2012 CalendarNow- January 6. 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Symphony of Lights Drive Through. Cars, vans and busses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages.

Dec 1, 8:30 a.m. Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run/Walk. Get in the spirit this holiday season at the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis®. Be one of the thousands of runners and walkers who hit the nation’s pavements, pathways and parks this winter to fight arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Jingle Bell Run/Walk® is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. Centennial Park 10000 Route 108, Ellicott City.

Dec 2, 4:30-5:45 p.m. 6th Annual Celebration of Hope. Set aside time to celebrate the season of hope with family, friends and fellow cancer survivors. Stroll through the Symphony of Lights and take in the wonder of this animated light display. Call 410 740-5858 for more information.

Dec 4, 3:30 p.m. Care Givers Support Group. This support group is designed for people who are caring for a loved one with a chronic illness. The group offers a safe place to air concerns and receive support. Call 410 740-5858 for more information

Dec 6, 4:30-5:15 p.m. Blinkin’ Binkies. Families can celebrate the season with a leisurely walk through the dazzling Symphony of lights displays. Children in strollers and wagons are welcome!

Dec 9, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Second Sunday Market. Fresh produce, baked breads and cheeses and much more at the Courtyards at Tonge Row in Historic Ellicott City.

Dec 11, 4:30-5:45 p.m. Tail Lights. Back by popular demand! Treat yourself and your dog to a walk through the 1.4 mile Symphony of Lights displays.  It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and to make this dog-friendly walk your family’s new holiday tradition.

Dec 13, 9:30 p.m.- 2:00 a.m. Geminid Meteor Showers with Dr. Alex Storrs, Towson University & Dr. Joel Goodman. Watch the skies with Stardoc Dr Joel Goodman and Towson University Astrophysicist Alex Storrs. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak! This year the new moon will guarantee perfect “dark” conditions to view meteors and other wonders in the skies. Wear WARM clothing. Bring beach chairs and blankets, thermal cups. We’ll have the hot chocolate! If raining or snowing, the program is cancelled. FREE. The Howard County Conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock.

Dec 15, 5:30-8:00 p.m. Holiday Pizza & a Movie at the Gary J Arthur Community Center. Join us to watch the holiday favorite “Elf” (rated PG). The movie begins at 5:30 pm. and is shown in our comfy movie lounge. Your movie ticket includes pizza and a soda. Pre-registration is required. $2 for members and $4 for non-members.

Dec 31, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Midnight at 7.  See Howard County dazzle with a New Year’s Eve fireworks display! Celebrate with your family and friends. Walk through the animated light displays; enjoy food, music and other exciting activities as the Symphony of Lights comes to a close. Fireworks at 7:00 p.m.


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by Mio  Higashimoto

Ever heard of no ‘poo?  It’s really not what you think.

No ‘poo advocates ditching store-bought shampoo and conditioner for ethical, environmental, economic, and health reasons and replacing it with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

I had severe dandruff that none of the store-bought shampoos cured.  Head and Shoulders made the dandruff and the itching worse.  Neutrogena’s T/Gel worked a while, then it stopped working and the itchiness came back.  Selsun Blue helps with the itching but the scent is completely intolerable to me.   I couldn’t even watch those dandruff shampoo commercials on TV where the person can’t wear black because of embarrassing dandruff.  Desperation led me to no ‘poo two years ago and I lasted a whole three months.  In short, after going no ‘poo, I found that my hair was cleaner for a longer period of time and that my dandruff problem was cured (for the duration that I went no ‘poo).

So why should you try no ‘poo?  No more harmful chemicals polluting our waterways. Looked at the ingredient list of shampoos and conditioners recently?  I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not know what most of the ingredients are, let alone how to pronounce them.  Take, for example, the ingredients in Pert Plus shampoo:   Water, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Polymethacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-14M, Dihydrogenated Tallowamidoethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Blue No. 1.  I probably should have paid better attention in chem class.

Going no ‘poo is also very animal friendly.  I highly doubt baking soda and apple cider vinegar mix needs to be tested on animals.  Companies that do not conduct animal testing proudly advertise that they do not conduct animal testing.  For a list of companies that might conduct testing on animals, click on this PETA link.  PETA has separate listings of cosmetics companies that do and do not conduct animal testing.

Another reason to try no ‘poo?  Economic reasons.  It is vastly cheaper to buy baking soda and apple cider vinegar than it is to purchase shampoo and conditioner, even if it’s a two-in-one shampoo.  After the initial shock of switching to no ‘poo, your scalp will begin to secrete less oil, and as a result, you’ll wash your hair less frequently.  Fewer washings means that you’ll stretch your baking soda and apple cider vinegar supply much longer.

Initially, there may be no difference after switching.  It took two weeks for me to notice that my hair was less oily, less itchy, and less flaky.  My main problem with no ‘poo, however, was the inconvenience of it. There are no shampoo and conditioner-filled plastic bottles ready to go.  With no ‘poo, you need to prepare your own baking soda and apple cider vinegar concoctions.  It’s not complicated, but it is very inconvenient.

Here’s the recipe:  For “shampoo,” mix together 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 cup of warm water.   For “conditioner,” mix together 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water.  Warm water is very important because the one time I used regular room temperature water, it felt very cold once I dumped it onto my head.

Now for the inconvenient part.  I keep my baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and measuring spoons/cups in the kitchen.  I make the mix in the kitchen before I head to the shower and put it into two separate soda bottles.  I use soda bottles because I have a lot of them (soda is my vice), and the smaller neck allows me greater control on how much I pour onto my head at once.  I also mark with a permanent marker on the bottle itself how much water goes into the bottle so I need not constantly bring out the measuring cup.  Finally, I keep handy a newspaper so I can funnel the baking soda directly into the soda bottle.

One more piece of advice:  keep your mouth closed so the baking soda or apple cider vinegar mixtures don’t accidentally stream into your mouth.  It’s all natural so it won’t kill you, but it might dampen your enthusiasm for going no ‘poo.  The baking soda and apple cider vinegar mixes are not nearly as viscous as regular shampoo and conditioner, and hence, they do dribble all over your head no matter how careful you are.

Finally, does it work, you ask?  I had my doubts about this, but I tried it anyway, reasoning I didn’t really have anything to lose and that I’ll be wiser for the experience.  The apple cider vinegar especially worried me as well as I did not want to smell vinegary.  I even took precautions for my first attempt to make sure I didn’t have to interact with anyone immediately following my first no ‘poo experience.  But to my surprise, my hair did not have even a whiff of vinegar tainting it (with a thorough rinsing of the hair, of course) and my hair was very soft after my first no ‘poo experience.  Now, I still do no ‘poo once a week to keep my dandruff in check and use small amounts of shampoo and condition during the week because I cannot resist the sweet smell of shampoo.

 

Mio Higashimoto is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch.

She has a background in history and spends much of her spare time knitting, reading, hiking, and watching Star Trek reruns.

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Holiday Season Goes to the Dogs

Thomas and Victoria

For four-legged Howard County residents, there is one event sure to get their tails wagging: Tail Lights. Don’t take my word for it; just ask Thomas, a 4-year-old Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier who has been to this annual holiday event for the past two years. Joined by his owner, Victoria Khomutetsky, fundraising and events associate for Howard Hospital Foundation, Thomas starts preparing for this seasonal highlight months in advance. From getting his photo taken with Santa at The Mall in Columbia, to attending Animal Advocates of Howard County’s Walk for Paws to spread the word about Tail Lights to his furry pals, Thomas is gearing up for his holiday must-see event.

Dressed in his Santa costume, Thomas will join his fellow canine friends, who also don festive attire to look like elves and reindeer, on Tuesday, December 11, from 4:30–5:45 p.m. to walk through the 1.4-mile lighted display. An avid fan of the Worthington Dog Park in Ellicott City, Thomas looks forward to seeing Symphony of Light’s “Kissing Couple,” which he proudly proclaims to be his favorite display out of the more than 70 larger-than-life illuminating displays that make Symphony of Lights a time-honored holiday tradition for so many folks.

If you have a pooch who loves being outdoors, meeting new friends and taking a stroll through a breathtaking lighted display, we invite you to join Thomas and Victoria for this year’s Tail Lights. The cost is $10 per walker; dogs and children 4 and under are free. You can register in advance at www.hcgh.org/taillights; but walk-ins are welcome.

Since 2009, the Tail Lights event has been a highlight of the annual Symphony of Lights festivities, helping to raise more than $1 million for Howard County General Hospital during its 18-year history. Learn more about this event and all the 2012 Symphony of Lights festivities at www.hcgh.org/symphonyoflights.

HCGH employees and their furry friends


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By Angie Engles

Now that Thanksgiving is over, some of us may be breathing a huge sigh of relief right before we remember that Christmas is just around the corner. It’s not the family time or the shopping or the lists of everything that needs to be done that is on our minds so much (though all of that can be quite stressful) as much as the food that is constantly on parade pretty much anytime from Thanksgiving to the first few days of the New Year. Suddenly our favorite places (friends’ houses, home, workplace lounges) can be something out of a horror film.

People joke about “food comas,” unzipping their pants, wearing sweats to dinner to make room for more, but the sad truth is for many people nothing about holiday eating is funny. For anyone struggling with a diet, food issues, or eating disorders, this can be a particularly nightmarish situation, especially if food is forever present, whether it be in the workplace, on tv, or in other people’s homes. It’s no wonder that statistics show attendance at Over Eater’s Anonymous spikes in January when many members go to deal with their genuine anguish over having eaten so much during the holidays.

Last November, The New York Times featured an interesting article on holiday eating. Though writer Jesse McKinley was referring to Thanksgiving, his advice can easily apply to Christmas and New Year’s Eve as well.

First of all, he advises, forget fasting the day before the big holiday event. No matter how good your intentions or how strong your willpower, the next day you will just make up for what you missed the day before. There are ways to survive the gastronomical warfare, most of which, like any good contingency plan, involve getting ready beforehand, assessing the damage, and finding the strength to start over and stick to your regular diet.

Anticipating holiday events, of course, can fuel the fire, but there’s no doubt about it that once you actually get to that family dinner or friend’s party or workplace event that you can feel like a deer caught in the middle of dinner table headlights. Dealing with “food pushers” (we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt by calling them the polite and well-meaning host/hostess who is nevertheless insistent) can be also problematic around this time of year.
Cynthia Sass, who writes for Shape magazine, says you might want to say something like this: “I love you and your cooking, and I’m so happy to be spending the holiday with you, but I feel so much better when I don’t overeat, so please don’t be offended, but eating “my” way is the best way for me to really enjoy the holidays.” Another trick? Go discreetly with your health. Explain to your “food pusher” you’re following your doctor or dietitian’s advice; if need be, get specific and say you get bad heartburn or have trouble sleeping if your diet gets off track. “Fake-out” by having both hands full, one with a light drink, the other with, say, a plate of lean veggies.

The figures for remedying your overindulgence can be quite terrifying. Taking in the average Thanksgiving meal, for instance, Heather Mangieri, from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who is also a sports nutritionist in Pittsburgh, says a 180-pound person would have to walk briskly for five hours (five hours!) to make up the damage. Eat slowly, savor the meal and, by all means, stop when you’re full, Mangieri adds.

Other tips? Have a seat, take in your meal, really take a look at the colors and size and shape and enjoy a moment of quiet so you’re not rushed or too caught up in all that’s going on around you to realize how much you’re eating.

Call this corny or overly sentimental or easier said than done, but during this food-crazed, stressful “Wasn’t it our turn to have Christmas here last year?” time, remember this saying I once heard: “Worry more about the size of your heart than the size of your hips!” It’s important to keep in mind (though easy to forget in the commercial craze otherwise known as the holiday shopping season) that we gather at the table to celebrate our friends, family and love. Worries about being around food and overeating are legitimate and worthy of sincere attention, but they also shouldn’t kidnap the joy you’d feel otherwise at being around the people in your life.

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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2012 CalendarNov 19- January 6. 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Symphony of Lights Drive Through. Cars, vans and busses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages.

November 26, 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. Twist & Shout. Music and movement for little ones at the Elkridge Branch. Ages infant – 5; 30 min. No registration required.

November 27, 10:30 a.m. Just For Me. A class 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.

November 27, 7:00 p.m. Distracted Driving. Join high school students from Voices for Change at the Glenwood Branch to learn about the dangers of distracted driving. Play Distracted Driving Jeopardy, Text & Drive (with a remote-controlled car) and watch an award-winning video. Take the 3D pledge and promise to concentrate when you’re in the car. Ages 11-17. Register online or by calling 410.313.5577.

November 29, 6:30 p.m. Mean Girls. Come to the Central Branch to 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 410.313.7800.

November 29, 7:00 p.m. Meet The Author: William Kamkwamba. When William Kamkwamba was 14 years old, his native country of Malawi was stricken by a terrible famine. Using his curiosity and ingenuity, he cobbled together a working windmill to provide crucial electricity to his family’s farm. In his New York Times bestseller The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Kamkwamba tells the story of how he achieved his dream of bringing electricity, light, and the promise of a better life to his home and community. Now Mr. Kamkwamba is bring his inspiring story and insight to the Miller Branch. In partnership with Howard Community College (HCC). Cosponsored by Friends of Howard County Library and HCC’s Offices of Student Life and International Education, Diversity Committee, and the academic divisions of Science and Technology, English, and Mathematics. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

November 29, 7:00 p.m. Masala Bhangra Workout®. Burn off some holiday calories. The Masala Bhangra Workout® is an exercise dance routine that modernizes the high-energy folk dance of Bhangra by blending traditional Bhangra dance steps and the exhilaration of Bollywood (Hindi film) moves, seen in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. This unique dance mixes cardiovascular with fun, and is suitable for participants of all ages and fitness levels. Join us at the East Columbia Branch to give it a try. Columbia Association instructors teach this new hit workout. 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

Nov 29, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Smoke Free Lungs. Learn tips for quitting your tobacco habit and mastering long term success. This program provides support and education for those wanting to quit as well as support for those who have already quit. The Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive.

Dec 1, 8:30 a.m. Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run/Walk. Get in the spirit this holiday season at the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis®. Be one of the thousands of runners and walkers who hit the nation’s pavements, pathways and parks this winter to fight arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Jingle Bell Run/Walk® is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by helping others! Wear a holiday themed costume. Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces. Run or walk a 5 kilometer route with your team members and celebrate the season by giving. Centennial Park 10000 Route 108, Ellicott City.

Dec 2, 4:30-5:45 p.m. 6th Annual Celebration of Hope. Set aside time to celebrate the season of hope with family, friends and fellow cancer survivors. Stroll through the Symphony of Lights and take in the wonder of this animated light display. Call 410 740-5858 for more information.

Dec 4, 3:30 p.m. Care Givers Support Group. This support group is designed for people who are caring for a loved one with a chronic illness. The group offers a safe place to air concerns and receive support. Call 410 740-5858 for more information

Dec 6, 4:30-5:15 p.m. Blinkin’ Binkies. Families can celebrate the season with a leisurely walk through the dazzling Symphony of lights displays. Children in strollers and wagons are welcome!

Dec 9, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Second Sunday Market. Fresh produce, baked breads and cheeses and much more at the Courtyards at Tonge Row in Historic Ellicott City.

Dec 11, 4:30-5:45 p.m. Tail Lights. Back by popular demand! Treat yourself and your dog to a walk through the 1.4 mile Symphony of Lights displays.  It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and to make this dog-friendly walk your family’s new holiday tradition.

Dec 13, 9:30 p.m.- 2:00 a.m. Geminid Meteor Showers with Dr. Alex Storrs, Towson University & Dr. Joel Goodman. Watch the skies with Stardoc Dr Joel Goodman and Towson University Astrophysicist Alex Storrs. Considered by many to be the best meteor shower in the heavens, Geminids are known for producing up to 60 multicolored meteors per hour at their peak! This year the new moon will guarantee perfect “dark” conditions to view meteors and other wonders in the skies. Wear WARM clothing. Bring beach chairs and blankets, thermal cups. We’ll have the hot chocolate! If raining or snowing, the program is cancelled. FREE. The Howard County Conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Road, Woodstock.


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By Jessica  “JP” Protasio

As a child, Thanksgiving was a complicated holiday for my family. The days leading up to the “great feed” were usually wrought with my parents’ guilt–resulting from the pressure to replicate the gluttonous celebratory dinner that everyone else was having and being crazy enough to participate in Black Friday. Looking back, I think we had the finest Thanksgiving experiences anyway. I learned early on that I was just grateful for the treasure of family. We all need a family. Sometimes, our families are split apart for various reasons. One of those reasons is time. Specifically, “running out of time.”

Among my first experiences with cancer was my father’s passing; he ran out of time. The holidays remind me of how ruthless cancer is and how fortunate I am to be here despite cancer’s cruelty. It is extraordinarily special to celebrate the people and experiences that make our lives so fulfilling. Thanksgiving is a way of life–whether you’re in treatment, in remission, or involved with the fight against cancer. So, in the spirit of thankfulness, these women share their reasons and thanks as it relates to the “emperor of all maladies”, cancer.

I’m Thankful


…that my mom beat it [cancer] once again! -Katie, daughter of a two-time survivor


…that my mother didn’t suffer for long after–her diagnosis -Stephanie, daughter of a cancer fighter at rest
…for the blessing of time and healing. Our lives are precious and every extra second we receive is an extra step toward healing and hope. -Sheena, daughter of a survivor
…for each and every moment–that I have with my wonderful husband and best friend, Nate, who is seven years cancer free.–I am also thankful for my dear friend, Erin, who is three years cancer free. I’m thankful for the moments I have shared with Nate and Erin, and for the many more to come.-Krissy, UCF Program Director
…for all the new friends that cancer has brought my way and all the life lessons these friends have taught me. -Colleen, cancer awareness activist
…that cancer has taught [me] about priorities, friendship, strength, and–no matter what, cancer can’t kill the human spirit! -Sara, cancer awareness activist


…that I have learned to be proactive in my health –and try not to take anyone or anything for granted. –I learned to love running just because I can do it –and that dreams can be limitless. And to always remember those who haven’t been so lucky in the gift of time; life can be short so live it up! -Erin, cancer awareness activist
…for all the incredibly, amazingly, phenomenally inspirational people I have met who have gone through this [cancer] journey that I am just an outsider looking in on. They have enriched my life so much, and I cannot imagine a world without these wonderful people, or my life without them in it. -Nancy, cancer awareness activist


…for every awesome, positive moment my friends share with me–friends who continue living with so much joy and energy that you often forget they are in constant a battle for their lives. -Sarah, family/friend of survivors

…that Ellie & Janelle push me to be a better version of myself, that I will be able to visit my brother for the holidays for the first time in a decade, that I have an incredible network of friends who’ve become family via my journey with cancer, and that there are opportunities for me to give back and give thanks for a life that I wasn’t guaranteed. Plus, I got to meet my liver donor’s sister. -Jessica Protasio, 18 months in remission

 

 

JP is a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch of the Howard County Library System. She is a Pajama Time storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, and a cancer survivor.

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Nuts!

Squirrel with a black walnut

The squirrels have been zealously gathering and hiding nuts for the last few weeks, even going so far as to stash a few in the flower pots on my deck.  Black walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns… a veritable feast to last the winter! Of course this reminds me to stock up, as well.  Nuts were a part of my childhood. Each autumn a large bowl would appear in the middle of the kitchen table filled with all kinds including pecans, walnuts, filberts, and hazelnuts.  After school or after dinner we would sit around the table cracking nuts, the older kids teaching the younger ones how to use the nutcrackers to crack the outer shell but not the nut within. There is something about the satisfying and rhythmic sound of conversation, laughter and nut cracking that a pop-top can of salted peanuts will never replace.

For a while, though, nuts had a bad rap. They were shunned by dieters and health-conscious consumers. Over the last decade as the result of research and better nutritional understanding, nuts are now considered to be a healthy and even diet-friendly snack. Did you know that research suggests that nuts can lower your cholesterol, boost your immune system, improve your vein health and even help with inflammatory conditions like asthma when eaten as part of a balanced diet? The nutrition profile of each type of nut may differ slightly but almost all nuts contain heart-healthy fats and fatty acids, good amino acids, soluble fiber, vitamin E, and other beneficial substances.

Nuts are one of the best sources of omega 3- a heart healthy fatty acid.  Why is that important?  Well, research suggests that we should have a 1:1 dietary ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, but our typical diet has a ratio closer to 15:1!  In a nutshell- we don’t eat enough omega-3 which is found in greens, seeds and nuts and we eat too much omega-6s which are found in poultry, wheat, eggs and the vegetable oils used in processed foods.

Excessive omega-6 consumption can promote heart disease, as well as cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune disease whereas consumption of omega 3’s decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease and helps manage inflammatory conditions including arthritis and even asthma.  Omega-3 fatty acids can also help lower triglycerides and protect against heart arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat.  In addition to omega 3, nuts contain the amino acid, L-arginine. L-arginine may relax blood vessels making them more flexible and less prone to blood clots. Arginine has also been shown to promote wound healing, and boost immune function.

In addition to heart healthy omega-3s and arginine, nuts may aid digestion and have value as an antioxidant. Nuts are an excellent source of soluble fiber which is essential to good gastrointestinal health, helps lower blood cholesterol and reduces glucose levels. Nuts are also an excellent source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant essential for DNA repair, healthy skin and good immune function. Research has shown that Vitamin E may fight atherosclerosis or arterial plaque.

So nuts are good for you, relatively inexpensive and easy to store? Don’t hoard your nuts just yet.  Research shows only part of the picture. Sprinkling nuts over your ice cream sundae, eating peanut brittle, or consuming large quantities of salted peanuts during the Orioles game, for example, is not likely to be helpful.  Instead, of adding nuts to your diet, consider substituting them as a healthy snack instead of an unhealthy one. Instead of reaching for a piece of pecan pie reach for a handful of pecans instead.  Remember you are trying to find balance in your diet- and that can be a tough nut to crack. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

For more information about the benefits of nuts and for a chart that lists the nutritional value of specific nuts, check out this article, Nuts and your heart: Eating nuts for heart health.

More recent news and research about the value of nuts.

 

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

Many of us in “Libraryland” like to think there must be a book out there that will fully answer a customer’s questions about any given topic. Take cooking! There must be something that thoroughly covers the subject, something with a title like “How to Cook Everything.” Wait! There is one! Mark Bittman, one of the country’s best-known food writers and a frequent guest on the Today Show, has written a whole series, beginning with How to Cook Everything (HtCE).

The original HtCE was published in 1998 and was revised (read “improved”) for its 10th anniversary in 2008. There’s also HtCE – Vegetarian, HtCE – Holiday Cooking, and the brand new (March 2012) How to Cook Everything –the Basics. I love the way he shows how your recipe should look at critical stages. As a litmus test I checked out the pie crust directions—good advice, great photos. He even shows us how to patch a crack in the crust before it gets its filling. Bittman also wrote Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating and followed with the companion The Food Matters Cookbook, advocating a “Lessmeatarian” diet.

Bittman is not the only cookbook author with high ambitions. Jane Hornby’s What to Cook and How to Cook It, 2010, is also an excellent step-by-step guide for any cook, not just a beginner. She makes her pie crust in a food processor—to each her own. But I’ll go to her for my chocolate cake recipe. The photography here is mostly shot from straight above, except for the presentation shots—very effective!

These books are great for learning techniques, but the authors try to cover so many subjects that there is little variety in specific dishes. There might be only two different pies shown, or one cake. For variety we need a series like My Cooking Class. Each title in this series (ten are listed in Amazon.com; eight are owned by Howard County Library System) is by a different expert. The editors chose not to number the pages but the recipes—I can see right away that there are 70 cake recipes in Cake Basics. There are 87 in Sauce Basics, including 5 pestos and 10 tomato sauces. Seafood Basics is great for someone intimidated by a whole fish on a cutting board. All the photos in this series are from above, a boon for the visual learner. In addition to Middle Eastern Basics and Indian Basics, HCLS has Vegetable Basics and Steaming Basics for the health-conscious cook.

Another encyclopedic cookbook is Joy of Cooking, first written by Irma Rombauer and her daughter Marion during the Depression in 1931, and in 2006 revised for its 75th anniversary by Erma’s grandson, Ethan Becker. You won’t find bird’s-eye view photos—or any photos, but clear and very sufficient line drawings. There is engaging and homey teaching text at the beginning of each section and a variety of recipes that defies imagination. If I were to gift a bride with a cookbook, I couldn’t do better than Joy of Cooking.

If you are going to get serious about French cooking you will need Ginette Mathiot’s I know How to Cook 2009, or Je Sais Cuisiner in the original 1932 edition. The photography is uneven, scattered throughout, but somehow giving the French name of a dish after the English gives it a …je ne sais quoi!

Now none of the above is particularly health-conscious except perhaps for Vegetable Basics and Steaming Basics, but we all know it’s all about portion control and judicious substitution of healthy ingredients, don’t we? Enjoy your holidays and consult the library for those tricky recipes!

Barbara Cornell joined the Howard County Library System in 1993 as Assistant Branch Manager at the new Elkridge Branch.

Since 2000 she has enjoyed a shorter commute to the Glenwood Branch.


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2012 CalendarNov 17, 7:30 p.m. Columbia Orchestra Free Chamber Concert.  The amazing talents of our orchestra members are on display when they come together in chamber ensembles. Hear some of the great works of the chamber literature up close in a beautiful, intimate setting. These concerts are FREE and no seat reservation is required. Christ Episcopal Church 6800 Oakland Mills Road.

November 17, 2:00- 3:00 p.m. Hands On History: Medieval Survival Guide. How about a little “medieval fun and fitness” at the Elkridge Branch? Good ladies and noble sirs, knowest thou how to stay alive and laughing in the Middle Ages? Crusade through time to construct, besiege, and make merry. Refreshments. Ages 6 & up. Register online or by calling 410.313.5085.

Nov 17, 5:00-7:30 p.m. Dazzle Dash. Friends and families gather to walk or run through the 1.4 mile magical Symphony of Lights. A fun filled kick-off community event to celebrate the opening of the 18th Annual Symphony of Lights. Come and experience the excitement as the holiday season begins. Enjoy games and activities for children of all ages, food, music, entertainment, and give-aways

Nov 18, 4:00-7:30 p.m. Dazzle Dash. Friends and families gather to walk or run through the 1.4 mile magical Symphony of Lights. A fun filled kick-off community event to celebrate the opening of the 18th Annual Symphony of Lights. Come and experience the excitement as the holiday season begins. Enjoy games and activities for children of all ages, food, music, entertainment, and give-aways

Nov 19- January 6, 6:00- 10:00 p.m. Symphony of Lights Drive Through. Cars, vans and busses can take a 20-30 minute drive-through a display of more than 70 larger-than-life, light creations illuminated by a fantasy of color, design, and animation. This holiday tradition is delightful for all ages.

November 19, 10:15 & 11:15 a.m. Twist & Shout. Music and movement for little ones at the Elkridge Branch. Ages infant – 5; 30 min. No registration required. 

November 19, 11:30 a.m. Just For Me. A class at the Savage 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 at the Savage Branch. Offered 11/20 at 10:30am at the Glenwood Branch–registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

November 19, 3:30-5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring at the Glenwood Branch offered by Howard County General Hospital. 1st & 3rd Mondays. No registration required. .

November 21, 2-2:30 p.m. The First Thanksgiving. Come to the Central Branch on this day when Ho. Co. Schools are closed and travel back in time to see how the first pilgrims and Native Americans learned to work together and how this special holiday began. Ages 5-8. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15-30 minutes before class.

November 22- Howard County Library System Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday. 

 Nov 29, 7:00-9:00 p.m. Smoke Free Lungs. Learn tips for quitting your tobacco habit and mastering long term success. This program provides support and education for those wanting to quit as well as support for those who have already quit. The Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center. 10710 Charter Drive.


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By Jason Pasquet

I recently just found out that I had a minor case of sciophobia, the fear of shadows, while I was enjoying a refreshing sunny afternoon outdoors on a reclining chair. It just hit me, that as a small shadow passed by me, that my physiological reaction was very abrupt to the point where I became extremely fearful, flailing my left arm frantically in a vain attempt stop whatever was causing the shadow. Needless to say, it was just a fragile autumn leaf sailing in the breeze that spooked me. Inadvertently, this instance has prompted a curiosity in me to discuss briefly this type of motivational response, known as phobia, and how NLP tackles the issue.

Phobias are defined in the Encyclopedia of NLP as “an irrational, obsessive, and intense fear that is focused on a specific circumstance, idea or thing”. The word “phobia” is derived from the Greek word “phobos,” meaning fear. There are quite a number of different and specific types of phobias that have been independently defined. See if you can scout out any that pertain to you.

Neuro linguistic programming identifies these phobic responses as verifiable experiences that are difficult to fully understand because of our conditioning from our past, distorted views in our maps, and basic cognitive processes. These as well as our belief systems about the world greatly influence the kind of choices we exercise as a result of the fear. We will focus on a specific technique on how to respond to a phobia, and to cope with the fearful feelings spawning from it.

It is crucial first to realize the impairment of communication between reality and our “maps” that NLP describes, and how the phobic fear is engendered within this relationship. I hope to help widen a person’s maps by sharing the awareness of the golden presupposition that the maps we hold are not the territory–meaning that the limitation fear imposes can be understood as a product of our map. And in this light we can broaden our choices to facilitate powerful change when dealing with these mind-racking phobias.

Previously, I spoke of, in NLP: On Motivation, the nature of representational systems, i.e. visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, and the finer distinctions that elicit how we code our experiences known as submodalities. With regard to this knowledge, I want to share a special submodality that can greatly assist someone in overcoming phobias known as dissociation/association. Association basically involves the usual perspective of our everyday, firsthand reality that is experienced through the senses. When you’re associated with the stimulus of a phobia, it’s hard to analyze your behavior and to find a more resourceful state of mind. However, dissociation promotes a dispassionate view by distancing ourselves from the intensity of the emotions caused by the phobic incident. Allowing us to relax and have better clarity about the situation. Romilla Ready and Kate Burton in their book Neuro-Linguistic Programming for Dummies show an exercise involving this submodality principle to overcome the fear, known as the NLP Fast Phobia Cure. Using the V-K dissociation method in the exercise will give one a feeling of safety, and hopefully at least some respite from the phobia.

I’m happy to say that I’m cured of sciophobia from applying the instructions, and I know what to do if ever I find another bothersome phobia! Remember to have someone with you, a good friend or family member, to work this exercise out with you since phobias can range from simple to complex in terms of the emotional intensity experienced. Good luck!

Jason Pasquet is a Customer Service Specialist for Howard County Library System.

He is aspiring in the fields of psychology, life-coaching, NLP therapy, and counseling.

 


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Jim Young has been a part of Howard County General Hospital’s Executive Management team since 2004 and he and his family have supported the hospital in many ways over the years- including one very special annual tradition- the Symphony of Lights

The Young family first attended Symphony of Lights in 2001 when their daughters Bailey and Ali were 5 and 3, and, according to Jim Young, it has become an annual tradition. The family makes Symphony of Lights the last stop before hitting the road to visit family members in Kentucky and Illinois for the holidays. “When the girls got a little older, I would let them steer as we drove through Symphony of Lights,” recalled Young, senior vice president of Finance/Chief Financial Officer of Howard County General Hospital. who stresses that they would go slow and he was in control of the brake and accelerator. “They would sit on my lap and take turns steering through the display. The sharp left turn by Toby’s Dinner Theater, near where the polar bears played on the hill, was the toughest turn for the girls to navigate. Dad had to help a little at that turn.”

But this year will be extra special for the Young family. Bailey, who now has her driver’s permit, will be behind the wheel, while her sister Ali solves the word jumble.  And… for the first time, baby sister, Tori, will be along for the ride!  Baby sister, Victoria  Grace Young, made her debut on September 24.  “The whole family was in the delivery room to experience the miracle of life,” recalled Young, “Needless to say, it was a very emotional experience. We are very thankful to Dr. Vourlos and nurse Beth for such a wonderful experience in the delivery room as well as the Maternal Child Unit staff for the great care of mom and baby.”

A tradition-oriented family, the Youngs see their annual trip through Symphony of Lights as a sign of the beginning of their Christmas travels, and, for them, time spent with family is a wonderful thing.

If you want to join the Youngs in kicking off the holiday season, please attend our Symphony of Lights festivities, including Blinkin’ Binkies: Thursday, Dec. 6, 4:30–5:45 p.m. For more information about this year’s events, visit www.hcgh.org/symphonyoflights.

 

The Young Family


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On Saturday, November 10, one of our Well & Wisers went to an event called Santé: Spoil Your Palate at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore. Not only did she have a blast sampling some of Maryland’s best cuisine prepared by acclaimed chefs, enjoy some exhilerating music, and have an opportunity to bid on some wonderful goods and services in the silent auction, all while hanging out in a train museum (cool!)–she also did good.

You see, Santé has become an annual event to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland (NKF-MD), a nonprofit, voluntary health organization that was established in 1955 by Harriet G. Guild, M.D., a well-known Baltimore physician and a pretty amazing woman. NKF-MD “is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.”

This is a pretty great mission, especially considering that our kidneys are basically the sewage treatment plant of the body, can be affected by myriad ailments and complications, and play a pretty key role in helping us stay healthy and…alive. Sadly, “more than 10% of people, or more than 20 million, aged 20 years or older in the United States” have chronic kidney disease, according to the CDC. Not only does NKF-MD help raise awareness and provide resources, they also offer free KEY screenings, provide advocacy and support, and, of course, organize some pretty great fundraising events. But if you missed Santé this year, don’t fret, perhaps you can catch it next year or be involved in some of their other events.

So keep in mind, doing a good deed doesn’t necessarily require pain or sacrifice (well, maybe a little time, money, and possibly some high-heel-pinched toes). It can even be a an opportunity to have a fun time, while helping out. That’s a win-win for sure!


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What will you grow for Movember?
(image by Yanka)

Come on, you’re a hip crowd.  You’ve heard of it. Movember! Just in case you haven’t, and we’re not judging if you haven’t, let Wikipedia, that haven of all info tidbits and pop culture paraphernalia, explain:

“Movember (a portmanteau of the word ‘moustache’ and ‘November’) is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other male cancer initiatives. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event…. The goal of Movember is to ‘change the face of men’s health.'”

The idea is to start the month clean shaven and cultivate one’s facial creation as the month of November reaches it’s glorious, hairy finale. Even though the moustache itself is a way to raise awareness, believe it or not, the Movember Foundation has even groomed the act of moutache-growing into a fund-raising event.

Men, Mo Bros, can sign up and seek sponsorship for their fabulous ‘staches , or men and women, Mo Sistas, can sign up to pledge support and money for their favorite moustache grower. There are even events , such as the Running of the Mo’s and galas toward the end of the month one can attend to help the cause and celebrate the moustaches of profound purpose (our closest is in D.C. on November 29). Or one can host one’s own Movember party. And of course everything culminates with Shave the Date, at the end of the month.

So come on guys, embrace your moustache-growing ability for a good cause.  Ladies, encourage the men in your life to get a little hairy. If it can raise awareness and money for prostate cancer, which the National Cancer Institute predicts about 242,000 American men will be diagnosed with in 2012. Therefore, it’s helping far more than a little whisker burn hurts.  Welcome to Movember!

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Sandy bullied her way through the east coast a week ago, devastating areas north of us but leaving minimal damage in Maryland.  Flooded basements and the risk of mold seem to top the list of homeowner issues.

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What should I do to prevent mold growth?

In order to prevent mold growth, homeowners should:

  • Remove standing water and all porous wet materials including wallboard (sheet rock), carpeting and upholstered furniture.
  • Air out the home to reduce moisture by opening the windows and using fans if possible
  • Accelerate the drying process by cycling the air conditioner and heat.  Chill the house and then, with the windows and doors closed, turn on the heat.  As the cold air warms it absorbs the moisture. When the house becomes hot, turn off the heat, open the windows to let the moisture-laden air out (assisted by fans if possible) and repeat the cycle.
  • Use a dehumidifier if possible to help draw moisture out of the air.

After the house is dry, how do you tell if you have a mold problem?

Homeowners can usually tell if there is a mold problem. Mold can usually be seen. It can look furry, discolored or slimy. It often has a musty, earthy or foul odor.  Mold does not affect everyone, but exposure to mold can cause health effects and so those that are sensitive to mold should avoid areas with active mold growth.

Can mold be removed? In most cases, but not all, mold can be removed.  Porous materials with visible mold such as drywall, carpet, upholstered furniture and bedding should be discarded.

Hard surfaces such as wood or concrete can be cleaned with a rag or a brush and diluted detergent. Rubber gloves and a N95 dust mask should be worn to minimize exposure and individuals with known allergies or respiratory conditions such as asthma should not clean or remove mold.  If there is a large mold problem, an experienced professional should be called in to do the clean up.

Homeowners should recheck previously flooded areas periodically for new mold growth and ensure that there is no remaining moisture before re-carpeting or re-walling a once flooded space.
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Where should I go for more information?

For more information, the Environmental Protection Agency has online resources about mold including a factsheet about flood cleanup.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has online information about protecting yourself from mold.


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Though this year’s drought has not been kind to most crops, it has resulted in a bumper crop of pumpkins.  Yes, yes, Halloween is over and kids destroyed your jack-o-lantern, but pumpkins are good for other things, including your health.

According to WebMD, pumpkins are high in fiber and vitamin A, and low in calories.  Pumpkin is also rich in beta-carotene. Low in calories and tasty—that’s already a big plus for the pumpkin, especially for those of us looking for something big on taste that won’t bulk up our waistlines.  What about pumpkins’ other benefits?

As Arnold Wald, MD, states in his article Patient Information: High-Fiber Diet (Beyond the Basics):  “Eating a diet that is high in fiber has many potential health benefits, including a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes…. A high-fiber diet is a commonly recommended treatment for digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids…”

Then there’s vitamin A, which pumpkins are chock full of. Vitamin A helps with healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin. It also produces the pigments in the retina of the eye and promotes good vision, especially in low light. And  some studies even suggest that vitamin A may also be needed for reproduction and breast-feeding.

The University of Illinois has this helpful/healthful information about the pumpkin:

“The bright orange color of pumpkin is a dead giveaway that pumpkin is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is one of the plant carotenoids converted to vitamin A in the body…. Current research indicates that a diet rich in foods containing beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and offers protection against heart disease. Beta-carotene offers protection against other diseases as well as some degenerative aspects of aging.”

The pumpkin is packed with power, and we haven’t even mentioned the seeds yet. Pumpkin seeds have been linked to everything from preventing hair loss to battling arthritis.  Though the jury is out on some of the more miraculous claims surrounding the pumpkin seed, numerous sources including 3 Fat Chicks on a Diet and The World’s Healthiest Foods, attest the the benefits of this little wonder. The seeds are rich in protein (good news for vegans!), providing about 12 grams per one cup serving. They also have magnesium (helpful in your metabolism and a number of other hormonal processes), zinc (important to strengthen the immune system, cellular functions,  hair and skin health, eyesight, cognitive functions, and even taste and smell), and iron (for retaining the health and overall quality of your blood).   Recent studies also suggest that pumpkin seeds’ vitamin E content may bring us more health benefits than we would ordinarily expect due to the diverse forms of vitamin E found in this food.

As mentioned earlier, not only is it good for you, but it is delicious as well. Pumpkin seeds make a terrific snack.  Pumpkins can also be incredibly diverse; making appearances at breakfast, in the form of muffins or pancakes; in savory entrees such as ravioli and soup; and let’s not forget desserts.

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