April Puts A Spring In Your Step

SENIOR MOMENTS

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April is a ballet, wafting in on zephyr breezes,o the music of birdsong and the gentle patter of raindrops. The scent of lilac surrounds her and she wears the soft green of unfurling leaves, gold of sunshine and pastels of spring flowers, punctuated by the impetuous purple of iris beds. Welcome, sweet April! You've been a long time coming.

The iris is a hardy perennial that grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere from high Himalayan bogs to the banks of British canals. Most varieties bloom only once a year, for three or four weeks in the spring, but there are some that put forth a second bloom. Iris come in many shades of blue and purple as well as yellows from so pale as to appear white, to deep gold. It is named for the Greek goddess of rainbows.

Iris do well in Rim country because once established, they do not need excessive water. In fact, one authority says it is better to underwater than over-water them.

April is Frog Month, probably directly the result of those April showers. It also is Garden, Guitar, Humor, Poetry, Stress Awareness and Welding Month. Quite a mixed bag, don't you think?

Payson Regional Senior Circle

Following extensive remodeling, the Senior Circle at 215 N. Beeline Highway will have a Grand Reopening Monday, April 11 for members, home health patients andig Brothers and Big Sisters. Theelebration will continue Tuesday, April 12, and Wednesday, April 13, with the public invited. There will be refreshments, informational displays and the new gift shop will be open.

Registration is now open for the Healthy Women Program to be held May 14 in the Payson High School auditorium. The day-long event begins with an optional exercise warm-up and continental breakfast, followed by a choice of three out of nine classes dealing with women's health issues. Suzanne Metzger, Ph.D.,ill be the keynote speaker. Metzger is nationally known as a motivational speaker. There will be numerous vendors and giveaways and lunch will be served.he program is geared to women between the ages of 25 and 54, but is open to all. Attendance is limited to 300 so early registration is advised. Cost is $10 per person, or scholarships are available for those unable to pay. For information or to register, call the Mogollon Health Alliance at (928) 472-2588.

If you have been a patient at Payson Regional Medical Center during the past two years, and received outstanding care from one of the nurses, you can nominate him or her for the Patient's Choice Award. For further information, go to www.paysonhospital.com.

Payson Senior Center

Legal assistance will be available for seniors beginning at 10 a.m.Tuesday, April 12. Those wishing to take advantage of this service must sign up in advance at the Center Greeting Desk. There is no charge but donations are accepted.

The birthday celebration for those having a birthday in April is Wednesday, April 13. The lunch menu is ham steak, scalloped potatoes, California mix, dinner roll, birthday cake and beverage. Birthday celebrants are asked to put their name in the Birthday Barrel in the lobby of the center to be eligible for a gift drawing.

There will be a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday,pril 23, in the Center Dining Room. Cost is $3.50 for a full breakfast. Advance reservations are not necessary and everyone in the community is invited.

The Senior Thrift Store now is open until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Volunteers are needed for a variety of positions. For information, call Marian Barber at (928) 474-3205.

Pine/Strawberryeniors

Mark your calendar for the Thrift Store's Fashion Show coming up April 30 in the Pine Community Center on Highway 87 in downtown Pine. There is no admission charge. Local folks will model fashions from the Thrift Store and light refreshments will be available for $1. The event begins at 1 p.m. For information, contact Becky at (928) 476-4633.

AARP

For all you procrastinators who still haven't done your income taxes, there's still time to get help from AARP volunteers. The service is available through April 14 at the Elks Lodge from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and at Gila Community College Thursday. Bring a picture ID, social security card, last year's tax return and 2004 tax documents.

National Raisin and Spice Bar Day

Today, April 5, is National Raisin and Spice Bar Day. From a cookbook titled "Savor the Flavor of Oregon" put out by the Junior League of Eugene, Ore., comes this recipe for raisin spice bars that will have the family begging for more.

Thought for the day: The way to a green thumb is through dirty fingernails.

Raisin Spice Bars

1 cup raisins

2 cups water

1/2 cup margarine

1 cupugar

1-3/4 cups flour (Add an extra tablespoon of flour for high altitude baking)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Grease and flour a 9-by-13 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil raisins in water for 10 minutes (or microwave until raisins are soft). Remove from heat. Add margarine and stir to melt. Cool. Add sugar, flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg blending well. Stir in nuts. Spread batter in prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool thoroughly.

Lemon Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup margarine, softened

3-1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Blend cream cheese and margarine; add remaining ingredients, blend until smooth. Thin with milk or lemon juice if necessary. Spread frosting over raisin squares, cut into bars.

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