center: the proud legacy of the “United Seniors”, and what a perfect time it would be to celebrate the next 25 years with a new addition to the Senior Center.

As we look forward at how to make the new addition a reality, it may help to look back for lessons from when the center was first built. Fortunately, all the newspaper articles about the planning and building of the current center were collected so we can remember this fascinating story.

The first saved newspaper article from September 6th 1984, shows the floor plan for a 9500 square foot two-story building with an elevator. It was quite different from what the center is today which is the first lesson: although the vision of the center may remain true, the design and layout of the building may change significantly from beginning to end, because of input from seniors and the architects and because of financial constraints.

The second lesson was although the seniors were united around their vision, there was disagreement around the implementation. Specifically, the issue was whether to let out for bid the construction of the senior center with or without a partial basement. Through this expansion project there will also be differences and there will be opportunities where they can be expressed in a constructive way. We want to make sure everyone has a chance to contribute their ideas so we can best meet the needs of every senior.

Finally, as Karl Kramer was quoted in The Dalles Chronicle “a lot of talk don’t count” and this may be the most important lesson: it took a lot of hard work and perseverance (besides donations) to build this center and it will take the same to add an addition. The “United Seniors” remained true to their vision and their legacy has been tremendous. With the help of our valuable partners and remaining true to the center’s vision that “every senior lives with joy in an enriching and fulfilling environment knowing they are loved” we can make also leave a valuable legacy for the next 25 years.

We sincerely want to thank The Dalles City, Nolan Young, Mayor Robb Van Cleave and the Public Works Department for fixing the Senior Center flag pole so we can respectfully display the flag as it should be done. Also a big thank-you to the folks at Design Structures particularly Linda for doing the impossible and having drawings prepared for the Thursday presentation.

This Saturday from 8:00 – 10:00 is the Senior Center’s monthly breakfast. Edna and Bonnie are cooking up French Toast, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Fruit and the regular coffee, milk juice or tea. Why not have someone else make breakfast for you and help out the senior center at the same time? (Unfortunately we are unable to deliver to you bed.)

The speaker for our “Next Chapter” Lecture Series presentation on February 19th is Jim Bishop of Westcorp Mortgage discussing “Reverse Mortgages” and whether this financial tool could be appropriate for you. Because many seniors are cash poor but equity rich, reverse mortgages have been promoted as a possible way to stay in your home and remain independent longer.

The Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music Program on February 19th at 7:00 presents “Pennies and Small Change”. They are a group of local musicians who just like to play a variety of music for your pleasure from bluegrass to Irish fiddle and gospel. Their music gets you up and dancing with Jack Shepherd on honky-tonk piano and guitar, Susan Crowley on guitar and banjo, Peny Wallace on mandolin and fiddle and Emily Krager on fiddle and bass. Admission is always free and open to everyone and every age. And if you read this in time, the crowd favorites “The Notecrackers” will be performing tonight.

I would like to close with one of my favorite stories, “The Starthrower” by Loren Eisley. As we work to make our communities better for all generations, it reminds that it will take many small, simple acts and not the one big answer. Until next time, keep your head on straight and a smile on your face.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

Senior Living February 5 2008

Senior Living February 5

I would like everyone to know that I do not come up with the catchy headlines for this senior living column. The Dalles Chronicle staff gets the credit for being the creative ones and apparently they had fun coming up with last week’s headline: Aging –it is not for sissies. Aging is not for the faint of heart and although I emphasize and highlight the tremendous rewards of aging in this column, there are no doubt challenges: physically, mentally and emotionally because we know them every day (my knees now tell me I should have been fishing instead of running when I was younger).

One of the struggles we face as we do age are the losses we encounter: death of a close friend or losing our physical or mental abilities, and the corresponding grief that accompanies the loss. On my cluttered desk I found “Some thoughts about grieving” written by Hospice of the Gorge. It shares many of the things you should and should not do when trying to deal with the feelings of grief. It is information many of us could use particularly living in a culture where men are not suppose to cry and we are to keep our feelings to ourselves (although that is changing). The thoughts are abbreviated for his column but pretty much verbatim. If you would like more information about loss and grieving, contact Hospice of the Gorge.

Thoughts about Grieving

Accept the grief – do not try to “be brave” and if you need, take time to cry. Talk about it – 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 the mind but avoid frantic activity. Take care of yourself – you may feel you don’t care but that will change. You are important and your life is valuable. Eat well – at this time 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 at the time. If you made mistakes accept that you, like everyone else, are not perfect. Join a group of other who are sorrowing – your old circle of friends may change. Even if it does not, you will need new friends who have been through your experience. Associate with old friends also – this may be difficult, because some may be embarrassed by your presence but they will get over it. 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 – do not allow crippling grief to continue. There comes a time to stop crying and to live again.

Remember, no matter how deep your sorrow, you are not alone. Others have been there and will help share your load if you will let them. Do not deny them the opportunity. Thanks to Hospice of the Gorge for providing this information that I could share with you.

The speaker for our “Next Chapter” Lecture Series on February 12 is Jerry Tanquist, local railroad enthusiast and historian. He will be discussing “The Great Southern Railroad, The Story of Our Local Wasco County Railroad – The Dalles to Dufur and on to Friend 1905 – 1936”. This is a wonderful presentation for anyone interested in railroads and our amazing local history. For those who were disappointed when we postponed the “Reverse Mortgages” presentation by Jim Bishop of Westcorp Mortgage because of snow, it has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 19th

Also, next Tuesday (February 12th) at 7:00 the Senior Center welcomes back our regular second Tuesday performers “The Notecrackers”. Their January performance was snowed out so now is your chance to get back into the swing of things while listening and dancing to the sweet sounds of the 20’s through the 60’s. Performing tonight at the Senior Center are Lloyd Walworth and his The Dalles Wahtonka High School vocalists.

Wheel Chairs needed

One of the small but truly appreciated services the Center provides is lending walkers, canes and wheelchairs to those who need one for a short period of time (less than six weeks) We have a large collection of canes and walkers but unfortunately we are have loaned out all of our wheelchairs. We are now looking for any useable wheelchairs that could be donated to the Center.

Life is always changing whether in our personal lives or in our community and the change can create uncertainty and fear especially if it happens to us and we have no ability to affect the change. (And not all change is positive as we consider what to do about global warming and increased drug use.) But change can also create opportunities and the Senior Center is looking for any new opportunities to meet the needs of all seniors. Last month when identifying future opportunities for the Senior Center, I left out one exciting possibility I feel could have the greatest impact on the senior community and put the Senior Center in the position to effectively support seniors for the next 25 years. That possibility will be presented at noon on Thursday at The Senior Center. Come and enjoy a fine meal (salmon and baked potato) provided by Meals-on-Wheels and learn more about the future of the Senior Center. This will just be the beginning of the conversation and we will need the ideas and support of everyone interested in the welfare of both our current and future seniors.

Until the next time, imagine when it snows it is just a snowman falling – unassembled.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” Rabindranath Tagore

Senior Living January 29 2008

Senior Living January 29, 2008

I have come to realize what many of you already know: aging is not something to fear or avoid (as if we have a choice) but actually a remarkable adventure. Dr. Sherwin Nuland in his book “The Art of Aging” shares three key qualities that can help us navigate this adventure as we strive to age well.

First, is our physical condition and the need to remain physically active throughout our entire life. Even though in our late 50’s we start to lose one third of our muscle strength, in our 70’s and 80’s we can double our muscle strength in as little as six weeks with appropriate exercise. Creativity is the second important quality that helps us age well as we look forward to the next day knowing there will be something new to discover, experience or create which will make us a little better. But most important to successful aging are our relationships with others. They require work and nurturing but give meaning to our lives and become increasingly important as we age. The last years of our lives can be both enriching and creative all the way into our 100s, but much of how we age is our choice and now is the time to change the habits that will effect how we live the next several decades.

One activity that we have initiated at the Senior Center to give you something to think about is the “Next Chapter” Lecture Series. This coming Tuesday February 5th Jerry Jeffers will present “A Photographic Trip through the Owyhee River Gorge- an Oregon Treasure”. Jerry is a local photographer and retired owner of Melo’s Camera Store and is widely known as one of the premier photographers in the Mid-Columbia.

Performing at the Senior Center’s Tuesday Night Music Program at 7:00 are the Young-at-Heart Serenaders leading a Mitch Miller like Sing-a-Long. Next Tuesday (February 5th) at 7:00 the Senior Center welcomes Lloyd Walworth and his The Dalles Wahtonka High School vocalists. It is a joy to hear the young singing talent in The Dalles and they always put on a fine show. All ages are welcome especially parents and friends of the performers. Admission is free and donations are gladly accepted.

Wii Bowling has come to the Senior Center. On Thursdays Denise Patton, the director of Meals-on-Wheels, and I have scheduled time to bowl against each other to show how much fun and easy the game is (there is a reason it is the number 1 video game player in America) and so far we are tied one victory a piece. This is just another way to be active while having fun and as Oliver Wendell Holmes reminds us, Men do not quit playing games because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing games.”

Computer Classes:

We have finally started our computer classes. There are two Computer Basics Classes explaining the fundamentals of how to use a computer. The first started Monday the 28th from 10:30 t0 12:00 and will last for four consecutive Mondays. The second Computer Basics Class will start on Wednesday the 30th also from 10:30 – 12:00 and continue for four consecutive Wednesdays. On Friday February 1st a class on E-mail Basics will start for those who know how to use a computer and now want to learn more about e-mail. The class will be from 10:30 – 12:00 and will last two consecutive Fridays. There is also a Help Lab with a volunteer instructor every Tuesday from 1:00 – 2:30 for anyone who has computer questions. Between 9:00 and 4:00 when there are no classes scheduled, the lab will be open if you want to use the computers on your own. We hope to get everyone through at least one class in the next two months and if you have haven’t sign-up call the Senior Center (296-4788) and we will get you on the list.

There is a fine group of Quilters at the Senior Center who spend many, many hours stitching quilts to raffle for the Senior Center. (We are currently selling raffle tickets for a beautiful queen size quilt that is hanging in the Center.) They also want everyone to know they are willing to quilt for hire to raise money for the Senior Center. For more information stop and see the Quilters in the Senior Center’s basement on Mondays from 10:00 – 3:00 or call Peggy Johnson at 296-2024.

From the Bulletin Board: The Dalles Eagles are presenting A Mardi Gras Party featuring the “The Rose City Kings” a popular band out of Portland and the winner of the Cascade Blues Association Muddy Award for “Best Contemporary Blues Act”. The show is on Saturday February 2nd and music starts at 8:30 PM.

I will close this week with one of my son’s favorite passages: the last lines from Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson. So until we meet again, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel, it’s slippery out there.

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Meals-on-Wheels Menu:
Wednesday (30th) Pork Chop with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Thursday (31st) Baked Salmon or Chicken with Baked Potato

Friday (1st) Stuffed Green Pepper and Carrots

Monday (4th) Chicken Fried Steak and Mashed Potatoes

Tuesday (5th) Oven Baked Chicken, Garlic Rice and Green Bean Casserole

Senior Center Activity Schedule:

Tuesday: Yoga 9:30; Next Chapter Lecture Series: Jason Corey: Wills and Estates; Computer Help Lab 1:00 – 2:30; Music: Young-at-Heart Serenaders Sing-a-long 7:00

Wed: Seniorcise 9:15; Computer Basics Class 10:30 – 12:00; “Young at Heart” Serenaders 10:30; Strong Women 2:00

Thursday: Yoga 9:30; Tap and Clogging 10:00; Pinochle 1:00; MOW Bingo 6:00

Friday: Seniorcise 9:15; E-mail Basics Computer Class 10:30- 12:00; Bridge 1:30; AARP Tax Aide 4:00 – 6:30

Saturday: Coffee and Cards 9:00; AARP Tax Aide 9:00 – 2:00; MCSC Bingo 6:00 PM

Monday: Seniorcise 9:15; Computer Basics Class 10:30-12:00; Quilters 10:00; Strong Women 2:00

Tuesday: Yoga 9:30; Next Chapter Lecture Series: Jerry Jeffers “A Photographic Trip through the Owyhee River Gorge- an Oregon Treasure” 11:00; Music: “Lloyd Walworth and the TDWHS Singers” 7:00 pm

Senior Living January 15 2008

Senior Living January 15 2008

Seniors today are living longer and staying more active (many say the 80’s are the new 60’s) and are engaged everywhere in the community. I look at many community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Meal, St. Vincent DePaul, Civic Auditorium Restoration, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions and I see folks over 65 doing valuable service for the community and changing the world one step at a time. They have the commitment, experience and time to put their energy into something they really care about and believe in. Without this reservoir of talent and passion our community would not be what it is. And mixed with the diversity of ideas and experiences from the “juniors”, “sophomores” and “freshman”, you have the ingredients for a healthy and vibrant community.

Whenever we lose one of these seniors because of their death, or having moved to be near their adult children or to find better weather, we lose that human capital that makes our communities so rich. Last month we loss a valuable worker and advocate for the Meals-on-Wheels and a friend of the Senior Center, Barney Ross. He was a class act and his death was a loss to the whole community and we miss him. Fortunately, we also gain many new faces to our community – the traffic goes both ways. They may have recently retired, or moved here to be closer to their adult children or to find better weather (the Gorge beats the Midwest) and they add new perspectives and vibrancy to our communities. Many thanks to the seniors who give their time and energy to make our communities stronger and healthier.

Next Chapter Lecture Series

Last Tuesday Jim Bishop from Westcorp Mortgage was to speak on Reverse Mortgages at the Senior Center’s weekly lecture series the “Next Chapter”, but the weather did not cooperate. It has been rescheduled for March 19th so you will still have a chance to learn whether this financial tool is right for you. Next Tuesday on the 22nd at 11:00, Heather Runyon will discuss: Financial Planning for the Twenty-First Century – Ten Steps to Insure Your Financial Future. Heather is an Investment Specialist and Partner at Edward Jones and Company, The Dalles, and will present information to help you understand the markets, and how to weather the storms of fluctuating markets as we are seeing these days. Feel free to join us for lunch following in our dining room.

Tuesday Night Music

Last Tuesday Night Music was also canceled so you didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the music of the “Notecrackers”. Fortunately they will be back again February 12th. But tonight you have the chance to get your dose of local musical talent with the band “Stay Tuned” featuring Linda McAllister, Peter Tappert, Ron Ontiveros & Hannah Griffith. Next week you can dance up a storm with the “Jazz Generations”. The fun always starts at 7:00 and it is all free although donations are gladly accepted. Enjoy good friends and great music!

Travel Club

Because of the unpredictability of January weather in the Gorge, the Senior Center did not schedule a trip in January. While we are planning the Senior Center’s spring trips, Hood River Community Education provides many day trips, including their very popular monthly Mystery Trips. You do need to drive to Hood River to catch the bus, but the trips are definitely worthwhile. Call 541-386-2055 for more information.

Also award winning actor Kurt Sutton will perform “An Evening with Mark Twain” on Saturday January 19th at 7:00 pm and Sunday January 20th at 2:00 pm at the Columbia Center for the Arts in downtown Hood River. Tickets are $18 for general admissions and $15 for seniors. You can call 541-387-8877 for more information.

AARP Driving Safety Class

It must be the weather or the time of the year, but we have very few signed up for this month’s AARP Driver’s Safety Class on January 20th and 21st from 9:00 – 1:00 both days. It is a very popular class and a great way to learn more about safe driving and the latest rule changes. The class is every third Monday and Tuesday of the month. Call the Senior Center at 296-4788 to reserve your spot.

Third Saturday Breakfast

Everyone is invited to the Senior Center’s Third Saturday Breakfast from 8:00 – 10:00 sponsored this month by Flagstone Retirement and Assisted Living. The menu is Country Fries, Country Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Biscuits, fruit and your choice of beverages. The cost is $5.00 and $4.00 for Senior Center members. Come on down and enjoy a nice breakfast and learn more about the housing options provided by Flagstone Retirement and Assisted Living.

One of the benefits being the director of the Senior Center is the chance to learn more about how to age well with grace and humor (there are plenty examples here at the Center). I hope to share with you information I am learning on the aging process and how we can best embrace it instead of denying it. With that in mind here is a quotation by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that I heard on a podcast found at iTunes University on the Art of Aging. Until next time, keep doing what you believe.

“For age is opportunity no less

Than youth itself, though in another dress,

And as the evening twilight fades away

The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”

Meals-on-Wheels Menu:
Wednesday (16th) Roast Beef and Oven Potatoes and Gravy

Thursday (17th) Chicken Fried Steak and Creamed Cabbage

Friday (18th) Beef Stroganoff over Noodles and Green Beans

Monday (21st) Pub Battered Fish and Au-Gratin Potatoes

Tuesday (22nd) Birthday Dinner Chicken in Alfredo Sauce with Broccoli Rice

Senior Center Activity Schedule:

Tuesday: Yoga 9:30; Next Chapter Lecture Series: Dr. PK Swartz, End of Life Issues – Advanced Directives and Organ Donations 11:00; Music: “Stay Tuned” 7:00

Wed: Seniorcise 9:15; Open Computer Lab 10:30 – 12:00; “Young at Heart” Serenaders 10:30; Strong Women 2:00

Thursday: Yoga 9:30; Tap and Clogging 10:00; Pinochle 1:00; MOW Bingo 6:00

Friday: Seniorcise 9:15; Open Computer Lab 10:30- 12:00; Bridge 1:30

Saturday: Saturday Breakfast 8:00 – 10:00; Coffee and Cards 9:00; MCSC Bingo 6:00 PM

Monday: AARP Driver’s Safety Class 9:00 – 1:00; Seniorcise 9:15; Open Computer Lab 10:30-12:00; Quilters 10:00; Strong Women 2:00

Tuesday: AARP Driver’s Safety Class 9:00 – 1:00; Yoga 9:30; Next Chapter Lecture Series: Heather Runyon – Financial Planning 11:00; Music: Jazz Generations 7:00 pm

Senior Living January 22, 2008

Senior Living January 22, 2008

Because there are so many activities to share, I am going to forgo my opening ramblings and get straight to the activities of the week starting with the “Next Chapter” Lecture Series. This coming Tuesday the 29th, Jason Corey, a local attorney with Dick, Dick and Corey, will discuss and answer questions about “Wills and Estates”. You will have a chance to learn how to make sure your desires are fulfilled and your family protected after you are gone. The presentation will begin at 11:00 at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center and you are invited stay afterwards for lunch. Even though we have speakers scheduled through May, we are still looking for more. If are interested in a particular topic, or you know of someone who would speak on a subject relevant to seniors and juniors, give the Senior Center a call. We hope to make the “Next Chapter” Lecture Series a regular date on your weekly calendar. I also need to make a correction regarding the popular Reverse Mortgages presentation by Jim Bishop of Westcorp Mortgage. It is scheduled for February 19th and not March 19th.

Book Club

Is there anyone who would like to start a book club focusing on aging issues? It can be during the day or in the evening. Two particular books have recently been recommended to me: Boom! Voices of the Sixties: Personal Reflections on the 60’s and Today by Tom Brokaw and The Art of Aging: A Doctor’s Prescription for Well-Being by Dr. Sherwin Nuland. Give the Senior Center a call if you are interested in facilitating a book club on aging issues.

NU-2-U Shoppe: Every once in a while Bette Dahlberg and Martha Williams think we aren’t moving the used clothes out of the NU-2-U Shoppe fast enough and we need a $1-a-Bag sale. I believe we are already selling these good quality used clothes for far too little and now they want to sale them for even less. But they are the boss and you are the winners. So this Thursday from 10:00 – 1:30 at the Senior Center’s NU-2-U Shoppe, everything goes for only $1-A-Bag.

Smart Program

After Dr. PK Swartz (I spelled it right this time) made his presentation at the Next Chapter Lecture Series he encouraged folks to volunteer for an very effective and rewarding program called SMART (Start Making A Reader Today). They are looking for caring adults who can volunteer one hour a week to read with a child at risk of low literacy. If you are available during the day, this is a real opportunity to help a child learn one of the most important life skills, reading. For more information you can contact Cheryl DeHart at 993-1025 or e-mail her at


If you enjoy Pinochle or Bridge there are opportunities to play both at the Senior Center. Pinochle is every Thursday at 1:00 and participation is increasing (I need to buy two more card tables.) and Bridge is every Friday at 1:30. This is a great way to enjoy old friends and meet new ones while exercising that grey matter between your ears. But I am still waiting for someone to start a poker club.

The AARP Tax Aide Program starts Friday, February 1 and will be available from 4:00 – 6:30 on Fridays and from 9:00 – 2:00 on Saturdays in the Senior Center basement. This valuable program provides free tax preparation for seniors and others who need help in completing their tax returns. Ronell Currie, who coordinates the program in the Mid-Columbia area, wants everyone to know they have the ability to file your taxes electronically and can do Washington state returns.

Tonight at the Senior Center, the Jazz Generations will be playing their Big Band Sound starting at 7:00. Tuesday Night Music is one of the most popular programs at the Center not only because of the fine music, but also because it is a great opportunity to get up and dance. (And it is dancing, not shaking like I much of the younger generations do.) It is fun to watch couples moving gracefully in rhythm and together. Next Tuesday the 29th, the Senior Center’s own “Young at Heart” Serenaders will recreate a Mitch Miller Sing-Along for your enjoyment with printed lyrics available.

From the Bulletin Board: Do you want to learn more about plants, gardening and how to develop a “Green Thumb”? Applications are now being accepted to become a Master Gardener. Classes begin Wednesday February 13 and applications are due by January 21. To learn more about Wasco County Master Gardeners call Lynn Long at 296-5494 or pick up an application at Hughes Feed and Grain, The Dalles Library or OSU Extension.

We are seeing new faces all the time at the Senior Center. If you want to stretch your mind and your body or you want to put a smile on your face or you just want to hang out and read, come down to the Senior Center. It is a great place with great folks. And as with any family or community, we do have our differences of opinion. I have found from 20 years in local politics that good people can disagree, and that is not bad. There are times however when differences are due to misinformation and need to be clarified. Specifically, you can be member of the Senior Center at any age and we would like anyone who supports our mission of “promoting healthy aging by sharing and caring” to join. But to be a member that votes at the general membership meeting in July you need to be at least 50 years old, with a few exceptions, and not 60 as some have suggested.

So until the next time, stay current and remember, if at first you don’t succeed, listen.

Meals-on-Wheels Menu:
Wednesday (23rd) Taco Casserole and Salsa

Thursday (24th) Salisbury Steak and Mashed Potatoes with Gravy

Friday (25th) Stew and the Friday Salad Bar

Monday (28th) Turkey and Dumpling

Tuesday (29th) Lasagna

Senior Center Activity Schedule:

Tuesday: Yoga 9:30; Next Chapter Lecture Series: Heather Runyon – Financial Planning 11:00; Music: Jazz Generations 7:00

Wed: Seniorcise 9:15; Open Computer Lab 10:30 – 12:00; “Young at Heart” Serenaders 10:30; Strong Women 2:00

Thursday: Yoga 9:30; Tap and Clogging 10:00; Pinochle 1:00; MOW Bingo 6:00

Friday: Seniorcise 9:15; Open Computer Lab 10:30- 12:00; Bridge 1:30

Saturday: Coffee and Cards 9:00; MCSC Bingo 6:00 PM

Monday: Blood Pressure Check 10:00; Seniorcise 9:15; Open Computer Lab 10:30-12:00; Quilters 10:00; Hearing Aid Service 12:30; Strong Women 2:00

Tuesday: Yoga 9:30; Next Chapter Lecture Series: Jason Corey “Wills and Estates” 11:00; Music: “Young at Heart Singers” 7:00 pm