Living Well January 4th

Last week I tried something different. I wrote the column as an annual Christmas letter, similar to the many letters I received this past Christmas from friends and family who shared their latest adventures or misadventures. (I once thought these letters were trite and impersonal but have come to appreciate this once-a -ear chance to hear from many friends whom I seldom see.

But the excitement and anticipation of the long holiday vacation is over and it is back to business as usual – with people to see, things to do and songs to sing. I just hope this year, I can stay in tune.

The Next Chapter lecture series kicks back in gear next Tuesday the 11th at 11:00. The first presentation of the New Year will be an update on the Center’s building expansion plans, now that the latest design has been completed. This new plan features an elevator to the basement plus additional office space and a renovated interior entry way and commons area. We have had tremendous support for the initial expansion plan and this new plan will include many of the same features except for the medical clinic which was to be built in cooperation with MCMC. That part is still possible and could be added at a later date. But this newer and simpler design is more realistic considering these tight economic times as the country slowly grows out of the “Great Recession”.

The music never stops and tonight Andre and the Strawberry Mountain band will be playing old-time, foot-tapping music for your body and soul. And next Tuesday on the 11th Truman will be back performing his Country Gold. As with green bananas, some things just get better with age. The music starts at 7:00 and donations are appreciated.

Those of you who understand what Benjamin Disraeli meant when he said “How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.” Or who experience the same passion as the person who believed “God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done. Or those of you who have felt the same discomfort as Charles Dudley Warner when he observed “What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.” Then you will want to attend this year’s OSU Wasco County Master Gardeners training. The training will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church beginning February 16th and ending on March 30th. Classes will be held on consecutive Wednesdays from 9:00-4:00. The cost for training is $90.00 for tuition and the Sustainable Gardening Handbook, and $15.00 for Wasco County Master Gardener Association dues. Applications are available at the Wasco County Extension Office 400 E. Scenic Drive Suite 2.278 and must be returned no later than January 28th. And keep your ears open for an upcoming workshop on the care and feeding of roses presented by the Master Gardeners on February 12th at the Center.

Here is a New Year’s Eve solution for those who – like me – have trouble staying awake till midnight to watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve count down in Times Square. I discovered that with live video streaming over the Internet on your computer you can imagine yourself dancing and celebrating with all the folks in Times Square, give your spouse a big fat smooch at midnight and still get to sleep by 10:00 PM The Dalles time. What a deal! And who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

You may know Dick Clark has been hosting the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve since 1972 – and since his stroke in 2004 with a little help recently from Ryan Seacrest. But this week’s “Remember When” question goes back even further. Who hosted forty eight consecutive radio and television broadcasts of his New Year’s Eve show – including from 1956 to 1976 on CBS TV – starting with his first radio broadcast heard on December 31, 1928? E-mail your answer to, call 541-296-4788 or write it on the sleeve of a phonograph record by the Royal Canadians.

And for the question from two weeks ago, many of you knew the name of the cat-like, present-stealing, joy-sucking green creature created by Ted Geisel – more famously known as Dr. Seuss. And contrary to Jodi Cochenour – who’s first thought was her husband Les since he did dress the part in a Starlight parade of years past – the greedy soul was the “Grinch”. And the winner of a free breakfast, which returns in March, is Ron Sutherland.

Well it’s off to the races for another year. Until we meet again, enjoy the New Year and all the possibilities it brings.

“Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to.” Bill Vaughan

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