2012 CalendarOctober 26. 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products.   

October 27, 2 p.m. Math Circle. Are you good at math? Do you love numbers? Join the HCLS Math Circle to learn about patterns and intricacies in the world of mathematics. Use logic and problem solving skills to solve brain teasing problems. Ages 11-14.  Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

October 29, 11:30 a.m. at the Savage Branch and 2 p.m. at the Miller Branch. Just For Me. Classes for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min. No registration required at the Savage Branch. Tickets available  at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class at the Miller Branch. Offered 10/31 at 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch; no registration required.

October 29, 7:00 p.m.  Fire Safety And Prevention Month. 
Rich Dooley, from Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, comes to the Miller Branch to discuss important safety information. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 30, 7-7:30 p.m. Spooky Signs. Kathy Pongor, a teacher from the Clerc Center at Gallaudet, interprets Halloween stories in sign at the Savage Branch. Make a creepy craft! All ages.

October 30, 7:00- 9:00 pm. Knee Deep in Pain. If a painful knee joint has you begging for mercy, come to this presentation by orthopedic specialist Daniel Tang, M.D. to learn ways to reduce knee pain and get back on your feet! Learn about knee injuries and degenerative conditions such as arthritis, and medical and surgical treatment including arthroscopy and knee replacement surgery. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 30, 7-8:30 p.m. Rewiring Your Neural Pathways of Emotion Did you know that emotions affect our health, outlook, and well-being?  Participants will examine their own current emotional response patterns and learn how to use the tools of imagery, visualization, and meditation to promote positive change and optimal ways of being. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 31, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. Spooky Tunes: A Halloween Party. Come to the East Columbia Branch in costume to listen to spooky tunes and stories. Bring your dancing shoes! Ages 3-5; 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.

October 31, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. Mini Monsters. Wear your costumes and join us at the Miller Branch for spooky tales, a monster mash dance party, and fun crafts. Ages 2-5; 45 min. No registration required.

October 31, 11 a.m. & 7 p.m. Halloween Costume Parade. Show off your costume in a library parade at the Central Branch. Small prizes given to participants. Allow 15 – 30 minutes. Ages infant – 3. No registration required.

November 1, 6:30 p.m. Mean Girls. Come to the Savage Branch and learn how to negotiate the social world of female friendships with expert Deborah West. Ages 11-17. Sponsored by the Horizon Foundation and the Women’s Giving Circle. Register online or by calling 410.880.5980.

Saturday, November 3, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Discovering Daniels Day  Join us for this fun family event! A full day of activities and learning in historic Daniels, a former mill town, in partnership with the Boy Scout Troop 1997 and Gary Memorial United Methodist Church on north side of Ellicott City. Learn about its history from long-time residents, recreation activities, such as hikes, old-fashioned games, Scales & Tales animals, live music, story-telling, Civil War re-enactors, and information from exhibitors on environmental and preservation issues. To register for the event, please click here

 November 3. Family Volunteer Day. Join family and friends at the 12th Annual Family Volunteer Day, presented by Howard County Department of Recreation & Parks. This day has been designated as a time for families and friends, scouts and religious organizations to increase their sense of unity by performing tasks that will improve our community. Participants are encouraged to bring a canned good or paper product for distribution to the Howard County Food Bank. For more information or worksite location registration, contact Ann Combs at 410-313-4624 or acombs@howardcountymd.gov. Rain date is Saturday, November 10.

November 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 1-2-3 Magic, Effective Discipline for Children age 2 – 12, a nationally recognized program for parents who want to reduce challenging behaviors and improve positive behaviors in their children ages 2 – 12 years. Participants will learn the Counting Method and Positive Praise techniques, to curb negative behaviors such as whining, arguing, yelling, and tantrums, and encourage positive behaviors regarding homework, cleaning up, eating, bedtime, and getting ready. The cost of this workshop is $5 per person. Space is limited, pre-register by calling 410-313-1940 or register online at www.howardcountymd.gov/children. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, in Columbia.


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by Cherise Tasker

As evidenced from my earlier posts, getting a child prepared for college can be a hectic and nerve-wracking experience. With the college guidebooks, campus tours, standardized entrance exams, application essays, financial aid forms – Crazy U lets loose and makes it okay to laugh instead of cry.

Andrew Ferguson, an essayist, journalist, and political speechwriter, injects his perspective as wordsmith and father into the life event that is the college application process.  Ferguson travels with his son on the journey from selecting colleges to which he will apply, all the way to selecting a college to attend.  The book cuts through the higher education sales and marketing world to reveal what students and their families really need to know about what admissions officers are thinking.  Along the way, we learn how Ferguson’s family survives the application process, including worries about rejection letters and how they will finance their son’s education.

Reading this while going through the process with my own son, I wished there was more detailed information from various college officials.  The book is well researched, but I sensed there was an attempt throughout to avoid insulting or praising individual institutions, perhaps out of tact or legal considerations.  That said, the book is otherwise well worth the time of any parent who has gone through the college application process or will be soon.  I hope some admission officers will read this too, if only to see the application process through the eyes of students and their families.

The descriptions of the redundancy of the college tours and torture of application essay questions are laugh-out-loud funny.  The depiction of the enthusiastic college student tour guide walking backwards through the scenic campus was so hilarious that I read it aloud to anyone who would listen.  On a gut level, I shared the process of extracting essay responses from a recalcitrant teen whose ear buds were always firmly in place.

Crazy U  is a welcome and recommended alternative to those college guidebooks accumulating dust on the shelf.  It definitely beats the know-it-all blogosphere.  Go ahead, have a good laugh, relieve some stress, and then get back to checking the grammar, punctuation, and word count of your child’s most recently completed essay.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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Trick or Treating was a big deal when I was little and growing up in Clarksville. We didn’t have store-bought costumes; instead we created our own out of pillowcases and sheets, old clothes, tinfoil and duct tape. I can recall being a ghost and a spy and the Statue of Liberty. (My mother encouraged me to memorize the inscription; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”) The costumes had to be sturdy and flexible because Trick or Treating in our, then, rural neighborhood meant climbing over fences and gates and walking through fields, streams and forests. (We all saw what happened to Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird when she wore an awkward ham costume while walking home on Halloween!) We knew our neighbors well and so while the t.v. news stories about x-raying apples were creepy- it wasn’t something that we worried about. Nowadays, kiddos arrive by the vanload in neighborhoods that have good lighting, sidewalks and houses in close proximity. The children don’t wear pillowcases- they carry them to collect a monster-sized stash of candy from people whom they’ve never met.

My eldest two dressed up for Halloween last year.

As a parent I fought unsuccessfully against the gluttony of treats and the commercialization of All Hallow’s Eve. For every toothbrush or spider ring I gave out (Yes, I was THAT neighbor), my husband would counter with a full-sized Hershey bar. My children probably cringed in every humble dress-up-box costume I created as they marched in the school parade- side by side with friends wearing extravagant life-like replicas of squad cars with flashing lights, monsters in professional stage make-up and princesses with Swarovski crystal slippers. (When my youngest was a home-spun witch in first grade along with her two friends she received no extra points for being able to quote Macbeth… “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble…” Yes, I was THAT mother, too!) But if they cringed then- they seem to embrace the concept of creative homespun costumes now.

Although I couldn’t win the toothbrush versus chocolate war- I was able to significantly reduce their sugar consumption. Early on we devised a ‘cash for stash’ system. My children accepted the bribe at the end of each Halloween evening to “sell’ their pillowcases of treats to us for $10.00. (We reasoned that bringing the motherload of sugary treats x 3 to the office and making our colleagues sick and fat was somehow better)

But I digress. Without further ado, the top ten tips for a safe and healthy Halloween:

  1. Choose bright  and/or light costumes that are easy to see do not obstruct your child’s vision
  2. Choose a costume that allows your child to move freely (remember Scout!)
  3. Trick or Treat before dark or attach lights or glow sticks to their costumes after dark
  4. Young children should always be accompanied by adults
  5. Older children should travel in small groups
  6. Organize your community to post adults strategically throughout the neighborhood
  7. Allow your children to visit just the neighbors or people you know to solicit their treats
  8. Check their candy when they get home and don’t allow them to eat anything that is open or unsealed
  9. Limit consumption of candy by limiting the size of their container. When the container is full, it’s time to go home. Or, after arriving home, encourage them to select some of their treats and surrender the rest. (Check out Operation Buy Back where local dentists buy back the candy and donate it to our troops)
  10. Take the emphasis off of the treats and help your children celebrate the non-edible traditions (Talk about the best  jack-o-lanterns they saw , the scariest house, or the funniest costume. Watch It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or read a good Halloween story)

Bonus Tip? Take lots of photos- the years fly by fast!

Mary Catherine Cochran works as a Senior Communications Project Manager at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine where, among other things, she manages and writes for the Well & Wise blog.

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by Barbara Cornell

Everyone must know by now that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Why, my newspaper today actually came printed on pink paper!  A lot of media are clamoring for our attention this month.  Let’s look at a few books that will help us through the maze of women’s health, especially breast health.

Booklist Online is a publication of the American Library Association for “librarians, book groups and book lovers.”  The October 1, 2012 issue features a “Read-alikes” article by Donna Seaman on “Good Food, Good Health.”  I thought I’d  check out a few of her eight choices and tell you what they offer.

The Betty Crocker Cookbook for Women, 2007, is more than a cookbook.  It is a “complete guide to women’s health and wellness at every stage of life.”  Before they get to the recipes—which are clear, simple and beautifully photographed—the Betty Crocker editors write for over 30 pages on the “Ages and stages of life.”  Their healthful advice touches on choices when eating out, stress, exercise at different stages of life, and much more.  Also chiming in with a Q & A and with sidebar notes on many recipes is cardiologist Dr. Rita Redberg.  With its additional charts on health concerns and recommended screenings by age, this is a book that should be valuable throughout a woman’s life.

More specific to the fight against cancer is The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, 2009, by Rebecca Katz and Mat Edelson.  The authors offer “nourishing, big-flavor recipes for cancer treatment and recovery.”  The goal here is to strengthen the body’s cells to reduce cancer growth, decrease inflammation, maintain healthy blood sugar, withstand the rigors of chemotherapy, and—perhaps most important—improve appetite.   Before we get to the recipes, there is a lot to read–all in a very engaging and encouraging style.  The authors stand behind the science backing up their recommendations.  I can’t endorse or deny their claims, but I know that faith and a positive attitude are extremely important in recovery.  This book is like comfort food and helps you feel there’s someone fighting with you!

Breast Cancer: 50 Essential Things You Can Do, 2011, by Greg Anderson, founder of Cancer Recovery International, is very pink—you can’t miss it.  Mr. Anderson’s book is enthusiastically endorsed by Christiane Northrup, M.D., “a leading proponent of medicine that acknowledges the unity of mind, body, emotions, and spirit.”  The book is self-described as a “life-saving guide, a roadmap for women on the journey through breast cancer.”  I think that having 50 essential things to concentrate on and “check off,” if you will, must be a helpful way to focus energy.  At the end of the book is a short section on “Food as medicine” with some helpful advice on what to banish from your kitchen and what to stock up on.

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, 2012, by Florence Williams, is not exactly a health book although that’s where we have put it in the Howard County Library System.  It’s more of a, well, humorously serious science book with a bit of cultural anthropology thrown in.  She says, “We love breasts, yet we can’t quite take them seriously.” She uses her own life experience to illustrate the stages women go through and how we view our bodies.  To a person who is going through a life-altering breast disease, I would say: “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry—but read this book!”

I am left with a thought– if only it were so easy to banish such a horrible disease simply by how we eat.  Have a happy and healthy Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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2012 Calendar

Our weekly listing of events and classes in and around Howard County to make you Well & Wise!

October 19, 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products. 

October 19, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 50+Expo. Howard County General Hospital is a proud sponsor of the 14th annual 50+ Expo geared towards adults 50 and older, caregivers, family members and health care professionals. Featuring over 140 exhibitors, workshops, health seminars, seasonal flu vaccines and all day entertainment.  Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia.  Catch the free shuttle service from the Columbia Mall.

October 20, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Clinic  Join Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine at the Mall in Columbia for this free, event. Speak with physicians about breast and colon health, nutrition, smoking cessation, and get fecal occult blood, pulmonary function, blood pressure, height and weight with body mass index screenings.

October 20, 10:00 a.m. Family Hike on Site at the Howard County Conservancy.  Join a Conservancy naturalist.  Fall is in the air.  The leaves are every color imaginable. Bring the family and explore how nature prepares for winter.  The Conservancy’s naturalists are again leading family hikes, divided into groups that are age and ability appropriate. Explore the grasslands, stream edges, woodlands, and gardens, noticing animals and other wonders of nature.  Dress appropriately.  In case of rain, check website.   FREE.

October 20, 11 a.m.- 12 p.m. Pizza Garden: Pizza Nutrition. Celebrate National Pizza Month at the Miller Branch. Learn about the nutritional value of pizza while discussing food preferences and choices. Then design a pizza, and make a plan to convince food fans that your pizza is tasty and nutritious. Ages 9-12. Registration and signed release form required. Click here to download release form. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 20, 1:30 p.m. Textures And Scents Of Plants. Master Gardener Anne Roy comes to the Miller Branch to discuss plants that smell good; feel fuzzy, soft, or scratchy; and look pretty or interesting. Visit the garden to experience many of the plants. Ages 5-8; 30 – 60 min. Registration and signed release form required. Click here to download release form. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 20, 2:00 p.m. Apple Season. Fall is apple season! Celebrate this favorite fruit at the Savage Branch with a story about Johnny Appleseed, activities, and a tasty treat! Ages 4-8; 45 min. Register online or by calling 410.880.5978.

October 20, 3:00 p.m. Herbal Apothecary. Join Master Gardener Anne Roy at the Miller Branch for a brief look at plants and their uses for medicines, perfumes, cooking, and flavorings. Visit the garden to experience many of the plants. Ages 9-12; 30 – 60 min. Registration and signed release form required. Click here to download release form. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 21, 5:00-9:00 p.m. Gilchrist Taste and Auction of Howard County. Savor, celebrate and support Gilchrist Center Howard County. Enjoy fare from 26 of Howard County’s finest restaurants and caterers plus exciting live and silent auctions. Turf Valley Conference Center, Ellicott City.

October 22, 11:30 a.m. at the Savage Branch and 2 p.m. at the Miller Branch. Just For Me. Classes for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min. No registration required at the Savage Branch. Tickets available  at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class at the Miller Branch. Offered 10/23, 10:30 a.m. at the Glenwood Branch– registration required; register online or by calling 410.313.5579. And offered at 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. at the Elkridge Branch; no registration required.

October 24, 7:00 p.m.  Amy Stewart. Join award-winning author Amy Stewart at the Miller Branch as she takes a dark yet comical look at the natural world. Discover plants that kill, maim, intoxicate, and otherwise offend, along with insects that infest, infect, and wreak havoc. Based on her bestsellers Wicked Plants and Wicked Bugs, Stewart presents a mixture of history, science, murder, and intrigue that begins–but doesn’t end–in your own backyard. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 24, 7-8 p.m. Bats: Halloween & Beyond! Halloween is for scary creatures and monsters. Are bats among them? Master Gardener Alex Dunbar comes to the Miller Branch to talk about the ten species of bats that live in Maryland – learn about our favorite flying mammals. Enjoy a bit of Halloween fun, too. Ages 7 & up. No registration required.

October 25, 11:30 a.m. Pumpkin Time. Fall is pumpkin season! Celebrate it at the Savage Branch as we listen to stories and songs, explore a real pumpkin, and create a craft. Ages 2-5; 45 min. Register online or by calling 410.880.5978.

October 25, 7:00- 9:00 p.m. Considering Join Replacement Surgery? If you’ve been told you need joint replacement surgery- this may be the next stop on the list.  Receive practical information including information about physical fitness and rehabilitation before and after surgery. Therapists will demonstrate specific physical therapy exercises. Orthopedic surgeon Mark Bullock, M.D. and anesthesiologist Mercy Thomaskutty, M.D. will answer questions.  The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 25, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Parenting in the Digital Age. This free workshop will focus on parents’ common concerns about online activity, including bullying, inappropriate use of photos, setting limits at home and at school, use of social media, and texting and driving. A panel discussion will follow, with representatives from the school system, police, local community programs and student speakers, addressing questions from those in attendance. Space is limited, pre-register by calling 410-313-1940 or register online at www.howardcountymd.gov/children. The Bain Center, 5470 Ruth Keeton Way, in Columbia.

October 26. 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products.   

October 30, 7:00- 9:00 pm. Knee Deep in Pain. If a painful knee joint has you begging for mercy, come to this presentation by orthopedic specialist Daniel Tang, M.D. to learn ways to reduce knee pain and get back on your feet! Learn about knee injuries and degenerative conditions such as arthritis, and medical and surgical treatment including arthroscopy and knee replacement surgery. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 30, 7-8:30 p.m. Rewiring Your Neural Pathways of Emotion Did you know that emotions affect our health, outlook, and well-being?  Participants will examine their own current emotional response patterns and learn how to use the tools of imagery, visualization, and meditation to promote positive change and optimal ways of being. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.


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By Cherise Tasker

Whether you went to college or not, you likely have certain ideas in mind about what your young adult’s experience will be.  Now is the time to step back, clear your thoughts,  and be ready to listen to what your son or daughter is going through.  Your young adult needs you to be there for her/him in new and different ways.  The best way to be there is to prepare yourself to understand what s/he is going through.  Be ready to hear what is actually going on rather than assuming what is going on or what you think should be going on filtered by your expectations.

I referred to the two books recommended by my son’s school: Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger and The Parents We Mean To Be: How Well-Intentioned Adults Undermine Children’s Moral and Emotional Development by Richard Weissbourd.  The first provided milestones I could watch for in my son’s progress into and through college.  The second asked me to consider the psychological components behind what my son might go through as he proceeds to adulthood.

Communication with your student at this time may be unpredictable.  At times, she may call frequently, at other times you may not hear from her for weeks.  Time and again, one hears that “no news is good news.”  For some of our students, this is true; for others, this may be cause for possible concern.  On the other hand, frequent communication by some students may indicate that they need their parents’ attention or are homesick.  Often, our young adult children just need to hear a familiar voice.  They are in a new world with different schedules, friends, and expectations, and they need our empathy and support.  Many never had to share a room and now are adjusting to living with a stranger.  All are contending with different levels of academic demands than they had in high school.  We must accept that we will see our students’ progress in fits and starts.  For example, once they are comfortable with new friends, they then have to contend with college midterms for the first time.

This is a time to encourage our young adults’ intellectual exploration and development of self identity.  The temptation is to view the college years as a time of independence, but it is more complicated than that.  Yes, your son has to learn where his classes are just as he did in middle school, but in these classes he will try on the lenses through which he may see the rest of his life.  Your daughter may be practicing opening yet another gym locker, but the sport may become a career.

Appreciating a college student’s peer group and professor-mentor influences can help when responding to his questions about how to solve a problem.  We may know the solution we would like to see, but our students must arrive at their own solutions.  We can ask them open-ended questions that allow them to look at their own personal values as well as what they have seen in their new friends and what they have learned in their classes.  A child’s solution might be different than our own, but if s/he can separate out the influences involved in the decisions, s/he has the opportunity to make a better-informed choice.

Coburn and Treeger report that students want to be supported rather than told what to do.  They want to know their parents are thinking about them.  They appreciate care packages.  They enjoy private conversations with one parent or sibling at a time.  Most kids want to hear about what’s going on back home.  Parents should convey interest in classes, but be careful to avoid the impression that they care only about the grades.  (Freshmen can feel a good degree of uncertainty about their academic status because, unlike high school, graded assignments and teacher feedback is not as frequent.)  Our young adults want to know that we trust them to take care of themselves.  We should make every effort to empathize that college can be rough and understand that students “need to experiment and handle the consequences.”  We need to follow our kids’ lead in conversations so we can learn what’s truly on their minds.

There will be times when our students should seek assistance from campus resources.  Serious concerns including mental health, eating disorders, substance abuse, assault, and illness may require professional intervention.  Even in these situations, however, parents should try to continue to empower their young adult children — to listen rather than judge and support rather than rescue.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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Creativity and Health

Creativity can lead to better mental and physical health. According to Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, “Creating helps make people happier, less anxious, more resilient and better equipped to problem-solve in the face of hardship.”

There’s more value to the arts than one may think. “In this fast-paced world we live in, I think it is important to set aside time for being creative with whatever appeals to you — painting, pottery, crafts, photography,” says Liz Henzey, director at the Columbia Art Center.  “A creative outlet can be so much fun and self-gratifying.  It can also help with the daily stresses of our busy schedules.”

What better way to get creative than to visit the Columbia Art Center? “We try to provide a fun and inviting atmosphere for people so that they feel comfortable to explore their creative side,” Henzey says.

A new workshop called Nurturing the Creative Impromptu is debuting at the Columbia Art Center in November. Hosted by vocalist Denee Barr and poet Kay Weeks, this two-hour workshop explores the concept of how poetic language and music that can come from the heart — be spontaneous, fun and joyful — when a person does not stop to edit, erase or start over. Using their previous experience, Barr and Weeks will provide examples of how this works.

Nurturing the Creative Impromptu will be held at the Columbia Art Center on Sat, Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. to noon. Registration is $5 for residents and $10 for non-residents. For more information, please call 410-730-0075

Keithan Samuels works in the Communications and Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA).

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All of the guts, none of the blood.

“Every Halloween season we see four or five patients — both adults and children — who come into our office with severe injuries to their hands and fingers,” says Jeffrey Wint, MD, a member of the  American Society for Surgery of the Hand from The Hand Center of Western Massachusetts. “Treatment can often run three to four months, from the time of surgery through rehabilitation.”

These injuries are more than just faceless statistics or random weirdness that gets captured in horrific YouTube videos. For example in 2010, Brad Gruner, starting quarterback for the University of New Mexico’s football team had his season cut short when he cut a tendon in his throwing hand while carving a pumpkin. And Anita Lo, owner of the West Village Restaurant Annisa and whom some of you might recognize from Top Chef Masters, had a similar accident in her teens. It is said it even dashed her hopes of becoming a pianist.

There is, however, no reason anyone need suffer a life/career-changing injury or end up in a creepy YouTube video. You can find pumpkin-carving safety tips all over the place from PediatricSafety.Net to  the Pumpkin Nook. The most basic things to keep in mind are these:

  • Make sure the area where you are working in is well-lit and dry.  And, after cleaning out the pumpkin really well, make sure it too is as dry as you can get it to help prevent any tools from slipping.
  • Use the proper tools.  Most places recommend a long, serrated knife, or, even better, there are now pumpkin-carving knives and kits designed just for this purpose.
  • Most places suggest only those 14 years or older carve, and always with supervision or someone nearby in case of injuries. Point knives away from you and use a slicing or sawing motion.  NEVER force the knife. And always make sure your free hand is not in the path of the knife. (Also bold and simple patterns may make for easier carving if you’re a beginner.)
  • If you’re using a candle to light your Jack-o’-lantern, never leave it unattended.  In fact, the safer way to go, may be to use flameless candles or battery-operated votives.

 

Let’s face it, Halloween is still mainly for kids, and pumpkin-carving safety doesn’t always allow for them to get in on the action.  So keep your kids part of the process, but in safe ways.  Let them help pick the pumpkins (even if their choice isn’t the one that is the perfect shape). Have them help scrape out the “guts”; they should need nothing more dangerous than a spoon or slimy fingers. Let them have a say in the design.  And of course let them participate, after the carving or with their own non-carving pumpkin, with markers, non-toxic paints, stickers, glitter glue, and other safe craft items. And, for you master carvers out there, check out some resources on clever carving, such as Pumpkin CarvingHalloween Crafts: The Complete Guide to Carving the Perfect Pumpkin, and Extreme Pumpkins II: Take Back Halloween and Freak Out a Few More Neighbors. Just make sure you’re safe while making your spooky masterpiece.
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2012 CalendarOctober 12, 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products. 

October 13, 10:00 a.m.  WONDER TALK at the Howard County Conservancy:  Creepy Creatures:  Toads, Worms, Spiders, Snakes with Ashley Jarvis &, Billy Heinbuch.  Ooooooo!  It’s almost Halloween when all sorts of creepy, crawly, and maybe spooky, animals are hanging about!  Have a wicked good time learning about these warty, slimy, hairy, scaly, slithery animals. Rain or shine. FREE.  Program open to the first 100 registered guests; walk -ins admitted on space available basis.

October 15, 11:30 a.m. at the Savage Branch & 2:00 p.m. at the Miller Branch. Just For Me.  Classes at the Savage and Miller Branches for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min. No registration required at Savage, and tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class at Miller. Offered again October 16 at 10:30am at the Glenwood Branch–Register online for Glenwood or by calling 410.313.5579.

October 15, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital. 1st & 3rd Mondays at the Glenwood Branch. No registration required.

October, 15. 7:00 p.m. Hands-Only CPR. Brad Tanner, from Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, comes to the Central Branch to teach the basics of adult CPR and the warning signs for sudden cardiac arrest. He also discusses the functions of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Participants are required to practice the Hands-Only CPR method on the provided mannequins as they are assisted by the instructor. This course is intended for all ages and recommended for individuals who wish to learn the basics of CPR. Note: Hands-Only CPR is a basic course and is designed to be performed without a CPR card. As a result, a CPR card is not issued upon course completion. Register online or by calling 410.313.7800.

October 15, 7:00- 8:30 p.m. Do Your Eyelids Need a Lift? Droopy eyelids may indicate a condition known as eyebrow ptosis. This may result in a decrease in your field of vision due to aging or a medical condition. Join us for this free presentation and discover treatment options that can help you see better again. Presented by Nicholas Mahoney, M.D. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m. It’s Hip to be Pain Free. Hip pain can make you feel years older! Review causes and treatments for hip pain and the latest surgical approaches in hip replacement surgery. Presented by orthopedic specialist Charles Mess. M.D.  The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 16, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Choose Civility Youth Art Show And Reception. What would you like people to do (or not do)? Howard County students in grades K-12 are invited to create a picture or take a photo that completes this statement: “Would It Kill You to…?” All 2-D and 3-D media are acceptable. Submit entries October 5-8. Entry forms and details at ChooseCivility.org. Presented in partnership with the Columbia Arts Center. Exhibit: Oct 11 – 21. Reception: Oct 16 (5:30-7:30 pm) Location: Columbia Arts Center, 6100 Foreland Garth, Columbia (410.730.0075).

October 16, 7:00 p.m. How The Media Fuels Childhood Obesity And What To Do About It. Dr. Dan Levy, pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, comes to the East Columbia Branch to discuss the impact of the media on food and drink choices made by children, how these messages contribute to the obesity epidemic among today’s youth, and what parents can do about it. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

October 17, 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. Just For Me. Classes at the Elkridge Branch for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min. No registration required.

October 17, 7:00 p.m. License To Thrive:
Title IX At 35. From classroom to boardroom to courtroom to green room to locker room, Title IX has benefited millions of girls. This engaging film, being shown at the Miller Branch, examines how Title IX has opened doors for girls and women. Discussion follows. Cosponsored by the Women’s Giving Circle. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 17, 6:00-8:00 p.m. You’re a Breast Cancer Survivor, Now What? Share the evening with our experts and discuss the various aspects of survivorship.  Topics will include the newest research on lingering physical, emotional and social aspects. Light refreshments will be served. Presented by Teji Sastry, M.D. and Sally Cheston, M.D.  The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 18, 7:00 p.m. Belly Dancing. Columbia Association Instructor Anita Baxter teaches a beginning level belly dance class at the East Columbia Branch. Learn basic techniques such as knee shimmy, snake arms, hip drops, and shoulder shimmies. Registration and signed release form required to attend. Click here to download the release form for a child or teen under 18 years old. Click here to download the release form for adults 18 or older. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

October 19, 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products. 

October 19, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 50+Expo. Howard County General Hospital is a proud sponsor of the 14th annual 50+ Expo geared towards adults 50 and older, caregivers, family members and health care professionals. Featuring over 140 exhibitors, workshops, health seminars, seasonal flu vaccines and all day entertainment.  Wilde Lake High School, 5460 Trumpeter Rd., Columbia.  Catch the free shuttle service from the Columbia Mall.

October 20, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Clinic  Join Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine at the Mall in Columbia for this free, event. Speak with physicians about breast and colon health, nutrition, smoking cessation, and get fecal occult blood, pulmonary function, blood pressure, height and weight with body mass index screenings.

October 20, 10:00 a.m. Family Hike on Site at the Howard County Conservancy.  Join a Conservancy naturalist.  Fall is in the air.  The leaves are every color imaginable. Bring the family and explore how nature prepares for winter.  The Conservancy’s naturalists are again leading family hikes, divided into groups that are age and ability appropriate. Explore the grasslands, stream edges, woodlands, and gardens, noticing animals and other wonders of nature.  Dress appropriately.  In case of rain, check website.   FREE.

October 21, 5:00-9:00 p.m. Gilchrest Taste and Auction of Howard County. Savor, celebrate and support Gilchrist Center Howard County. Enjoy fare from 26 of Howard County’s finest restaurants and caterers plus exciting live and silent auctions. Turf Valley Conference Center, Ellicott City.


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by Sharon McRae

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with all things Indian.  Lately, I’ve been listening to a very interesting audio book by Deepak Chopra called Magical Mind, Magical Body.  It’s all about Ayurveda, a system of medicine that originated in India over 5000 years ago.  The chapter I recently listened to had some very relevant, useful tips with regard to maintaining optimal weight and conquering cravings.  Here’s a brief summary:

If you enjoy food, you will never have a weight problem.  Eating awareness helps to maximize your satiety.  Most people who have weight problems seek more satiety because they are eating unconsciously, so it takes longer for the satiety level to be reached.

Here are some rules from Ayurveda for eating with awareness:

1.    Whenever you eat, no matter how little or how much, make a rule that you are going to sit down,  preferably at a table.  Don’t eat when standing, driving, walking, speaking on the phone, etc.  Eat in an enjoyable manner so you get the maximum enjoyment out of the experience.

2.    When you eat, don’t do anything else; don’t read, do a crossword puzzle, watch TV, etc.  You want to get the maximum sensory experience out of the food.

3.    Eat when the stomach is empty, when there is no remnant from previously eaten meals in your stomach.  Otherwise, this will interfere with maximum enjoyment.   According to basic rules of physiology, it takes approximately 4 hours for all food to leave the stomach (this may be a little shorter or longer depending on your Ayurvedic “dosha,” or body type).   Place your hand over your stomach and feel the sensations to determine whether there is food in the stomach or not.  If there is still food from a previously digested meal, then wait to eat.  In the beginning, this takes a little practice.  After 3-4 days, hunger sensations begin to come at appropriate times.

4.    Do not put food in the mouth until the previous bite has gone into the stomach.  Don’t speak and eat at same time.  Speak only when food is in the stomach, not in the mouth.

5.    For your first helping, take the equivalent of 2 cupped handfuls of food.  This will fill about 2/3 of the stomach, leaving about 1/3 for digestion.  If after that you still feel hungry, it may be genuine hunger, which means you haven’t eaten enough, or it may be just a memory.  If it’s just a memory or force of habit, just wait 5 minutes before you take a second helping.  Frequently satiety levels will reach a threshold and if you wait 5 minutes, you will reach that level.  Get in touch with the experience of comfort and discomfort in the area of the stomach.  At the point of comfort, stop eating.  If you go beyond this point, you are violating a simple point of eating awareness and disrupting the feeling of energy.  If you practice eating awareness for a week, you will feel so much energy coming into you from eating that you will want to follow these rules all the time.  You get used to feeling so good that you don’t want to violate it.  If you eat past this point of comfort, you will feel uncomfortable, then tired, and perhaps sick.

6.     If one has cravings that are inappropriately strong in that he/she eats always to the point of discomfort, that person may have an eating disorder.  But this is from the inability to enjoy food.  There are six tastes and if you do not experience them every day, this may be the cause.  The six tastes are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, astringent.  There are taste buds distributed on the tongue: the tip has more for sweet tastes, the back of the tongue has more for bitter tastes, the sides of the tongue have more for sour tastes, and the surface has more for salty tastes.  The pungent and astringent tastes have very few receptors; these tastes are characteristic in that just a little has a big effect on the body.  Sweet tastes can be detected at a dilution of 1/200.  For salty tastes, a dilution of 1/400 can be detected.  For sour tastes, a 1/130,000 can be detected.  For bitter tastes, a 1 in two million dilution can be detected.  Most poisonous things are extremely bitter and can be detected in a very faint dilution.

If we listen to our taste buds, then we will enjoy food more and tend not to overeat.  In our society, we tend to focus too much on the sweet, sour, and salty tastes, for example, in fast food, so the body develops nutritional deficiencies.  We have lost our ability to respond to the internal cues that nature has built into our system.  If you constantly expose your body to sweet, sour, and salty tastes, this becomes what you crave.  When you have these cravings, gently introduce all six tastes in one meal every day.  To introduce bitter tastes, try green leafy vegetables.  Pungent tastes are spices, like horseradish, mustard, red peppers, jalapeno; and astringent tastes are beans and lentils.  Start eating more of these types of foods, and your cravings should dissipate as the body is exposed to what nature intended.

Following these rules and eating with awareness ensures that your body gets the nutrients it needs and in the right amounts for maximum energy and weight control without deprivation.

Sharon McRae is a Certified Health Coach and mother of three, who has been adopting and applying principles of health and nutrition in her own life for more than three decades. She became a health coach to fulfill her passion of helping others feel their best and achieve optimal health through adaptation of a plant-based, whole-foods diet, as well as other healthy lifestyle modifications. Sharon received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. See www.eatwell-staywell.com for more information.

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Knee Deep in Pain?

A total knee replacement is usually performed to relieve symptoms of severe knee arthritis. According to new data from Medicare records, total knee replacement procedures for seniors over 65 rose 162 percent from 1991 to 2010 and the number of revision procedures, a surgery to repair a previously implanted artificial knee joint, jumped 106 percent. The statistics are part of research released in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research includes only Medicare patients and data for those younger than 65 who may have had the surgery is not included. According to the study, about 600,000 total knee replacement procedures are performed each year in the U.S. and about 60 percent of those are paid by Medicare.

My Uncle George is one of the millions of older Americans contributing to those statistics. He is a tough old bird. As part of the 90th infantry he landed on Omaha Beach during the D-Day offensive. A self-described “foot soldier” he carried the 45-pound baseplate of the 81mm mortar from the shores of Normandy to Pilsen Czechoslovakia. After the war, he became a commercial plumber and spent years on his knees on cold concrete floors running copper pipe and fittings. His knees gave out long before he was ready to slow down so, twenty years ago at the age of 66, he underwent knee replacement surgery. His wasn’t the first; according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the first knee replacement surgery was performed in 1968.

Howard County General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine has been performing joint replacement procedures since the hospital’s earliest days, but in May of 2008 the hospital decided to focus and specialize in these procedures and opened the Joint Academy. “Although joint replacement surgery has been offered for many years at HCGH, the establishment of the Joint Academy in May 2008 took the service to a whole new level,” said Richard Kinnard, M.D., medical director of the Joint Academy. Last year the Academy performed 195 joint replacements and 158 of those were knee replacements. As with all joint replacements, the knee replacement has evolved as improvements in the artificial implants and surgical techniques have made the surgery more effective. Post-operative rehabilitation has come a long way as well. The study indicates that the average post-surgery stay in the hospital dropped to 3.5 days from 7.9 days. (At the HCGH’s Joint Academy most patients come in on Monday for surgery and go home on Thursday.)

Toni Keller, coordinator of the Joint Academy believes that the pre-op process helps improve the post- op experience. “When patients come in before their surgery and are educated on what to expect, it makes them much better prepared as a patient,” Keller says. “We also teach the family what to expect and how to prepare the home to make recovery easier.” Keller points out that improvements in care continue to evolve. “Currently Howard County General Hospital’s Joint Academy is one of only 300 hospitals nationwide participating with IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) in phase 2 of ‘Project Joints.’” The project involves a rigorous protocol to prevent Surgical Site Infections (SSI). Steps include specialized pre-operative bathing, selective choice of antibiotics, and pre-operative evaluation for staph infections. Keller notes that the hospital’s focus on joint replacement received recognition. “In 2012, the Joint Academy earned the designation of a Blue Distinction Center for knee and hip replacement by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.”

Howard County General Hospital has several upcoming seminars about joint replacement that you can attend to learn more about the procedures.  It’s Hip to Be Pain Free is presented by Dr. Charles Mess on October 16,  Considering Joint Replacement Surgery  presented by Dr. Mark Bullock and Toni Keller is October 25th and Knee Deep in Pain will be presented by Dr. Daniel Tang on October 30th.

And, if you are still curious about George…on his old knees, he earned the Purple Heart after he was wounded in the Battle of Chambois and a Bronze Star for his bravery while helping others cross the Moselle River. In 2007, standing tall on new, pain-free knees, he was awarded the French Legion Medal of Honor by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for his service during the liberation of France.

 

 

Mary Catherine Cochran works as a Senior Communications Project Manager at Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine where, among other things, she manages and writes for the Well & Wise blog.

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Childhood obesity is a topic that comes up often at Well & Wise, probably because it is a very real problem in the United States. According to the CDC, “Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States – triple the rate from just one generation ago.” We also know that the media plays a huge role with kids, especially regarding body image and lifestyle choices.

Of course there are many resources on these topics, such as How Does Advertising Impact Teen Behavior and The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School — Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More and Childhood Nutrition Preventing Obesity. Volume 3, Healthy Habits for Kids. However, the East Columbia Branch is offering a unique opportunity to explore this topic, a class on Tuesday, October 17 at 7:00pm.

Dr. Dan Levy, pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, will discuss the impact of the media on food and drink choices made by children, how these messages contribute to the obesity epidemic among today’s youth, and what parents can do about it. This class is presented in partnership with The Horizon Foundation and the Maryland Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Registration is required.


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2012 CalendarOctober 5, 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products.

October 6, 11:00 a.m. Pizza Garden: History Of Pizza. Celebrate National Pizza Month at the Miller Branch. Learn about the origins of pizza, what food groups comprise pizza, and the ingredients grown in Maryland. Ages 9-12; 60 min. Registration and signed release form required. Click here to download release form. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Through October 7 Farm-City Celebration Howard County farms have been producing food and fiber for more than 200 years. Fall is the perfect time to celebrate the Count’s strong agricultural heritage and to promote the mutual benefits farmers and their “city cousins” share.  14 Days of fun for families and learning experiences for kids of all ages! An opportunity to appreciate the contributions our farms make to the quality of life for all Howard County residents. Farms are opening their doors so check the schedule for an activity or Farm Fall Festival near you!

October 8. Howard County Library System Closed for Columbus Day Holiday.

October 9, 10:30 a.m. Just For Me. A classes at the Glenwood Branch for children ages 3-5 who are ready for an independent class that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. 30 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

October 9, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. Baby Sign. Learn basic signs in American Sign Language at the Central Branch. Ages 6-23 months with adult; 30 min. Six-week series. No registration required.

October, 9. 7:00 p.m. Hands-only CPR. Brad Tanner, from Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, teaches the basics of adult CPR and the warning signs for sudden cardiac arrest at the East Columbia Branch. He also discusses the functions of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Participants are required to practice the Hands-Only CPR method on the provided mannequins as they are assisted by the instructor. This course is intended for all ages and recommended for individuals who wish to learn the basics of CPR. Note: Hands-Only CPR is a basic course and is designed to be performed without a CPR card. As a result, a CPR card is not issued upon course completion. Register online or by calling 410.313.7700.

October 9, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Flu Vaccine Don’t let the flu bug get you down. Be healthy this winter and avoid the flu by getting your annual flu shot. Howard County General Hospital, in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Outpatient Pharmacy, will offer vaccines to ages 3 to adult. The cost is $25 and must be paid at the time of your appointment, checks or cash only. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 10, 4:30 & 7 p.m. Choose Civility The Elephant And Piggie Way! Come to the Miller Branch to learn how Elephant and Piggie “Choose Civility” and are always kind to each other. Ages 4-7; 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.

October 10, 4:30 p.m. Oh So Kind! Everyone deserves a little kindness, including animals. Celebrate Choose Civility Week at the Glenwood Branch with stories, activities and a craft. Ages 3-6; 30 min. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

October 11, 10:15 & 11:30 a.m. Sharing And Caring. Enjoy stories and activities about friendship and manners at the Central Branch. Ages 2-5; 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.

October 11, 10:30 a.m. Oh So Kind! Everyone deserves a little kindness, including animals. Celebrate Choose Civility Week with stories, activities and a craft. Ages 3-6; 30 min. Registration required. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

October 11, 6:15 p.m. Public Discourse: Would It Kill You To Be More Civil?
Choose Civility Symposium. FA symposium at the Miller Branch featuring NPR’s Korva Coleman in conversation with Henry Alford, author of Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?: A Modern Guide to Manners, and Andy Green from the Baltimore Sun. Books available for purchase and signing. An HCLS Signature Event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

October 11, 3:00-5:00 p.m. Depression Screening In recognition of National Depression Screening Day, Howard County General Hospital offers a free, confidential screening for depression. The two-hour event includes lecture, video, self-assessment, and an individual evaluation with a mental health practitioner. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 11, 5:30-9:00 p.m. Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED 2012 This course will teach you the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how use an automated external defibrillator (AED). At the successful completion of this course, you will earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card.  This course is for community members and does not meet the qualifications for health care provider. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 12, 2:00- 6:00 p.m. HCGH Farmer’s Market.  Come and pick out some fresh fruits and veggies from our Farmer’s Market.  Did you know that the products at HCGH are 100% Howard County grown or produced? Stop by the Farmer’s Market to pick up locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetables and other local products.

October 13, 10:00 a.m.  WONDER TALK at the Howard County Conservancy:  Creepy Creatures:  Toads, Worms, Spiders, Snakes with Ashley Jarvis &, Billy Heinbuch.  Ooooooo!  It’s almost Halloween when all sorts of creepy, crawly, and maybe spooky, animals are hanging about!  Have a wicked good time learning about these warty, slimy, hairy, scaly, slithery animals. Rain or shine. FREE.  Program open to the first 100 registered guests; walk -ins admitted on space available basis.

October 15, 7:00- 8:30 p.m. Do Your Eyelids Need a Lift? Droopy eyelids may indicate a condition known as eyebrow ptosis. This may result in a decrease in your field of vision due to aging or a medical condition. Join us for this free presentation and discover treatment options that can help you see better again. Presented by Nicholas Mahoney, M.D. The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.

October 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m. It’s Hip to be Pain Free. Hip pain can make you feel years older! Review causes and treatments for hip pain and the latest surgical approaches in hip replacement surgery. Presented by orthopedic specialist Charles Mess. M.D.  The Wellness Center 10710 Charter Drive, Suite 100.


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No, we don’t mean the friend who taught your kids some new vocabulary you hoped he/she wouldn’t learn until high school, or joining the Navy, or ever. We don’t even mean the kind or friend who will point out to you (and then later report back to his/her parents) every speck of dust or smudged window in your house. We mean the kind that is creepy, crawly, likes to hang out on scalps and lay eggs in hair. Please, don’t stop reading, don’t be repulsed or ashamed, and don’t be foolish enough to think that it can’t happen to you.

It’s an absolute MYTH that head lice has anything to do with personal hygiene or how clean someone’s residence is. The truth is lice are common parasitic insects that can be found on people’s heads and bodies, and survive by feeding on human blood. There are three types of lice that live on humans: Pediculus humanus capitis (head louse), Pediculus humanus corporis (body louse, clothes louse), and, Pthirus pubi  (“crab” louse, pubic louse). It is head lice that is most commonly brought home by our little darlings.

Kids (or anyone really) can get head lice if they come into close contact with a person who has lice; touch the clothing or bedding of someone who has lice; or share hats, towels, brushes, or combs of someone who has had lice. Again having head lice does NOT mean the person has poor hygiene or low social status; kids touch, share, poke, grab, lick, punch, share, etc, all the time, especially in crowded public settings like camp, day care, and school. And the best prevention is to keep kids from doing these things, but that is probably not going to happen.

So what should we be on the look out for in our little critters to see if they’ve picked up any of these other critters? Intense itching is the main sign, but there is also sometimes a tickling feeling from movement of hair. These signs may not necessarily mean your child has head lice, but they may mean you’ll have to (cringe) take a closer look. Adult lice may be about the size of a sesame seed or slightly larger., and lice eggs or nits, which resemble tiny pussy willow buds and can be mistaken for dandruff, may appear on hair shafts. Unlike dandruff, they can’t be easily brushed out of hair. You may also notice small, red bumps on the scalp, neck and shoulders.

According to the Mayo Clinic often you can get rid of lice by taking self-care steps that include using nonprescription shampoo that’s specifically formulated, if you or your little one has any infected hives or skin abrasions from scratching. You’ll also want to take steps to thoroughly clean house, such as properly laundering bedding and cleaning household combs and brushes, to prevent another head lice outbreak.

As KidsHealth so succinctly puts it Lice aren’t dangerous and they don’t spread disease, but they are contagious and can just be downright annoying.” There’s lots of resources and products to help combat this annoying little bugger. Places like The National Pediculosis Association or Lice Happens are just 2 of many that can provide info and help. The most helpful thing is to battle the stigma associated with head lice, to feel okay to talk about it, to let schools and parents know what’s going on so everyone can be on the look out and do what they need to get the lice out.

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Yoga For Cancer?

The Benefits of Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors

Heather leading a yoga class for cancer patients

Through the ancient practice of yoga and meditation, cancer patients and survivors learn how to manage stress, enhance immune function and feel better overall. Restoring energy, improving joint movement, alleviating joint pain while instilling a sense of calm and connection…these are all possible through yoga.Therapeutic yoga poses can help establish a true sense of wellbeing and vitality in a balanced manner. According to The Therapeutic Yoga Kit by Cheri clampett and Biff Mithoefer, Our neurological relaxation response is activated during a relaxing yoga or meditation session. This leads to a host of documented benefits including the reduction of our stress hormone production, a decrease in blood pressure and muscle tension, and an increase in immune function and activity.

For one cancer survivor, these benefits are amongst a long list of many reasons why she keeps coming back to yoga.

“It (Yoga) makes ME feel like I’m doing something good for myself and that makes me feel more positive in all aspects of my life. I feel ‘up’ and ready to face the day. Yoga reinforces my appreciation of the beauty of life.”

How Yoga Helps Cancer patients and Cancer Survivors explains that living with cancer can be overwhelming, both mentally and physically. Through gentle yoga poses and breathing exercises, toxins accrued during treatment can be cleared out more effectively, blood circulates better, and the lymphatic system is enhanced thus leading to the increase in immune function.  The article Yoga for Cancer in Practice in Yoga Therapy Today, 2009 agrees that through yoga, cancer patients and survivors restore strength, flexibility and increase their anti-cancer immune cells.

For many individuals living with cancer, a sense of wellbeing is attainable. By incorporating a regular, gentle yoga practice into a weekly routine, cancer patients and survivors learn that they can feel good once again, both mentally and physically. Another current yoga student and cancer survivor describes her experience with yoga:

“In the midst of chemo treatment for breast cancer, I did my best to go to yoga class every Friday. It was tough getting there, but once I was in class with friends who were in the same situation as me, I relaxed and just lived in each moment. As the teacher talked us step by step through each breath and pose, I was amazed at what I was doing. At home, I would have been sitting on the sofa- in class I was moving, stretching, feeling good. I was getting out, laughing, making new friends, being a survivor, having a positive attitude.
It felt good to be with positive people, and think good thoughts. Yoga taught me to breathe through some hard times. And get up and move to feel better. When I missed a class, about halfway through the next week I just felt like something wasn’t right- then I remembered what I was missing. Being on the mat, centering during class, meditating, moving, and relaxing, lasted throughout the week. And…… My doc took me off blood pressure meds……I really think that yoga was a part of that!”

The Yoga For Tranquility classes taught through Healing Point Acupuncture & Healing Arts in partnership with the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center are therapeutic and restorative in nature. Whether battling cancer or having recovered from the experience, feelings of exhaustion and stress can be overwhelming. Gentle yoga stretches and poses are explored in this class, with great emphasis on doing what is possible for the individual student. Yoga teaches us that we have to honor the messages of the body, so we will be approaching yoga poses with this always in mind. By practicing yoga in a gentle way and resting when necessary, you will be in full control of your yoga experience.

Using simple breathing techniques, guided meditation, restorative poses and stretches with gentle movement, yoga can be extremely helpful in managing the stress and the side effects of cancer. If you are currently going through treatment or recovering, this yoga class will offer variations of poses and movement to adapt to what you need. Overall, you may feel calmer and yet have more energy than before. Most importantly, you will have given yourself the opportunity to nourish your mind, body and spirit in that class hour.

 Yoga for Tranquility is offered Tuesdays 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Howard County General Hospital: Johns Hopkins Medicine Wellness Center Suite 100, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD 21044. To Register for this class, call (410) 964-9100 x3. Taught by certified Yoga teacher, Heather Thamer, M.Ed, 500RYT.

 
 

Heather Thamer is a certified yoga teacher who teaches ongoing classes throughout Howard County. Thamer teaches a variety of classes including Hatha, Gentle, Advanced, restorative and therapeutic, and has been teaching yoga to special populations since 2007. In addition to a 500 level yoga certification, Heather holds a B.A. in Psychology and a graduate degree in Education, is an active volunteer, has two busy children and understands the importance of creating balance for oneself. “Helping others to experience and appreciate the benefits of yoga, regardless of illness, condition, or disability is a goal that inspires me daily”.


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By Angie Engles

In the grand scheme of things, it may not seem like something on the level of achieving world peace, but somehow I still long for a Hollywood, for a mainstream media, that embraces the older woman and understands she still has lots to offer both herself and the world. Sure, we have the incomparable Jessica Lange, Maggie Smith and Meryl Streep, but they are the exceptions rather than rule, and we live in a world that often fails to remember women do not and should not become invisible as soon as menopause kicks in. We need a world-wise mentality that recognizes women remain vital long after their child-bearing years. After all, men are not held under obscenely absurd standards of beauty and sexuality, why should women be?

How We Love Now is the groundbreaking, sometimes humorous, often touching, occasionally shocking look at Suzanne Levine’s conversation with women in Second Adulthood, the stage of life she has skillfully handled in two popular books: Inventing the Rest of Our Lives and Fifty Is the New Fifty. As she explores the changes and opportunities for women in midlife, Levine’s research and distinctive voice give reassurance to the newly fifty and confirmation to those already in the know that the golden years can be some of our best ever.

But Levine doesn’t just have a lot to say, she says it very well. Nowhere does the author get patronizing or coddling. Instead she lays all her cards on the table, from frank discussions of reawakened sexuality to the discovery that starting life over after a marriage ends can be scary, but also the beginning of something new and even amazing.

Whether she’s covering such critical issues as self-esteem, sex or retirement, Levine keeps everything fresh. It’s an exciting read for any women. Older women may begin to ask themselves, “Am I enjoying this?” “Do I dare?” Levine is here to tell women that everything they question and yearn to explore is perfectly valid and worth looking into further.

“The body gets older but the basic emotion, the need to be in love, remains the same.” Levine spoke with a lot of 50-plus women on issues related to love and sexuality, and one of my favorite anecdotes is about a woman who shyly confides she has just fallen in for the first time at the age of 60. I love this not just because it suggests we should never give up hope on love (though maybe not place ALL our hope on finding it), but because love can happen at any age and sometimes the older we are when it happens, the more we appreciate it.

How We Love Now is one of the most promising and upbeat books I’ve read in a while. Anyone (man or woman) interested in a second chance at adulthood and all the wonderful things that can go with it, this book is for you!

Helpful resources for further information:
Amazing Women Rock
Feisty Side of Fifty
Foundation for Women’s Wellness
More magazine
National Council for Research on Women
National Women’s Health Network
Society for Women’s Health Research
The Transition Network
Women’s Health Initiative

Angie Engles has been with the Howard County Library System for 17 years, 14 of which were at the Savage Branch. She currently works at the Central Branch primarily in the Fiction and Audio-visual departments. Her interests include music, books, and old movies.

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