calendar_2015_blogSunday & Monday, May 24 & May 25: Howard County Library System Closed in Observance of Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 p.m. Invitation to the Ballet at Central BranchStudents of Misako Ballet perform classical ballet and contemporary dances. Children from the audience may learn a quick piece and perform it. Register online or by calling 410-313-7883.

Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 p.m. Food for Thought Book Discussion on Ellie Krieger at Glenwood Branch. Borrow a cookbook from HCLS by the chef of the evening, prepare a few recipes at home, then discuss your experiences. Refreshments. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

 Wednesday, June 3, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Latest Advances in Cataract Surgery. Learn how cataracts develop, the risks, signs and symptoms as well as management and treatment options with Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute ophthalmologist Yassine Daoud, M.D. in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Wednesday, June 10, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Hearing Loss: Risk, Prevention and Support at Any AgeLearn to identify risk, steps to take to prevent loss and treatment options. Dr. Earl Wilkinson will share how to support a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, skills required to identify gradual loss and ways to handle resistance to intervention. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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257937032_14920719b3_zThis year marks the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The OAA, initially passed in 1965, supports a wide range of home and community-based services that promote healthy aging and independence. These programs and services such as Meals-on-Wheels, caregiver support, job training and elder abuse protection are vital because the population in the United States is growing older. This May in honor of the anniversary of OAA, the Administration for Community Living’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Get into the Act.”

Senior Citizens Month, now called Older Americans Month, was established in 1963 after a meeting between President Kennedy and the National Council of Senior Citizens. Since then every president has issued a formal proclamation asking Americans to pay tribute to older citizens in their community. According to the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series on Older Americans Month there were 44.7 million people older than 65 years of age on July 1, 2013. By the year 2033 the population 65 years of age and older will outnumber people younger than age 18, in the United States, for the first time.

This year’s theme, “Get into the Act,” empowers us to raise awareness of opportunities to maintain and enhance the quality of life for the population aged 65 and older. We can do this by encouraging our older citizens to participate in their communities in an active way. One way older Americans can connect with people in the community and make a difference in the lives of others is by volunteering. Howard County Library System and Howard County Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine have volunteer opportunities to help keep older adults engaged and involved. In addition the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County (VCSHC) can connect citizens with local non-profit and governmental agencies looking for volunteers. There is a growing body of research that shows an association between volunteering and mental and health benefits. These benefits may include greater levels of well-being and increased strength and energy. Volunteering may even help you live longer!

Another way older people can connect with people in the community is by taking advantage of the wide variety of programs and services offered at any of the six Howard County Senior Centers. The new fitness center at the Ellicott City 50+ Center, located adjacent to the HCLS’s Miller Branch, just opened. Stop by and see the spacious lobby, reception area, classroom, group exercise room, and equipment room. The facility has much to offer.

I’m lucky to have both my parents still living, and to live in a wonderful neighborhood surrounded by many retirees. I feel my children have benefited from these intergenerational connections. President Obama said in his proclamation, “During Older Americans Month, we lift up all those whose life’s work has made ours a little easier, and we recommit to showing them the fullest care, support, and respect of a grateful Nation.”

Please, take an extra moment this May to celebrate and recognize the older people in your life, and in your community. Also, say “thank you” to all those who care for and work with the older population. You will be glad you did, and you just might make someone’s day.

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Saturday, May 16, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister at Elkridge. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, May 18, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

 


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HCLS Now

 
Did you know that exercise videos are just a click away? We want to get in shape and have fun doing it. Variety keeps us motivated as well as taking on all aspects of fitness, including aerobic capacity, endurance, strength, toning, balance, and flexibility. If you have a computer and a Howard County Library System card (special 75th anniversary edition available right now), you can stream health and fitness videos. While you’re at it, download energizing music to keep you moving on your walk or select an inspirational audiobook about nutrition.

Go to hclibrary.org, look at the bottom right corner of the home page, and click on streaming. You will then find links to Freegal and Hoopla. Explore the choices, pick your movie, music or book and you’re on your way. Freegal has an entire category of movies devoted to health and fitness. Hoopla has the option to explore movies by genre and also has health and fitness selections. The websites walk you through how to register and download materials.

Freegal’s fitness videos include a collection of pilates instructional movies. In addition to general pilates, choices include pilates for men as well as pilates for pregnant women. You can also stream videos of exercise routines addressing joint pain, core strength and emotional stress. HCLS customers may stream up to 3 videos per week and each may be borrowed for 2 days. Freegal allows you to build your music library because you can download and keep 3 songs per week. HCLS customers can also stream up to 3 hours of music per week.

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Hoopla offers an even more extensive selection of fitness videos. Hoopla is a great site to explore for yoga instruction. The selection includes several yoga for kids videos. There are videos with yoga techniques targeted to patients with hypertension, diabetes, joint pain, digestive problems, and sleep disorders. There are movies to assist with weight loss, learning Tai Chi, and improving flexibility. There are even videos for fans of Forks over Knives and The 5 Love Languages. Hoopla movies can be streamed or temporarily downloaded through the app for a viewing period of 3 days.

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Hoopla has a large selection of audiobooks as well. By genre, take a look at personal development and health and nutrition. Topics include running, pilates and reversing the aging process. You can learn about meditation, how to lose belly fat, strength training, and breaking unhealthy habits. Explore the music collection too. Albums can be borrowed for 7 days and audiobooks for 21 days.

Computers don’t have to cause us to be more sedentary; they can connect us to activity and healthy lifestyles. The Freegal and Hoopla collections are always expanding. These applications do not have wait lists as the content is available to stream to multiple users at once. You can explore new ways to improve your body and mind today.

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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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m just not an exerciser. I’ve always disliked going to the gym, or finding time to exercise outside of one. I have plenty of excuses for not doing even those exercises I enjoy, like walking, running, or biking: “It’s too hot/cold/raining,” “There’s nobody to go with me,” or “I don’t have anywhere specific to go.” But, there is one type of exercise that I can always fit into my schedule, and that’s simple bodyweight exercises. Stuff like push-ups, crunches, and dips. Plus, I can do them in the comfort of my own home in just a few minutes.

you are your own gymAs the title of this book describes, You Are Your Own Gym, Mark Lauren and Joshua Clark’s self-named Bible of Bodyweight Exercises, contains 141 bodyweight exercises that can be performed pretty much anywhere. Some of them are the obvious favorites that everyone knows like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges, plus numerous variations on each. Others are more unusual like the whimsically named “the roof is on fire,” “shrugs and kisses,” “good mornings,” and “little piggies.”

The authors also provide some program ideas for various levels of experience and fitness, from beginner to “elite.” These programs call for different types of workouts each day, with recommended exercises meant to improve varying aspects of fitness (endurance, strength, and power). They call for performing 3-4 exercises a day for a total of 20-30 minutes of exercise – an easy amount of time to fit into any busy person’s schedule. One thing I particularly appreciate about this book is that it isn’t meant for one gender or age, and half the pictures depicting the exercises are of a female. It’s written in a very friendly manner that makes it easy to understand and makes exercise a simple and easily personalized task. It’s objective is to teach readers how to build their own basic exercise routines around the exercises that will work best for them – and why that’s what they should be doing.

7 weeks to 50 pull upsIf you want to get more specific, there’s also 7 Weeks to 50 Pull-Ups by Brett Stewart. This program promises to “help you build a stronger body and sculpt your physique in just 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.” I speak from experience when I say, “You don’t even have to be able to do a single pull-up to begin a program like this.” I started out having to hop up to perform one chin-up on the pull-up bar I have at home (bad form, I know), and now, I can consecutively knock out 5 chin ups (or 3 pull ups). It may not sound like much, but it’s better than none! In fact, there’s a prep level program included for those of us who aren’t at the “7 pull-up minimum” recommended for starting the real program.

Why bother? Well, one day when I fall off a mountain and can pull myself back up without assistance, I’ll know my simple exercise routine was a success!

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, since 2003. When not at work, she spends her time reading science fiction and comics, visiting local breweries, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

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Monday, May 11, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Mondays; 10 am – 12 pm. No registration required.

Monday, May 11, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Improve your mood through arts and crafts. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, May 12, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge BranchFree, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Tuesdays; 1 – 3 pm. No registration required.

Saturday, May 16, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister at Elkridge. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, May 18, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Tuesday, May 19 or Thursday, May 21, 5-7 p.m. Free. Skin Cancer Screening Worried about a funny looking mole? Our HCGH dermatologists will examine your area of concern in Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center.


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How do you hope to live the rest of your life when your time becomes short?

This is a weighty question. A question that everyone should ponder and discuss, with friends and peers, but especially with spouses (partners) and other family members. It is often a difficult thing to do and particularly difficult with your older, often ailing parents who are reluctant to talk of such matters. However, the time to have the “hard conversation” may be now before its too late.

being mortalPlease read Being Mortal: Medicine That Matters at the End by Atul Gawande (2014). He has written an insightful book, from a doctors viewpoint (he is a surgeon) and also from a son’s (his father was diagnosed with an incurable cancer), about how people cope with their mortality. He also looks at how the medical community deals with the very sick and/or aged in terms of how they often spend the last few days/weeks of their life, and it’s not the way they might have wished.

Here’s the big question: If you, as a patient, are told the truth about your condition and prognosis by a caring doctor who takes the time to really have a conversation with you, and tells you that your condition is terminal, would you immediately try every medicine/medical procedure in the hopes of gaining a little more time, no matter the costs/pain/side effects, or should you consider your other option of allowing the disease to progress but with some pain management, and try to live the best life you can with the time you have left?

These are decisions and questions that are happening to families all the time as there are more aged people than ever before. But what is also happening is that there are more people dying in hospitals hooked up to tubes in ICU’s when that wasn’t what the patient had wanted. Or maybe they are strapped to a wheelchair and heavily medicated in a nursing home with absolutely no control over any aspect of their day. This is certainly a book that campaigns hard for informed and courageous doctors and patients concerning end-of-life issues and conversations, as well as the importance of advance directives and living wills.

being mortal dvdThe author wants you to ask questions — such as, “What brings you joy each day?”, “What fears do you have about medical care?”, “What is important to you now?” Frontline (PBS) did a show with Dr. Gawande about why it is hard for doctors to talk to their patients about death called “Hope is not a Plan.” It gave his story a human touch as it explored the themes of his book dealing with how families and how the medical community deals with end of life issues and mortality. So often, he found, doctors nor family members had any idea what the patient wanted at the end.

Being Mortal talks about the natural breakdown of a person’s body as old age advances, and the author shows how much people fear dying and even more so talking about it. Together with doubt about what the future will be and desperation for a miracle cure, they cling to the belief that medical science can always fix what is wrong. Medicine does exist to fight death and disease, but eventually, in the end, death will always win.

Dr. Gawande also asks how we can build a better health system that will help older and ailing people feel a sense of continued purpose in their lives and to be able to achieve what’s most important to them at the end of their lives. He visits some very interesting and very innovative nursing homes, assisted living communities, and hospice programs. Also, considering our graying population, he feels more geriatricians should be in training (when in fact the number is declining).

talk about something more pleasantJust as in the Washington Post article in the Health section on Jan 27, 2015 entitled Growing Numbers Turn to Hospice, he explains that hospice care does not hasten death or mean surrender, but can in fact make the time left for the patient more livable and satisfying, and for the family as well. Rather than spending their last days/weeks in a hospital bed hooked up to tubes and monitors, hospice care can help everyone to prepare and have some quality time to spend with the patient and time to say goodbye.

Another recent book, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (2014), by Roz Chast is a memoir that follows the author as she deals with the steady decline and deaths of her parents. As a cartoonist for the New Yorker, there are some lighter moments and humor, but it is an emotional story of an only child overwhelmed with the time and energy and unknowns of watching as her parents decline and have to be moved out of their New York City apartment and into a continuing care community near where she lives. The author gets frustrated because she doesn’t know what is the right thing to do, and she grieves and she cries. It is also a worthwhile read.

short guide to long lifeA book that you might prefer instead is A Short Guide to a Long Life (2014) by Dr. David Agus. He feels that most people could delay or even prevent the majority of particularly chronic diseases we see today if they would adopt healthy habits early in life and avoid those that are known to lead to illnesses. He presents a “cheat sheet” of 65 concise rules for healthy living and living wisely. He hopes his guidelines will make each person more responsible for making healthy decisions for themselves. This book should be required reading for everyone.

You may have heard of Compassion and Choices, a non-profit organization (that publishes a magazine) that is “committed to helping everyone have the best death possible . . .” They advocate patient control in end-of-life care options and reducing unwanted medical interventions at the end of life. This organization is also involved in the aid-in-dying legislation initiatives across the country, but that is a whole other issue. If you read How My Father’s Dementia Has Destroyed Us Both in the Washington Post on February 1, 2015, you would have been moved by the story of the author’s father who is strong physically, but has lost most of his cognitive abilities and needs to be kept in the psych ward of a hospital because there is no where else for him to go.

the conversationAnother new book to recommend to you is The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care by Angelo Volandes (2015). Also a doctor, Volandes has written a small and excellent book where he tells the stories of several patients at the end of their lives and having the hard conversation with them. He took some patients to the ICU unit in the hospital to show them what that care might look like there. Then, he made a video that he showed other patients on an iPad of what their options would look like- specifically, what CPR, intubation, feeding tubes, and breathing machines were. He explains health care directives, proxies, and living wills and insists that you talk to your family and doctor about your health care options, even knowing that your desires may change over time. There are specific questions to help you start a conversation with your doctor or with someone in your family and especially a parent. I made a copy of the questions. The author highlights some web resources, particularly an online video program called Prepare.

Our mortality is a fearful thing to contemplate, but maybe more so if it is never talked about. I hope these books and articles, and other resources will be very helpful to you, and inspire you start thinking about how a good life can also have a good death. For yourself and for your loved ones, please take the time to consider what end-of-life care may mean, start discussions and have the courage to have a hard conversation.

Susan Cooke has worked in Howard County Library System for 20 years. She loves golden retrievers, fresh veggies, and (of course) reading good books. She is proud to have her daughter, Sarah Cooke, working for HCLS alongside her!

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All the Bright PlacesIt’s true, I have a love of Teen novels and I’m not going to apologize for it. In all honesty, most of the ones I go for tend to be, well, let’s just say NOT realistic fiction. (Come on, The Raven Cycle has quests for dead Welsh kings, psychics, ley lines, and one of the best hitmen ever written–but you have to wait until book 2 to meet him. And , The Lunar Chronicles? Kick-butt, clever, fairy tale heroines in space–how could anyone resist? And let’s not forget all that exciting dystopian fiction.)  But, I have to admit, I recently succumbed to a very positive review and picked up a realistic teen fiction title that I want to recommend (but only to older teens and adults). All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is an amazing book with a powerful story, particularly concerning mental health. I was trying to think of a summary that would not give too much away, but instead I’ll just give you 10 good reasons to pick it up and read it:

  1. Yes, yes, all the reviews say it, so why shouldn’t I: If you loved The Fault in Our Stars (or Eleanor & Park, or both), you will love this book. It has its own unique magic and is not merely a copycat.
  2. The book deals with first love/first sex compassionately, and still lets it be romantic.
  3. It’s already been picked up to be made into a movie, but, as every librarian, English teacher, book lover, etc. will tell you: “Read the book first; it’s almost always better.”
  4. Violet Markey, one of the main characters, is awesome. She is suffering a major loss in her life, and is struggling mightily, but still manages to be smart, relatable, and authentic.
  5. Theodore Finch, the other main character, is also awesome. He knows something is wrong with Violet, and he wants to help. He also knows something is wrong with him, and Niven lets him react to this in a way that is true to real life. And yet, he is still charming, dear, warm, and someone you want to root for, even though you know its is dangerous to do so.
  6. You will learn a surprising amount about some of Indiana’s “natural wonders.”
  7. If, like me, you tend to go for more “far out” (yes, I know, I’m old for using that expression) teen fiction, or, if you d on’t read any teen fiction at all, this might open you up to it.
  8. The author’s notes. Please, please, please read the author’s notes at the end of the book. If you relate to the book because you or someone you know is struggling with some similar issues, Niven provides some great resources. And if you are not, what the author discusses adds a whole new layer to the lives of the characters.
  9. The mental health issues are not sugar coated. In some ways this makes the book very difficult to read, but I am grateful for the fact that, though it is fiction, the book feels very real and doesn’t try to hide, romanticize, or make light of what is going on with its characters.
  10. You will cry. Okay, maybe this isn’t an enticement, but you’ll suspect pretty early on in the book that it will end with tears, and yet you’ll want to keep going. You’ll have to see it through to the end with Violet and Finch, despite the heartbreak that will stay with you well beyond the pages of the book.
Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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Monday, May 4, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Tuesday, May 5, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Star Ferguson is faculty at Maryland University of Integrative Health. In addition to her Master’s degree in Acupuncture, she holds a two-year Professional Certificate in Energetic Healing from Dr. Fernand Poulin’s WhiteWinds Institute in Atlanta, GA, and is a Mesa Carrier in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition, an ancient Peruvian Shamanic healing system. Ferguson’s acupuncture and energy healing practice, Sage Center for Wellness, is located in historic Ellicott City. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Monday, May 11, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Mondays; 10 am – 12 pm. No registration required.

Monday, May 11, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Improve your mood through arts and crafts. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, May 12, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge BranchFree, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Tuesdays; 1 – 3 pm. No registration required.


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Stephen Grill, M.D., PhD., a physician with the Parkinson’s & Movement Disorders Center of Maryland has been kind of enough to share his Parkinson disease expertise as part of Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Today, we share with you selections from his Parkinson’s Disease Reading List.

JP is the HCLS Editor & Blog Coordinator for Well & Wise. She is also a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. She is a storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, cancer survivor, and liver transplant recipient.

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Recently there’s been a resurgence in reading Proust. That’s right, the original tweeter, who upon biting into the soft, sweet crumb of a madeleine, was catapulted back into a flood of boyhood memories.
The result: an agonizing three-thousand word epiphany; Remembrance of Things Past.

Incroyable! But with everyone out there blogging, posting, and spewing their biz, too true. And yet, the act of writing your life story may be good for you.

“Memoir writing,” says Stanford’s Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Thomas Plante, “Helps us to thoughtfully reflect on our life path. It gives us a sense that our story matters.” And sometimes, it may even take a fictive turn – which is okay. Nothing could be more cathartic than re-imagining – even tweaking — a traumatic ending in one’s life: “Some [people]”, writes Andre Aciman, a comparative lit professor at CUNY Graduate Center, “in an effort to give their lives a narrative, a shape, a logic, end up altering not the facts they’ve known, but their layout. . .” So until you’re ready to write your own, here are two, at least, worth a read.

And no — Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love is not one of them.

How To Build A Girlhow to build a girl by Cathy Moran

In 1990 England, in the bleak public housing projects of Wolverhampton, motivation is as coming as your next food voucher- unless you’re  14 year-old Joanna Morrigan. England has begun rocking to a new, rougher, sound: Bikini Kill, Patti Smith, Courtney Love, Chrissie Hynde – you get it – girls rule, and no longer do you have to “listen to Julio Iglesias!!!!” But how to reinvent yourself when you’re from the mean streets? When your jolly dead-beat Dadda (who once had a go-nowhere band in the sixties) now spends time perfecting a bum leg in order to hang on to his medical assistance? When Mum sits in perpetual depression nibbling biscuits and watching Dynasty? When your ultra-strange older brother devotes himself to listening to The Sound of Music and dissecting sexually ambivalent snails?

You change your name for starters (Joanna becomes Dolly “Wilde”, after her favorite poet, Oscar). And you write. “It’s the one thing,” Joanna confides, you can dom “when you’re lonely and poor.” But kicking down the door of male-dominated rock music journalism will take some seriously big Dr. Martens. Still Dolly Wilde has the right stuff in this smutty, pee-your-pants-funny homage to working class pride and grungy girldom. (fiction – but based on Moran’s own life)

at home in the worldAt Home In The World by Joyce Maynard

It’s not everyday that an 18 year-old Yale dropout writes a piece that ends up on the cover of The New York Times Magazine, or grows up to produce a body of work worthy of two films, and a regular stint writing for NPR. In fact, most are still children tripping over maturity. They’re also, when it’s said and done, easily malleable. The fine writer, Joyce Maynard, was and is all this. She also decided, after twenty-five years of silence, to spill the beans about her relationship with the infamous J.D. Salinger, (Catcher in the Rye), when she was eighteen and he fifty-three.

Yet there’s more to this hypnotic memoir, (considered so shameful by critics), than an icky affair. Maynard, the gifted daughter of dysfunctional literati, yearned to feel comfortable in her own skin. By the time she would meet the predatory and narcissistic Salinger, however, she was long the victim of family manipulation. At Home In the World is fodder for a great book discussion.

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.

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Friday, April 24, 11:00 a.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister at East ColumbiaPrepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Tuesday, April 28, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central Branch. Explore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun at the same time. Join us and keep your brain challenged with puzzles, word games and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Monday, May 4, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Tuesday, May 5, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Star Ferguson is faculty at Maryland University of Integrative Health. In addition to her Master’s degree in Acupuncture, she holds a two-year Professional Certificate in Energetic Healing from Dr. Fernand Poulin’s WhiteWinds Institute in Atlanta, GA, and is a Mesa Carrier in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition, an ancient Peruvian Shamanic healing system. Ferguson’s acupuncture and energy healing practice, Sage Center for Wellness, is located in historic Ellicott City. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.


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Photo by Aimee Z.That good old neurohormone, oxytocin, is only a tail wag away with a dog in your life. Just gaze into that cute face, and, according to Marta Borgi, a researcher at the Behavioural Neurosciences Unit, Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences in Rome, Italy, you’ve just been zapped by the effect of ‘baby schema’– those physical, infantile traits that appeal to humans, and are shared by both babies and puppies alike.

The human reaction elicits the soft and fuzzy role of caretaker and protector –even if your dog just ate (like my six month-old puppy did the other morning) the nose pads off my Maui Jims. And that’s because dogs are – well – good for us, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Consider a recent study conducted with 60 undergraduates who were both dog and non-dog lovers. For every one of them, the tactile act of canine petting released a relaxation hormone, reducing hypertension significantly.

And for all of you with aging parents, did you know that those with a pooch for a pal are four times less likely to suffer from clinical depression? Or that heart attack survivors with dogs live longer than those who don’t?

you had me at woofFinally, is there any better listener than a dog?

Says Allen Beck, Director, Center of the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, “We did a study that showed 97 percent of people talk to their dogs.” He added: “and the other 3 percent probably lied.”

The Dog Walker by Leslie Schnur – RomCom tale about a snoopy Manhattanite/dog walker, with a lot of chutzpah and a key as well to the gorgeous apartment of a four-legged client and his trusting owner (whom she’s never met – but would- sigh- love to).

Bark If You Love Me: A Woman Meets Dog Story by Louise Bernikow
Both indifferent and allergic to dogs and people; (is anyone really warm and fuzzy in Manhattan?), Louise Bernikow is jogging along the Hudson River in this quirky memoir, when she comes upon a lame and homeless boxer that soon impacts her life in ways she never imagined.

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.

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Monday, April 20, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Tuesday, April 21, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central Branch. Explore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00 p.m. Meet the Authors: Gina A. Oliva and Linda Risser Lytle at Miller BranchTurning the Tide: Making Life Better for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Schoolchildren presents a qualitative study of deaf and hard of hearing (dhh) individuals who spent a sizeable proportion of their K-12 years as the only deaf children in their schools. Authors Oliva and Lytle discuss the challenges their subjects reported about friendship, identity, and support services. These stories demonstrate how dhh students need social as well as academic support to attain an equitable education. Books available for purchase and signing. In partnership with Howard Community College, Howard County Association for the Deaf, Maryland School for the Deaf, and Howard County Poetry & Literature Society. Become a Friend of HCLS at jointhefriends.orgRegister online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Wednesday, April 22, 7:00 p.m. Meet the Author: Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. at Miller Branch. Kay Redfield Jamison is an internationally renowned author and expert on manic-depressive illness and depression, and a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Co-Director of its Mood Disorders Center. She authored The New York Times bestseller, An Unquiet Mind: a Memoir of Moods and Madness. The memoir chronicles her experience with depression and mania, and according to Oliver Sacks, “stands alone in the literature of manic depression for its bravery, brilliance, and beauty.” Her other works include Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide; Exuberance: The Passion for Life; and Nothing Was the Same: a Memoir. In 2013, Jamison’s book, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize which recognizes scientific works that reach a wider audience outside of the laboratory. Jamison coauthored Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, first published in 1990 and the definitive book on the topic. Dr. Jamison is the recipient of numerous national and international literary and scientific prizes, including the Lewis Thomas Prize and a MacArthur Award. Books available for purchase and signing. In partnership with NAMI, Howard County. Become a Friend of HCLS at jointhefriends.orgRegister online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Friday, April 24, 11:00 a.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister at East ColumbiaPrepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Tuesday, April 28, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central Branch. Explore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Tuesday, April 28, 7:00 p.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun at the same time. Join us and keep your brain challenged with puzzles, word games and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.


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women food desireNot too ago, I was a stress eater. Like many people, I would eat not just because I was hungry, but because it helped me forget things. Sometimes it was more like a zombie would eat than a human would. Other times it was not numbness I sought, but extreme pleasure.

I tried to stop, but it wasn’t until I got Invisalign braces that my eating became more structured and I found myself breaking bad habits and eating for the right reasons. Plus, I found music to be a much better, much healthier pain killer than food and, although I’m still a newbie with it, meditation became an ally.

The one thing, though, I never seriously considered in all of it (maybe because I didn’t want to) is that food would or could ever be a substitute for desire. Even so, I can’t help but find Alexandra Jamieson’s Women, Food and Desire both compelling and helpful. Alexandera Jamieson is a Holistic health counselor and co-star of the award-winning documentary Super Size Me. While some of what she writes can be a bit self-evident (“it’s time to start eating right” and ”women who overeat do so to find some kind of emotional solace” are among the few) there’s also the painfully real, which is not said nearly enough:

The intense pressure we’re under to be perceived as desirable, in an objectified way, has us either starving ourselves so we don’t have to feel how lonely or sexually unfulfilled we may be…When sex becomes too dangerous for us to fully enjoy, food becomes our version of safe sex.

But Jamieson is not just here to trouble us though with reminders of how scary sex can be or how unfair our society is to women. She wants to be our cheerleader as well and she becomes one in a non-irritating, warm and sincere manner. Though needing and eating food often makes us feel unwelcome in our own bodies, food instead “should delight us, ignite us and make us feel good.”

11375928206_90665a2e3e_zIt’s exactly because the author is on our side and not lecturing us or talking down to readers that I like this book so much. It may sometimes repeat things we already know, but in this case we do need to be reminded how dangerous criticism of ourselves and others can be, and that in doing so, we are “failing to see that person at all.” No one, Jamieson says, not even a mother, should (whether with cruel intention or not) shame us because of our bodies.

Jamieson stresses three common reasons why we may sublimate food for other things: off-kilter family relationships (so many of us know all about that), body alienation (whether we eat to lose ourselves in our own bodies or we don’t eat as a way to try and disappear), and sexual pleasure. It’s this focus that strengthens Women, Food and Desire  and makes it heads above other self-help books on women and food.

As if the empathy and sincerity isn’t enough, the writer also include the neuroscience behind cravings, how to break lifelong eating habits, and practical tips for food shopping. There is also advice on getting better rest and seeing exercise as something fun to do rather than an excruciating punishment to atone for some past sin.

Jamieson is popular with both readers and critics because she genuinely wants to help ease people into rethinking and recharging the way they see food and their bodies in a world where so many fashion magazines and TV shows hold up an “ideal” image of how women should eat, be, and look. Isn’t that refreshing?

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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Incorporating physical activity into our daily lives is one of the biggest challenges in today’s world. We all know the importance, but still seem to find getting into a routine difficult. Instead of listening to the media and government recommendations, figure out what works in your schedule! Here are some tips to help you build a lifetime of healthy living:

Editor’s Note: If you want to live healthfully and you want to be active, there is no better way than to start! Get moving! However, always consult your physician before starting a new exercise or diet regimen. We at Well & Wise, want you to get well, stay well, and be wise about how you do it. 

Lisa Martin founded the Girls on the Run program in Howard County in 2009. Lisa is AFAA & NSCA certified, has more than 15 years of personal training experience, and practices a multidimensional wellness approach at her studio, Salvere Health & Fitness. Lisa says that one of the best things about being in the health and fitness industry is watching people accomplish things they never thought possible.

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Monday, April 13, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Mondays; 10 am – 12 pm. No registration required.

Monday/Wednesday, April 13-June 3, 9:30-10:30 a.m. $64. Fitness Fun for Seniors for those 60 and older. Exercise to music at your own pace for fitness, flexibility and fun. Class includes stretching and low-impact exercise. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Monday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Improve your mood through arts and crafts. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central BranchExplore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Thursday, April 16, 7-9 p.m. Free. Maybe Baby: Financial Issues for Expectant, New and Prospective Parents with a Certified Financial Planner™ who will discuss financial issues involved in starting a family. Leave with a plan to help you feel confident about your finances. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Friday, April 17, 6-7 p.m. Free. Advance Directives: Understand what they are, who needs them, how to get them and leave with an advance directives document. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Monday, April 20, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Tuesday, April 21, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central Branch. Explore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Tuesday, April 21, 7:00 p.m. Meet the Authors: Gina A. Oliva and Linda Risser Lytle at Miller BranchTurning the Tide: Making Life Better for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Schoolchildren presents a qualitative study of deaf and hard of hearing (dhh) individuals who spent a sizeable proportion of their K-12 years as the only deaf children in their schools. Authors Oliva and Lytle discuss the challenges their subjects reported about friendship, identity, and support services. These stories demonstrate how dhh students need social as well as academic support to attain an equitable education. Books available for purchase and signing. In partnership with Howard Community College, Howard County Association for the Deaf, Maryland School for the Deaf, and Howard County Poetry & Literature Society. Become a Friend of HCLS at jointhefriends.orgRegister online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Wednesday, April 22, 7:00 p.m. Meet the Author: Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D. at Miller Branch. Kay Redfield Jamison is an internationally renowned author and expert on manic-depressive illness and depression, and a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Co-Director of its Mood Disorders Center. She authored The New York Times bestseller, An Unquiet Mind: a Memoir of Moods and Madness. The memoir chronicles her experience with depression and mania, and according to Oliver Sacks, “stands alone in the literature of manic depression for its bravery, brilliance, and beauty.” Her other works include Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide; Exuberance: The Passion for Life; and Nothing Was the Same: a Memoir. In 2013, Jamison’s book, Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize which recognizes scientific works that reach a wider audience outside of the laboratory. Jamison coauthored Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, first published in 1990 and the definitive book on the topic. Dr. Jamison is the recipient of numerous national and international literary and scientific prizes, including the Lewis Thomas Prize and a MacArthur Award. Books available for purchase and signing. In partnership with NAMI, Howard County. Become a Friend of HCLS at jointhefriends.orgRegister online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Saturday, April 25, 9 a.m.-Noon. Free. CPR Across Howard County American Heart Association Family & Friends CPR for the adult and child victim. For the community and not a certification course. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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meatlessMartha Stewart and all her kitchen minions have come together in this wonderfully simple, easy-to-follow-and-replicate cookbook. Meatless contains over 200 recipes for vegetarians, vegans, and those of us looking to get more “veg” in our diets. In fact, the book is dedicated “To everyone who realizes that a balanced diet relying more heavily on vegetable than on animal can result in a longer and healthier life.” Stewart’s foreword shares a story of her daughter’s pet lamb being slaughtered for dinner and the reading of certain books and viewing of films which together with the encouragement of friends and family brought this book to fruition. Vegetable-based meals are not only the trend, but a legitimate way to eat and live well. This cookbook is, truly, for everyone. The introduction by Editor in Chief of Whole Living, Alanna Slang, provides a legend for the recipes which are Vegan, Gluten-free, & Special Diet. She also goes further to provide an outline of “protein powerhouses” like tempeh, seitan, eggs, and bulgur.

My favorite recipes in this book are unlike any I’ve ever seen or have made for myself before:

1. Portobello & Zucchini Tacos p. 240
Roasted veggies are the best and they are filling. Tacos are easy and the sky is the limit when it comes to “the fixin’s.” This recipe asks that you cut your portobello and zucchini into strips and roast them in the oven with a light drizzle of olive oil and seasonings. These hearty veggies will act as your protein for these tacos. Simple. Simple. SIMPLE! Choose your favorite taco staples like cilantro, tomatoes, cheese, etc. to pull it all together. My favorite thing to add that wasn’t mentioned in this book- grilled avocado! Squirt some fresh lemon and lime and a bit of kosher salt – and you’ve got something really special.

2. Grilled Asparagus & Ricotta Pizzas p. 260
This one is so easy and you get to use your grill! Grill your asparagus until you get those nice browned spots. You can get some fresh pizza dough from the grocery store and prepare it on the grill (or in oven and then, transfer to grill) or use some other flat bread like naan and grill it. Be sure to use olive oil and appropriate temps to get those nice grill marks and cook/heat the dough through. Once your pizza base is done, all you have to do is add some fresh ricotta and your grilled asparagus and cover your grill to let all those flavors come/stick together (2 minutes). Remove from grill and eat your heart out!

3. Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon & Cilantro p. 336
It took a while for me to believe the in the heartiness that cauliflower has, but it really can fill you up! With the right combination of spices and time in the oven, cauliflower can be a tender, substantial meal in itself. This recipe allows for a lot of variation. I would suggest fresh cilantro and lemon juice for finishing this dish. It’s not a lot of work, lightly toss chunks/slices of cauliflower in olive oil and seasoning, roast until tender and finish with my previous suggestions. Delish!

Eating your vegetables can be really pleasurable when you have the right recipes in hand. And with Meatless you’ll find something great on each page.

JP is the HCLS Editor & Blog Coordinator for Well & Wise. She is also a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. She is a storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, cancer survivor, and liver transplant recipient.

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fitness mythsIn a very health-conscious society where the media is overrun by fitness and nutrition studies and reports, people still struggle with losing weight and living an overall consistently healthy lifestyle. The media gives so much information on the “right” foods to eat, the “right” way to exercise, and the “right” way to live that many people are confused and frustrated. Is there a “right” when it comes to eating and exercising?

As the fitness industry continues to research and discover more information, the public is constantly exposed to new and updated recommendations. After facts have been passed from source to source, challenged and changed, health and fitness news can become distorted and misinterpreted not to mention overwhelming. Let’s take a look at some of these confusing misconceptions regarding fitness.

How about we start with spot reduction? For example, in order to lose “weight” around your belly, focus on sit-ups or some other abdominal exercise regularly. This will give you a smaller waist, right? Well, this theory of “spot reduction” is impossible. You can specify where you build muscle, unfortunately, a person has no control over where his or her body chooses to burn fat. Muscle helps improve metabolism, resulting in an increase in the amount of calories the body burns but your body has a mind of its own and will lose from wherever.

Speaking of building muscle, another misinterpreted fact concerns weight-lifting. Women commonly believe that weights will make them big and bulky like a man and they should lift only light dumbbells. In fact, only a very small percentage of women have the necessary hormones to naturally do so. Men tend to build bulk and carry more muscle, whereas women tend to create tone and definition. Often, the feeling of bulk comes from adding muscle and not burning the overlying body fat. Womens bodies naturally carry more fat than men, in a healthy way. Increasing muscle improves metabolism, decreases risk of injury, makes daily activities easier and builds strong bones.

how to think about exercsieSo we know exercising is important, but how long? “Research says” 60-90 minutes of physical activity most days. Raise your hand if you have that much time in a day to dedicate to exercise. Very few of us do. Do what you can make time for – but do something! If you only have 20 minutes, move and challenge yourself to work hard during that time. Break it down into shorter segments and use the weekends for a little longer workouts.

Looking at when to schedule your workout, exercising in the morning is best, right? As a trainer, I first ask clients who think this if they will actually wake up at 5 am to exercise (or anything else for that matter!). Most of the time, the answer is “no!” So this brings us to science vs. real life. If you know it’s not something you will do, then the science does not matter. Set yourself up for success and consistency, plan to do it at a time when you feel your best. The benefits may be slightly greater but not greater then doing nothing.

Many fitness recommendations out there promise to be the best. Be sure to find out the best way for you to maximize your results based on your goals, body, time frame and resources. Simplify fitness and eating; if it came from the earth, eat it in moderate portions; work out regularly on a consistent basis. No matter what the media claims, choosing your own health path is essential to getting the best results for you.

Lisa Martin founded the Girls on the Run program in Howard County in 2009. Lisa is AFAA & NSCA certified, has more than 15 years of personal training experience, and practices a multidimensional wellness approach at her studio, Salvere Health & Fitness. Lisa says that one of the best things about being in the health and fitness industry is watching people accomplish things they never thought possible.


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calendar_2015_blogMonday, April 6, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.

Tuesday, April 7, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central BranchExplore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, April 8, 6-8:30 p.m. Free. Caring for the Young Athlete Successful prevention, evaluation and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries and concussions is crucial for any young athlete. During this seminar in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Johns Hopkins pediatric specialists in orthopaedics, sports medicine, neurosurgery, surgery and physical therapy will discuss injury prevention and the signs/symptoms of more serious conditions and when to seek help. Dinner is included as part of this free event.

Saturday, April 11, 9-11 a.m. $35Self-Defense for Young Women Teens ages 12 to 15 will learn physical and psychological strategies of self-defense. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Monday, April 13, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Mondays; 10 am – 12 pm. No registration required.

Monday, April 13, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Improve your mood through arts and crafts. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, April 14, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central BranchExplore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.


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hcls chair exerciseThe past several weeks have been full of exercise suggestions at Well & Wise, and I’ve very much been enjoying reading about walking, running, sneaking (sneaking in exercise during the day, that is), swimming, and a host of other interesting articles. My own recent contribution was about standing, believe it or not. I had vowed, when writing it, that I was going to try to work some traditional-desk-friendly exercise into my routine. I started this process by taking home the DVD No Sweat! Office Fitness for the Mind and Body in attempt to learn some simple exercises.

The workout in No Sweat! Office Fitness for the Mind and Body is lead by Blanche Black, who is the owner/operator of Fit as a Fiddle Productions and creator of the popular Chair Fitness video series. Ms. Black has also been a Geriatric Rehabilitation Nurse and Fitness Instructor. One of her guiding principles to fitness seems to be: “Movement is the key to the health and consciousness of our bodies.” This is something I can totally get behind. I’m probably not going to become a marathon runner or even a mildly avid exercise enthusiast in this lifetime, but I do acknowledge that I need to keep active (both physically and mentally).

Black offers some options for moving and stretching at work that seem completely doable. She even performs these exercises wearing a skirt and in a limited space to better replicate an office setting (though the wisenheimer husband did keep commenting that it looked suspiciously like the reception area of a funeral parlor). Is the production quality a little on the rough side? Are the exercises a bit on the low-impact side (you definitely won’t have to worry about getting sweaty at work)? Do some of the stretches seem a bit silly, especially if you are doing them in front of coworkers? Yes to all of the above. BUT the directions are clear, the DVD is reasonably short (17 minutes), and, after giving it a try, I did feel a little looser, especially in the shoulders and neck (where I tend to carry all my tension).

Black gives you some simple exercises that could totally be done on the job. She’s not out to pump anyone up, but her simple stretches and exercises could help relieve some stress and keep you a little more limber at work. And, if you choose to learn them at home like I did, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be joined by your favorite smart-aleck.

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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Most of us lead busy lives. Despite using umpteen labor-saving devices and the wonderful tools provided by modern technology, we find very little time to do the many tasks we have to do. People feel constantly pressed for time. Running from one task to another, to fulfill our duties and responsibilities, we find that there is not enough hours in the day to relax, recoup and recharge our tired selves.

In consequence, we suffer from the modern scourge afflicting busy people: “SWAT” (stress, worry, anxiety and tension of one type or another). This adversely affects our mental health, and negatively impacts the quality of life. Not only do we inflict this state of affairs on ourselves; more to the point, we manage to hurt others as well—intentionally or otherwise. These unwanted and undesirable side-effects of our busy lifestyles, are our constant companions, reducing our natural immunities, and making us feel tired, upset, and in conflict with others. We are unable to shake off their pernicious effects. This state of affairs, in turn, leads to many types of uncivil behavior, triggering physical/psychic discomfort on everyone we come in contact with.

Some of us, quite unintentionally, tend to be curt, discourteous as well as unmindful of how our behavior adversely affects others. This is the exact opposite of what should be called “civility.” That is, being pleasant, considerate, welcoming, empathetic, and willing to listen and respond appropriately to other people and situations.
Consider some familiar situations in the slideshow below.

These and similar situations are everyday occurrences. They are representative of what it is “not to be civil.” Civility is based on mutual respect, trust, empathy, consideration for the well-being of others (The Golden Rule), sharing, and caring. When these principles are ignored, we pay a heavy price for our ill-mannered behavior. This manifests itself in many ways: various psychological afflictions imposed on third parties, through negligence, inconsiderate behavior, and inappropriate remarks.

When there are no shared values governing common civility, the resulting cynicism and mistrust take a heavy toll on our mental/psychological well-being. Our quality of life is dealt a heavy blow. It does not have to be this way. There is an alternative, which each and every one of us is capable of: CIVILITY! It helps everyone, hurts no one. The cost of practicing civility in everyday life is negligible indeed; while the payoff in terms of social cohesion and mental/psychological wellness is incalculable. This is a rare example of “the greatest bang for the buck.” It is a win-win bargain for us all. What it calls for is a modicum of self-control and consideration for our fellow human beings.

Dr. Gopal C. Dorai is an author, economist, statistician, and Professor Emeritus at William Paterson University.

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calendar_2015_blogMarch 31 – April 2, 4:00 p.m. Babysitting 101 at Central Branch. Learn the essentials of babysitting with a University of Maryland Extension instructor. Participants receive a certificate. Must attend all three sessions: Mar 31, Apr 1 & 2. Ages 13 & up. Register online or by calling 410.313.7800.

Monday, April 6, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.

Tuesday, April 7, 2:00 p.m. & 3:45 p.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Central BranchExplore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, April 8, 6-8:30 p.m. Free.  Caring for the Young Athlete Successful prevention, evaluation and rehabilitation of sports-related injuries and concussions is crucial for any young athlete. During this seminar in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, Johns Hopkins pediatric specialists in orthopaedics, sports medicine, neurosurgery, surgery and physical therapy will discuss injury prevention and the signs/symptoms of more serious conditions and when to seek help. Dinner is included as part of this free event.

Saturday, April 11, 9-11 a.m. $35. Self-Defense for Young Women Teens ages 12 to 15 will learn physical and psychological strategies of self-defense. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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With the vernal equinox behind us the days will grow longer and the nights shorter. Nature is in balance for that brief moment, and then we move on. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could achieve that kind of balance in our lives, even for one day in the year? One of my favorite ways to reconnect and rejuvenate is through gardening. I am a terrible gardener but that’s not the point. The point is to get dirty, smell the soil and be humbled and amazed when a seed actually becomes a flower. Sharing with others this incredible magic through picture books is one of the joys of spring Children’s classes. Or just take a walk through the Enchanted Garden and restore your soul.

“There once was a city without gardens or trees or greenery of any kind.” Peter Brown’s tale of urban renewal and the persistent of nature (both plant and human) begins with this sobering statement. Our hero, Liam, discovers a small patch of weeds, and through trial and error, he nurtures a garden that grows and grows. As the garden greens, the colors brighten until the sky is blue and Liam is surrounded by flowers. Other gardeners take on the challenge and the city itself becomes more colorful. An inspirational tale inspired by the Manhattan High Line project.

We are fortunate in Howard County to have green space within the reach of all our citizens. Perhaps we should all take more advantage of these for our health, both physical and mental.

Kadir Nelson is one of my favorite illustrators and he knocks it out of the park with If You Plant a Seed. “If you plant a tomato seed, a carrot seed, and a cabbage seed,” then that is what you will grow. Rabbit and Mouse work together and have a beautiful harvest. When the birds come begging to share in the feast Rabbit and Mouse plant a different seed, selfishness, and – “it will grow, and grow, and grow … into a heap of trouble.” After a food fight where most of the harvest is destroyed, Mouse offers one of the last pieces to the birds. In return the birds bring Mouse and Rabbit all kinds of wonderful seeds showing that “the fruits of kindness … are very, very sweet.” Gorgeous oil paintings are a hallmark of Nelson’s books, making this a book to return to again and again to enjoy his artistry.

Share this book with those who are still working on that notion of sharing- or bunnies!

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner is a paean to the natural world and all of the creatures who contribute to the success (and sometimes failure) of spring planting. The often unseen life all around the garden, such as a praying mantis that eats mosquitoes, pill bugs that chew through leaves, honeybees that pollinate flowers, and a garter snake that hunts grasshoppers, are lovingly depicted by illustrator Christopher Silas Nelson. This is a full year in the garden as a young girl and her grandmother plan, plant, tend, and harvest. A lovely, quiet book for sharing right now when for many of us it is a little early to begin planting, but never too early for planning.

Hopefully, the snow is behind us. Let us enjoy as the poet says when the “world is mud-Luscious” and “puddle-wonderful” and it’s spring!

 

Shirley ONeill works for Howard County Library System as the Children’s and Teen Materials Specialist. She cannot believe she actually gets paid to do this job.

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choosing civilityThe 17th century English political philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, wrote: “life is nasty, brutish and short.” He was witnessing the collapse of the then existing political and social order—a bloody civil war was being waged between those who supported the erstwhile British Monarchy, and those who wanted to abolish it. Hobbes was deeply pained by the resulting carnage and atrocities committed by both sides, and he saw the ‘natural order’ of things collapsing under his very eyes. Living and working conditions were brutal. This was a time of great social upheaval in England, resulting in ‘nasty’ physical and mental illnesses, leading to short-life spans and great misery. People behaved “brutishly” towards each other. There was, at that time, a marked decline in what we now call “civility.” The consequences were disastrous for the nation.

Today, we live in far better times, which Hobbes could not even have dreamed about. Life expectancies have improved dramatically. The average lifespan in the United States recently reached the low 80’s. A majority of the population now enjoys good physical and mental health. Standards of living have steadily improved throughout the past century. Most of us live in relative peace, and continue to enjoy the blessings of civilized life.

Although we do not yet have a perfect world, we can strive to improve our quality of life by cultivating civility towards each other. Civility can permeate all aspects of our relationships—at home, at school, at work, as well as in all our market and non-market transactions. If there is such a thing as “Utopia,” then practicing civility may take us there. This will not be an easy ride by any means, but it can be done, if we put our minds and energies into it.

What exactly is “civility?” How does it differ from concepts such as morality, religion, or ethics? How does civility promote mental health and well-being? Why should a society care about civility? To explore this topic, let us briefly discuss three related concepts: religion, morality, and ethics.

Different religious beliefs can often collide with each other, leading to uncivil behavior. Driven by religious fervor or dogma, adherents to a particular religion can tear apart the delicate social fabric that exists in a multiracial or multi-ethnic nation. This can obviously lead to physical and mental illness.

Another widely used term: morality, in most cases, is “culture-specific.” It is also a product of historical circumstances, geography, and religious traditions. What is considered immoral in one society may be an accepted common practice in another. A traveler moving from one country (which adheres to a particular moral code) to another, will find that their inhabitants subscribe to a different moral code of conduct. Interpretations of moral conduct have no universal validity. They are riddled with vagueness.

Ethical conduct and principles have much more commonality with “civility.” However, one can be civil, without being ethical, and vice versa. Ethics deals with certain modes of behavior or actions/decisions we choose to make in everyday life– what is considered as “right” or “wrong” in our national consciousness.

Fortunately, the concept of civility has great universal appeal, without invoking religion, morality, or ethics. Civility can (and should) be central to everyday human interaction. It promotes healthy human relationships, which in turn contributes to our sense of overall life satisfaction and happiness. The result is “a healthy body and a healthy mind.” Whether one is deeply religious or not; moral or immoral (as determined by context), and ethical or unethical, one can choose to be “civil.” Consequently, adherence to common principles of civility promotes overall mental health and well being, without our having to put labels such as “right” or “wrong.” We need not associate or confuse civility with other things.

How can civility promote a good Quality of Life? What should we do? This theme will be explored in the next installment of this topic.

Dr. Gopal C. Dorai is an author, economist, statistician, and Professor Emeritus at William Paterson University.

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Monday, March 23, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. $15/AARP members, $20/others AARP Driver Safety class refresher for ages 50+ in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness CenterRegister here.

Tuesday, March 24, 10:30 a.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun at the same time. Join us and keep your brain challenged with puzzles, word games and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, March 24, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Medicare 102: Why Medicare Isn’t Enough Learn about Medicare Health Plans (Part C) and Medicare Supplement Policies. Presented by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, Howard County Office on Aging in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness CenterRegister here.

Tuesdays/Thursdays, March 24-May 14, 6:30 to 8 p.m. $195 Healthy Weight Connection Kick-start individual lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise, to help reach a healthier weight. Receive personalized guidance from a certified dietitian. Various nutrition topics and gentle yoga. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness CenterRegister here.

March 31 – April 2, 4:00 p.m. Babysitting 101 at Central Branch. Learn the essentials of babysitting with a University of Maryland Extension instructor. Participants receive a certificate. Must attend all three sessions: Mar 31, Apr 1 & 2. Ages 13 & up. Register online or by calling 410.313.7800.


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5892760393_1666c64567_zOne of the major factors contributing to different forms of stress, bodily afflictions, mental illnesses, high anxiety levels, and general dissatisfaction with modern life can be found in the lifestyles we have voluntarily chosen. For example, our inability (or unwillingness) to bring about an appropriate balance among the various components of what should be a “well balanced life” exacts a heavy toll on our body and psyche. For many people, undue, excessive emphasis on any one aspect of life—such as –office work, career, climbing the corporate ladder, pursuit of wealth, etc. leads inevitably to wanton neglect of other important ingredients of a well-balanced life. This type of personal choice leads to various ailments, imbalances and misalignments. In consequence, anxiety, worry, stress, and mental tension ensue.

Our sedentary lifestyles, with its emphasis on income producing activities, and neglect of other important aspects of living, (such as rest, recreation, exercise, relaxation, and adequate sleep), can and does result in irritability, fatigue and poor physical health. Some of us seem to have no time for anything other than the economic aspects of living. Consequently, we become victims of such an unbalanced life style. The neglected areas of life cry out for attention. They manifest themselves in many warning signs – many physical and mental ailments—and we tend to ignore them at our peril.

So the obvious question is: what should be done? What is the remedy? How do we correct this obvious imbalance? Fortunately, the answer is not far to seek!

thriveVarious aspects of daily life, such as: earning and spending; work and career aspirations; family responsibilities; social obligations; activities that promote physical and mental well being—these must be properly balanced—to produce good health and peace of mind. The resulting improvement in life satisfaction will be immeasurable. Whenever we lose sight of this balancing principle, and ignore the vital contribution that each of these components contribute to our sense of life fulfillment, the result is: physical and emotional distress. Happiness and contentment elude us. Life seems empty—filled with worry, anxiety, tension and stress.

The paradox of our unbalanced lifestyle is this: What we think of as enhancing the quality of life—money, power, position, prestige and recognition (all good things in themselves)- can be pursued to excess, to the detriment of our overall quality of life. This is a trap that should be avoided.

So, it is up to each one of us to recognize the importance of balance in life. Engage yourself in a variety of activities—physical, mental, spiritual, and whatever else you want—but do it NOW. Make it a habit. This would be a wise and welcome choice we can and should make; the benefits would be immeasurable.

Dr. Gopal C. Dorai is an author, economist, statistician, and Professor Emeritus at William Paterson University.

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3972610159_b741c629b8_zThe snow is melting and the temperature is finally rising and I could not be happier. How about you? It’s amazing how much happier I am now that the weather has made a change for the better and we are in daylight savings time. I feel like things are possible again. I can go for a walk after work, finally clean out the car, and I generally feel so much better. I can’t explain it.

I’m also excited because I know that the outdoor pools will be opening in just a few short weeks. I love to swim and I love to go to water aerobics. A couple of years ago my son was working at one of the outdoor pools in Columbia that offered water aerobics and I decided to give it a try. It is now one of my favorite ways to exercise. There is something that I just love about being in a pool outdoors.

I’m not alone. Swimming is a popular way to exercise and with good reason. Swimming puts very little stress on your bones and joints and it’s a good exercise for all ages. You can even increase muscle strength and endurance due to the water’s built-in resistance. There are a growing variety of water workouts, including water walking or jogging, water yoga, water Zumba, deep-water exercise, and water therapy and rehabilitation classes. You can read more about the benefits of water-based exercise here. You can also check out the many books and instructional DVDs available throughout Howard County Library System. So, if you’re looking for a low-intensity workout that offers benefits for any fitness level, head to your nearest pool. (FYI: The Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City has a pool with a retractable roof for the indoor/outdoor pool feel and is ADA accessible with a chair lift and a pool wheelchair.)

7422182864_ca9d79b18e_zOne of the other benefits of swimming is that it doesn’t require specialized gear. You really only need a swimsuit. My kids are always amazed that I don’t even wear goggles. I like to open my eyes under water. I think it reminds me of when I was growing up and my family would visit the lake near my grandparent’s home. We would play a game and throw a small rock and then try to find it again on the lake bottom. Also, I never want to look like I am serious about swimming. After all I am just having fun in the pool!

The best reason to get in the water is that you never need to retire from swimming like you do from some other sports. Now if you prefer to exercise on land you can try Boot Camp in the Park at the Corporate Pavilion at Centennial Park every Saturday morning from 8-9 am beginning Saturday, March 21st. This camp is free and for all fitness levels and ages. More details about the kick-off of Boot Camp in the Park and Get Active Howard County can be found here.

Whatever you decide to do, be sure you’re having fun and feeling good about it, that way you’ll be more likely to keep on doing it. Let’s get moving!

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Saturday, March 14, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister, at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at 1:45 p.m.

Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.

Tuesday, March 24, 10:30 a.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun at the same time. Join us and keep your brain challenged with puzzles, word games and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

 


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As many of you are aware, I’m a runner. I started two years ago and this Spring, I have decided to run a marathon (26.2 miles). Am I crazy? I guess that I am. I was contacted to be a race ambassador by a running company and they wanted to follow me as I train and run my first marathon. I am terrified of this distance. All of my running friends have told me that if I can run a half marathon (13.1 miles), I can run a full marathon. Why would this frighten me? I’m not sure, but I think it’s more the distance and the time involved in training that worries me. So, in an effort to stay motivated, I’ve decided to list what running has taught me in the last couple of years. Here are my top ten things that running has taught me:

My marathon is this May (2015)! Wish me luck as I venture on this new journey with my running. Happy trails!

Anna Louise Kallas is a Customer Service Specialist at the Miller Branch. She is an avid reader and enjoys Disney, music and her passion for running. She has been a race ambassador for several local races, and is a Sweat Pink Ambassador for promoting women’s health. Follow her journey towards being physically fit with running and healthy lifestyle choices here on Well & Wise.

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walking shelfie
The slow melting of all our snow has inspired me to get out of my winter hibernation and get active and moving once again. My favorite type of exercise is very simple: taking walks around my neighborhood. When the weather is nice, my husband and I try to take a walk once every day. We get to meet some of our neighbors (and more importantly, their pets), see how others have landscaped to get ideas for our own yard, and get some light exercise in to boot. I can really tell the difference in my mood on days when I have walked, and it’s the easiest, most simple exercise possible.

All walking helps to meet the goal of getting a little more active, but obviously it can be performed with more of a goal in mind. Fitness walking can be done both outside or in the privacy of your own home – as proven by Leslie Sansone’s series of Walk at Home DVDs.

On the other hand, there’s always hiking. It doesn’t have to be structured, hours long, big name hikes like the Appalachian Trail, either, although that’s certainly a worthy trip! There’s a plethora of local options close to Howard County, with the Patuxent Research Refuge and Patapsco Valley State Park nearby. But for locals looking for other fun hikes, there are numerous guidebooks for the region, including 50 Hikes in Maryland: Walks, hikes, & backpacks from the Allegheny Plateau to the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes I want to get a little more urban, and luckily for me there are guides for that too, like Walking Baltimore: An insider’s guide to 33 historic neighborhoods, waterfront districts, and hidden treasures in charm city, which can take you on a bunch of different tours of the city. With all these places to choose from, I’m sure to get my walking in this spring!

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, since 2003. When not at work, she spends her time reading science fiction and comics, visiting local breweries, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

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Monday, March 9,  10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Mondays; 10 am – 12 pm. No registration required.

Monday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Improve your mood through arts and crafts. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, March 10, 10:15 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Toddler Tunes at East Columbia Branch. Music, movement, and some stories too. Ages 1-2 with adult; 30 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at 10:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m.

Tuesday, March 10, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 2nd Tuesdays; 1 – 3 pm. No registration required.

Saturday, March 14, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister, at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Tickets available at 1:45 p.m.

Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. No registration required.


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eatingincolorFrances’ Rules for Eating in Color

1. Eat color often.
2. Don’t be monochrome.
3. Go beyond your comfort zone.
4. Make a date with your kitchen.
5. Move it.

The advice in this cookbook isn’t anything new: eat lots of colorful fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and herbs. Don’t be afraid of trying new foods. Learn to cook and flavor using spices and herbs instead of bottled preservative packed concoctions. And finally, get at least 30 minutes of exercise three times a week – at a minimum. It’s simple, reasonable, and achievable.

Frances does a great job setting you up for success with these easy to recreate recipes categorized by color. Below, you will find the categories and their respective foods along with my favorite recipes from the book.

[REDS]
| strawberries | pomegranates | watermelon | radicchio | beets | tomatoes | radishes | rhubarb | cranberries | apples | cherries | raspberries |

Roasted grape tomatoes p. 31
This couldn’t be any simpler. Take a pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, cut them in half, and toss in a light dressing made with fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Pop them in a 400°F preheated oven on a cookie sheet (covered in foil or parchment paper) and roast for at least 20 minutes, or until the tomatoes are wrinkled and bit collapsed. Take them out to rest and serve. I recently used this recipe in a pasta salad I brought to work. I took these roasted tomatoes and tossed them with cooked whole grain pasta, fresh torn basil, and fresh le petite mozzarella balls. You could also use a little bit of white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil to dress the whole dish with, but I’ll leave that up to you.

[ORANGES]
| mangoes | oranges | apricots | cantaloupe | butternut squash | sweet potatoes | peaches | pumpkins|

Giardiniera p.73
Pickled vegetables are divine! Many cultures across the globe enjoy pickled and fermented vegetables while simultaneously touting their usefulness in aiding with digestion and the like. This recipe asks that you boil vegetables in a large stockpot filled with a brine solution made up of vinegar, agave nectar, one bay leaf, celery seeds, and fennel seeds. After a few minutes at a rolling boil, take your pot off the heat and allow the vegetables and brine to cool together. Simply strain the mixture, removing the seeds and bay leaf, collecting the liquid in a separate container. Then, put the vegetables into sterilized mason jars, covering them to the brim with your cooled brine. These pickled veggies will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

[YELLOWS]
| star fruit | figs | lemons | bell peppers |

Golden Beets with Parsely Pesto & Fregola p. 91
I am really looking forward to making this particular recipe for a couple reasons: #1 Golden Beets sound amazing, and #2 I’m excited to try fregola. I love Israeli couscous and fregola promises to be a robust cousin in flavor and shape. Apparently, the downside to the preparation of this dish, is time. Golden beets “take an annoyingly long time to roast, but the results are worthwhile.” I will have to report back to you on how this one goes.

[GREENS]
| asparagus | mustard greens | fennel | kale | watercress | brussels sprouts | broccoli | avocados | spinach | herbs | sugar snap peas | zucchini | edamame | cucumbers | arugula | lime |

Avocado smoothie p. 104
There’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant off Rolling Road in Catonsville, MD where I get my absolute favorite sweet treat- the avocado smoothie with large, black boba (tapioca) pearls. The thing is, that avocado smoothie is about a gazillion calories and packed with a ton of extra sugar. Frances’ recipe, however, is only 155 calories and still satisfies my sweet tooth. The smoothie has ripe avocado, banana, low-fat vanilla yogurt, coconut water, agave nectar, ice cubes, and cinnamon. I’m personally on the fence with cinnamon, so I left it out and it still tasted great. If you love cinnamon, go on with your bad self and drop a 1/4 teaspoon in there and sprinkle more on top. Once all the ingredients are blended together and you take your first sip, you will wonder why you haven’t had an avocado smoothie before. Also, you can make this recipe vegan by substituting the yogurt with cultured nut milks.

[BLUES, INDIGOS, VIOLETS]
| blueberries | eggplant | blue potatoes (potatoes) | red onions (onions) | red cabbage (cabbage) | plums | grapes |

So, I love baked potatoes and the Twice Baked Blues (p. 160) are no exception. The only difference? A little healthier and a lot more color. Easiest way to explain this one is imagine any twice baked potato recipe and in lieu of the fattening stuff like sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon you substitute with plain greek yogurt, goganzola or feta, and scallions respectively. At 105 calories for 2 halves, you can’t beat that. The other recipe I’m dying to try for myself is the Caramelized Red Onion & Fig Pizza (p. 173). I’ve never made whole wheat pizza dough and I’ve never had figs on pizza. It sounds interesting and I’ll have to get back to you on this one. I will say, you need to see the picture of this beautiful pie. It’s gorgeous. Can a pizza be gorgeous? Yes.

[BLACKS & TANS]
| oats | chia | hemp | barley | black rice | black beans | mushrooms | freekeh | flaxseed | olives | quinoa | sesame | coconut | chocolate |

Nutty Chocolate bark p. 209
Back to my sweet tooth with this one. I’ve made plenty of various chocolate barks in my culinary lifetime, but never believing it was a healthy endeavor. And precisely, this is a treat. A real treat. Not something you’d eat everyday, lest you ruin the rest of your colorful diet. This bark is comprised of Scharffen Berger semisweet baking chocolate, pistachios, hazelnuts, chopped dried cherries, flaked unsweetened coconut, and sea salt. OK. It’s not “healthy.” But it’s so delicious! The recipe makes 12 servings with 9.5 ounces of chocolate. So, your piece will definitely be small… as it should be, since it’s a treat and all.

I thoroughly enjoyed Eating in Color and hope you will too!

JP is the HCLS Editor & Blog Coordinator for Well & Wise. She is also a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. She is a storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, cancer survivor, and liver transplant recipient.

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get upEver since Business Innovator/Corporate Director/Author (that’s a lot of slashes) Nilofer Merchant declared “sitting has become the smoking of our generation” in a TED talk, there’s been even more focus drawn to the inactivity that has become an accepted part of practically every adult working person’s daily life. This is not a new concern; there are plenty of known risk factors attached to a sedentary lifestyle including increased risk for heart disease and high blood pressure, obesity, and depression. More and more we’re discovering that being inactive is bad enough, but sitting is particularly pernicious. Check out this helpful info from The Washington Post on the dangers of sitting, especially with poor posture (something I need to work on). For more info on the dangers of sitting, you may also want to check out Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What you Can Do About It by James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D. and JustStand.org.

At the library, I do sit a lot, but, thankfully, moving around (shelving, shelf-reading, helping customers find what they’re looking for, etc.) is also a regular part of my job. My hubby, computer geek extraordinaire, gets less of a break from sitting during his day. And recently, he has developed some back problems. So he decided to do something about it, he decided to take a stand, if you will.

For the last month, he has been using a stand-up desk at work and home. Standing may not seem like an exercise per se, but it is one of the easiest ways to combat “sitting disease” (what some people are now calling the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle). Additionally, JustStand.org indicates that standing does help improve posture; increase energy, blood flow, and metabolism; and it even helps tone muscles and burn calories.

And my hubby didn’t break the bank on an expensive stand-up desk. He borrowed a DIY method from this handy posting. So far my husband’s verdict on his stand-up experiment: “I can’t go back to sitting all day. The desk has really helped.”

  • The DIY stand-up desks under construction.
  • Side view of stand-up desk.
  • The desk in use (view not included).

image006As I mentioned, I do get opportunities to move throughout the day, but I know I could benefit from a little more standing and moving. Of course I can’t set up a stand-up desk in my office area (I share my desk with another), nor can I set up one at the Research Desk (that would just be plain weird). But I think I’m going to check out some of our DVDs on exercises you can do while sitting and maybe learn a little more about Physiology and Fitness.

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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calendar_2015_blogToday, Friday, Feb. 27, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Maryland Legal Aid. Howard County Library System partners with Maryland Legal Aid to provide free civil legal services to financially qualified Marylanders. 1st Wednesdays, 2nd & 4th Fridays; 10 am -1 pm. For initial interview and appointment, please call 410.480.1057.

Monday, March 2, 10:15 a.m. Just for Me at Savage Branch. A class for children who are ready for an independent classroom experience that includes creative expression, listening comprehension, and early reading skills. Ages 3-5; 30 min. No registration required. Also offered at Miller Branch at 2:00 p.m. Ticket required. Tickets are available at 1:45 p.m.


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February is Valentines and American Heart month. It’s all about the heart, and these picture books are just the ticket to keep you heart-healthy and heart warmed.

henrys heartThis humorous fiction/nonfiction blend introduces us to Henry’s heart. Using speech-bubbles, text boxes,and charts (ala Scaredy Squirrel) we learn how this important muscle pumps oxygen and blood around his body. When Henry’s mother says Henry Malcolm Webber go play outside in the fresh air, we learn the importance of keeping the heart healthy through exercise. A tip from Henry – “If your mom uses your whole, entire name in a sentence, then you should listen to her and do what shes says, or you might get in big trouble”. Henry and his Dad go for a walk and suddenly his heart starts beating faster and faster. He sees the love of his young life, a puppy. “Broken-hearted” when his father says no to adopting it, Henry slides into a slump. No exercise, no appetite, no racing heart. Eyes and heart know something is wrong. Mom takes him to the doctor, who has a chat with the boy. A prescription is given, but Henry notices that Mom drives right past the pharmacy. Instead, his dad arrives with a puppy. And at bedtime, two hearts beat as one.

A 2013-2014 Black Eyed Susan Picture book nominee, this clever picture book is just the ticket for explaining how the mind and body work together for heart-healthy living and loving.

hug machineWhoa! Here I come! I am the Hug Machine!” cries this book’s ebullient young narrator as he dramatically crests a hill on the first spread. No shrinking violet, the boy explains in a series of spot illustrations why he is the “best at hugging” everyone and everything. Even hug requests from a spiky porcupine and a ginormous whale don’t faze the resourceful tyke. After refueling with pizza (his preferred food) to “keep the hugging energy high,” the Hug Machine traverses the neighborhood spreading his special brand of magic. Campbell’s watercolors exude warmth, emotion, and humor, from the expressions of several surprised recipients of the Hug Machine’s hugs to his own serenely closed eyes during each hug, which make it clear that he’s giving each hug his all. After a day full of hugging, the Hug Machine discovers it’s just as nice to be hugged as it is to give hugs. It’s a non-sappy, warm-hearted ending to a book that feels just like a big ol’ hug.

One of the pleasures of being a Children’s Instructor here at HCLS are spontaneous hugs from exuberant participants in a children’s class. Make a point of hugging your friends and family. It’s good for your heart and there is some evidence it keeps you healthy also!

giraffes cant dance“All the jungle’s got the beat, but Gerald the giraffe has four left feet.” Giles Andreae’s bouncy read-aloud is an ode to self-expression and having heart. When he is laughed off the floor the annual dance, Gerald sadly walks his lonely path home. A wise cricket admonishes him to listen to the music in nature, and dance to his own special beat. Gerald begins to dance, and soon everyone applauds his new found talent. When asked how it did it, he replied “We all can dance,” he said,”when we find music that we love.” Guy Parker-Rees’ brilliant full page watercolor spreads and comic illustrations invite the reader to this feast of self-expression.

One of my go-to children’s class books, this heartwarming tale encourages us all to “dance like there’s nobody watching. You’ve got to come from the heart if you want it to work.” Hug someone.

Shirley ONeill works for Howard County Library System as the Children’s and Teen Materials Specialist. She cannot believe she actually gets paid to do this job.

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COLD!!!

6256627661_6566688ff5_zI’m sure you’re glad that this winter hasn’t been as cold and snowy as last winter. This season has had its moments and there are certainly many more weeks until the first day of Spring – and I am discounting whatever Punxsutawney Phil says right now! So, my question for you is: How are your fingertips, knuckles, elbows, knees, toes, and all of that dry skin that this cold, damp and dry weather affects? When you look through your magazines, you certainly see all the ads for gentle face-cleaning and dry-skin products and soaps. It’s overwhelming to see so many kinds at so many different prices.

Do yourself (and the skin you’re in) a big favor by investigating all the possibilities that are out there, because just for a few more months of this cold raw weather you really might benefit from using a product targeted for your specific skin condition. You can do research online, or visit a dermatologist for suggestions too. The best lotion may not be the most expensive either. I have a friend who slathers Vaseline on her chapped skin, but oh it’s so oily! I try to remember (but often forget) to pull on rubber gloves when I’m washing up in the kitchen or involved in other cleaning where using harsh drying cleansers are not helpful to the skin on my hands. I also try to remember to drink more water to help alleviate dry skin. I also pay attention to my weather app because I’m a devoted daily dog walker. My pooch (3 year old golden retriever) and I like to get outside for two or three daily walks around the neighborhood or even around town. There are so many great walking paths around this area.

in the kingdom of iceSometimes, well, because there isn’t much birdsong right now, I cruise with my earbuds. Recently, the audiobook I was listening to actually made me colder – I’m not sure it didn’t literally lower the temps and increase the winds just around me! My fingertips cracked badly and my skin got super-chapped! All because I was listening to In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides. It was a terrific cold story, following an expedition to the North Pole to see if there (actually) was a warm vent at the top of the world (which was in 1880 the prevailing thought). Things did not go as planned and the poor ship was held fast in the ice. What the crew had to endure in order to survive and try to get back to civilization from where they were trapped in the frozen Arctic circle was truly amazing. Can you imagine the freezing days for them? It certainly made me shiver and I felt cold and hungry the entire time I listened to the book. Please don’t be put off by that – it’s a wonderful tale of the times – but you may want to wait until August to check it out, if you’re feeling too cold right now! And you don’t have to be like the crew on this expedition, you can take measures to help you and your skin weather the cold weeks ahead. Just remember to drink more water, cream up your skin and protect your hands.

Susan Cooke has worked in Howard County Library System for 20 years. She loves golden retrievers, fresh veggies, and (of course) reading good books. She is proud to have her daughter, Sarah Cooke, working for HCLS alongside her!

 


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calendar_2015_blogSaturday, Feb. 21, 3:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Miller Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it’s happening, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Monday, Feb. 23, 2:00 p.m. Howard County Book Connection: Tribes at Howard Community College, Smith Theatre (443.518.1420). Howard County Book Connection presents a panel discussion of Nina Raine’s Tribes, the 2014-15 book selection and award-winning play about belonging, family, deafness, and the limits of language. In partnership with Howard County Poetry and Literature Society; Rep Stage; and Howard Community College’s Office of Student Life, Theater Department, Arts Collective, and Horowitz Center.


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growing up emptyI recently watched a great documentary film, Living on One Dollar, which featured four university students who decided to spend a summer in rural Guatemala, and attempt to survive on $1 a day. The young men planned to stay a total of 56 days, so each brought $56 US dollars for a grand total of $224 US Dollars. In order to simulate the inconsistent and unpredictable income of the local day laborers, the students broke down their sum total into increments of $0-$9, and would randomly draw a piece of paper each morning with their “income” for that particular day. There were days that the “family of four” would receive anywhere from $0 to a whopping $9. The young men learned a lot from their new neighbors regarding how to plant and maintain a plot of land, as well as how to seek out and obtain a loan to cover necessary expenses.

Prior to embarking on this excursion, the students did their research, especially the two who were the brains behind the project (international development majors’, Chris and Zach). The men set out in the summer of 2010, and gained invaluable knowledge about the struggle and hardships of the individuals and families living in the rural Guatemalan village that they would temporarily call home. During the course of their stay, they encountered struggles of their own, not only in their attempt to secure proper nutrition each day, but also in their attempt to overcome unforeseen financial expenses. The domino effect experienced by so many living in rural villages like the one the men visited looks something very similar to this: limited opportunities leads to limited education leads to limited income leads to limited resources, which leads to limited/insufficient food options, which then leads to poor health/energy. Without a stable income, individuals and their families are unable to purchase food or maintain the gardens that will provide them with their daily recommended caloric intake values. Lack of a proper caloric diet, replete of all necessary vitamins and minerals, results in increased susceptibility to illness, diminished weight, diminished height, and diminished energy levels. Each of the young men experienced significant weight loss, as well as diminished energy levels during their stay. They also witnessed first-hand how the link between limited income and poor nutrition affects the individuals of the village, especially the children.

a place at the tableThe importance of good nutrition and adequate caloric intake is particularly important for growing children, but essentially, it’s of great importance to people of all ages. In order for the body and mind to function at an optimal level, one must consume a nutritious diet that provides adequate calories. In addition to low energy levels and an inhibited immune system, persistent lack of necessary vitamins and minerals may result in various nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, which may put one at risk of developing more serious health problems. In the United States, good health and nutrition are pillars of education taught with much emphasis from an early age. However, we can’t ignore the fact that health and nutrition are strongly influenced by income and economic status.

Just as the poor rural families in Guatemala are limited to a few staple sources of nutrition, so are the poorest families in the United States, and the rest of the world. Food assistance programs available here in the US, include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Americans who are struggling simply to put food on the table, may benefit from such programs to enhance the quality of their diets. In Guatemala, a country with the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean-international organizations, rely on programs such as UNICEF and USAID.

I recommend that you check out the documentary, Living on One Dollar. It’s a great film!

When Jinelee De Souza isn’t channeling her inner super-heroine at Howard County Library System as an Instructor & Research Specialist, she’s doing so at the gym, during impromptu photoshoots with her bff, and everywhere in between.

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love yourselfCongratulations! We survived the first full month of winter. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the cold, but I still wouldn’t mind one big snowfall this year! Luckily, February is the shortest month and spring is coming soon. In February, we celebrate our presidents and the people we love. This February let’s also celebrate loving ourselves.

Why is it so difficult for us to love and accept ourselves? I wish I had the answer, but we can start by being grateful for the things we do have. I have a colleague who writes down something or someone she is grateful for each day. A gratitude list might be something that we can all start doing. Even if we don’t write it down, starting each day by reminding ourselves of something we are grateful for may go a long way to helping us get through the day.

We can do ourselves a favor and turn technology off at some point during the day. According to the Kleiner Perkins Caufied & Byers annual internet trends report, 84% of mobile owners use devices while watching television. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, stated last year that American Facebook users spend an average of 40 minutes per day on his site. Now, it doesn’t sound too hard to cut back, does it? A simple change may be all that is needed. Review your emails only at certain times during the day or set a time limit when you are using social media.

What can you do with the extra time you have saved in your day? Do something for yourself. Get in touch with an old friend. Find an exercise or a healthy food that you actually like. Check out the resources and classes and events at Howard County General Hospital. Explore opportunities to continue learning. The library has a collection of The Great Courses on a variety of topics and there are no prerequisites, homework, or exams! You can also learn a language using the library’s online language learning system Mango Languages. (The hardest part will be choosing a language.) Make plans to travel somewhere you’ve never been! If you can’t travel, borrow one of the many travel DVDs available at the library.

The opportunities for you to do something for yourself are limitless. Focus on what’s important to you and don’t forget to have fun!

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 18/19, 6-9 p.m. or Friday, Feb. 20 and Tuesday, Feb. 24, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Living with Diabetes If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes—or even if you have been living with diabetes for some time and want to improve your health—this course will teach you how to change your habits and gives practical, attainable solutions for staying healthy. This interactive, group course is taught by an endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, psychologist, podiatrist and exercise specialist. Held in The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at Howard County General Hospital. Choose either the day program or condensed evening program. Most insurance plans cover all or part. For more information or to register, please call 443-718-3000.

Monday, Feb. 16, Howard County Library System is closed in observance of Presidents’ Day.

Saturday, Feb. 21, 3:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Miller Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it’s happening, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

 


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5149339976_9109e8fd23_bHerd immunity. In the abundant coverage of the measles outbreak, we read about herd immunity. What is it and why is it critical to understanding the public health requirements for vaccinations? When considering immunization recommendations of professional organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Physicians (ACP), there are many factors taken into account. In deciding which immunizations are needed for ourselves and our family members, we weigh expert advice, personal health history, family medical history, regional infectious disease risk factors, age, immune status, and public health considerations.

Herd immunity, or community immunity, refers to outbreak containment despite lack of 100% immunization rates. Herd immunity exists when a sufficient percentage of the population is immune to an infectious disease to prevent spread of the illness. Why wouldn’t everyone be immunized if all the professional medical organizations recommend otherwise? How can the vaccinated person essentially protect the unvaccinated person?

Infants have passive immunity from antibodies in their system passed along from their mothers. For this reason, infants start their immunizations at the age of 2 months. Because all immunizations cannot be given at once, infants are not fully protected from dangerous infections such as mumps, measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox, and hepatitis. Infants rely on herd immunity to reduce their risk of contracting or dying from illnesses that can be prevented by modern vaccinations.

Immunocompromised patients rely on herd immunity as well. Vaccines prevent disease by activating the formation of antibodies in the vaccinated person’s body. If that individual comes into contact with the particular bacteria, the antibodies generated in the body by exposure to the vaccine fight off the infection. Immunocompromised patients cannot generate these antibodies and may become ill from certain vaccines. Patients with HIV and congenital immunodeficiencies, those who have received organ transplants, and patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment are often not medical candidates for vaccines. If the population as a whole has been immunized, then the infections are not active in the community and even those people who have not been vaccinated are protected.

The number of people who cannot be vaccinated due to age, health status, and medical condition is relatively small compared to the population at large. When otherwise healthy people with no contraindication to vaccination do not get the recommended vaccines, however, contagious diseases can spread, uncontrolled, causing illness and death that would have otherwise been prevented.

Additional reliable medical information about vaccines can be found on websites such as vaccines.gov and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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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salt sugar fatMichael Moss’ book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (2013) provides an inside look at something most people prefer to ignore: what’s in the convenient processed foods that make our lives easier. It’s easy to agree that we should eat less sugar, salt, or fat, but when it comes to actually doing it, few things are more difficult. I still cook in oil or butter, purchase full-fat food products, and I certainly give in to my enormous sweet tooth. But the big culprit isn’t baking cookies with too much butter or sprinkling salt on vegetables – it’s processed convenience foods that literally addict the people who eat them to copious amounts of salt, sugar, or fat.

I did an experiment earlier this year where I actually paid attention to food labels when I purchased food from the grocery store. (I live in blissful ignorance, guys!) I was shocked by the level of sugar in foods where I would never have expected to find it – fruit products for instance. I also found that nearly everything labeled “low-fat” was much higher in carbohydrates and sugar than their full-fat counterparts.

Just in the introduction to his book, Moss explains how it isn’t just consumers who have become addicted to these three ingredients, it’s the corporations, too, through their desire to achieve the best taste possible at the lowest price. He explains, “Sugar not only sweetens, it replaces more costly ingredients — like tomatoes in ketchup — to add bulk and texture. For little added expense, a variety of fats can be slipped into food formulas to stimulate overeating and improve mouthfeel. And salt, barely more expensive than water, has miraculous powers to boost the appeal of processed food.” (xxix) With that kind of lead, Moss ensures there’s only one conclusion for readers to reach: food corporations have used chemistry and biology to teach us to eat this way in pursuit of profit, and they must be held accountable for that.

One of the most telling observations Moss makes is that many executives from the corporations he investigated for the book “go out of their way to avoid their own products.” (p. 341) Despite attempts at government regulation and reductions in salt, sugar, or fat load in foods, the best option for everyday people is still boring old personal responsibility. “Only we can save us,” as Moss puts it, “we decide what to buy… [and] we decide what to eat.” (pp. 343-347)

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, for a decade.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, Feb. 9, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch.  Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Mondays. No registration required.

Monday, Feb. 9, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch.  Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Tuesdays. No registration required.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 7:00 p.m. Emotional Intelligence in Sports at Miller Branch. How can we manage and master the powerful emotions that accompany competitive sports while keeping the game civil? Presented by Terry McAulay, top tier football official in the National Football League and Coordinator of Football Officials for the American Athletic Conference. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Saturday, Feb. 21, 3:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Miller Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it’s happening, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

 


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joyous healthThe most success I’ve had to date in the realm of eating healthy (and as a side-effect, losing weight and keeping it off) is the simple notion that food is medicine and fuel for my body. (Not to be mistaken for those diabetes-heart-attack buffet binges). Paying attention to what you eat, why you’re eating it, and what the consequences are to eating are essential questions to ask yourself no matter your waist size.

So, I’m always on the lookout for books that don’t push “dieting,” but instead use common sense approaches to food and nutrition. Believe me, depravation and eating cardboard like substances is no way to live. In the same vein, there must also be a reasonable, attainable alternative that is – in fact – healthy.

Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting by holistic nutritionist, Joy McCarthy promises a celebratory approach to eating clean, delicious foods that don’t have extra sugars or dairy. This book provides over 150 recipes that could help your digestion, help you sleep better, lower your blood pressure, increase your libido, and (potentially) have you “feeling fabulous everyday.” I like the sound of that!

The book is plastered with beautiful, crisp images of McCarthy’s healthy creations. The recipes are easy to read and the instructions are just as easy to follow. The introduction is filled with lots of great wellness tips and sound advice to getting your body ready to eat nutritious foods. McCarthy even includes color coded dietary needs categories (e.g. vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free) to help take the guess-work out of who and how you might really benefit from these recipes.

My favorite recipes in here are not the kale chips( only because my friend makes the best kale chips ever). Though, this book provides at least three versions for you to enjoy. I do, however, absolutely love the “Farmer’s Market Bruschetta” (p. 205) which falls into the categories of detox, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and raw. Not to mention, “super easy” and “ridiculously delicious” in my book!

9698220861_c8757419fe_zI also really like her version of the ever popular avocado toast that’s trending right now: “Avocado Kale Tartine” (p. 152). It’s vegetarian and packed with my favorite things: avocado, eggs, kale, bread, cucumbers, and radishes. C’mon, tell me that that doesn’t sound like a fantastic breakfast! The recipes are so easy to adapt. In fact, for the tartine mentioned above, you could substitute any crunchy vegetable you have on hand for the radishes and cucumbers. There’s also a “Joyous Tip” on this page explaining the misconception of egg yolks.

Again, I loved this book and the recipes were incredibly easy to navigate. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who’s afraid to cook and/or to the person who wants to eat their way to a healthier relationship with food.

JP is the HCLS Editor & Blog Coordinator for Well & Wise. She is also a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. She is a storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, cancer survivor, and liver transplant recipient.

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weeliciousA few years ago one of my personal favorite regular Well & Wise contributors, the wonderful Farmers’ Market Chef, did a post on the seemingly impossible task of what to pack in school lunches. I thought this was very brave of her and found the books she suggested to be very useful (even though thinking of things to pack still feels like one of my most exhausting chores–and we’re only halfway through the current school year!). So, when I recently, noticed a book in the new nonfiction collection, I thought I’d check it out and see if it was worth adding to the FMC’s other great suggestions. I’m happy to report it is!

Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunch Box with More Than 160 Happier Meals by Catherine McCord is an absolute gem. First of all, it is a very visually appealing book (which makes sense considering that one of the early sections focuses on “Engaging All the Senses”). McCord discusses how parents have to think beyond just packing healthful options to what their kids will do when they’re in the cafeteria without Mom or Dad around. Parents not only have to battle with what school cafeterias are sometimes serving (she mentions the infamous pizza sauce as a vegetable Congress decision), but also what other kids are bringing to school (she aptly names it “lunch box envy”), as well we the many distractions kids face at lunchtime. She explains: “If you want raise great eaters you have to appeal to all your child’s senses. Sometimes half the battle of making sure your kids eat at school is ensuring that what’s inside their lunch box is as stimulating as everything you can be sure is going on come lunchtime outside of it.”

Secondly, the book takes into consideration all kinds of eaters and situations. For example, “Principles of the Perfect Lunch” addresses the need for balance in a child’s diet and, consequently, the lunch box. McCord offers up some useful options to fill your child’s fruit, vegetable, protein, and carbohydrate needs. She also provides specialized lists of the recipes in the book to offer up good lunch box combos, theme lunches, and ideas for those with food sensitivities and allergies. Speaking of which, she also provides a very handy “Weelicious Lunches Allergy Guide” to help you skirt gluten, nuts, eggs, and dairy as needed. There are also suggestions for incorporating dinner leftovers into lunches, a discussion of whether to pack hot or cold foods and what to pack them in, and (my personal favorite favorite) “Strategies for ‘Picky’ Eaters.”

weelicious aFinally, the book has recipes, lots of lovely recipes. She divides them up nicely into the following categories: Salad, Soups, Sandwiches, Pizza (yep, 10 variations on the theme of pizza),  PB&J (if you were impressed by 10 variations on pizza, try 11 takes on pb&j, including one promisingly called “The World’s Greatest PB&J”), Main Events, Veggies, Dips and Spreads, Snacks, and Desserts. Again, there are many beautiful pictures, and a lot of the recipes make me hungry just looking at them (of course this may be a testament to my immaturity).

Many of the recipes in this book translate to meals beyond the lunch box. There are also many great recipes and tips on the Weelicious website. But next I think I’m going to check out McCord’s older book Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh, and Easy Recipes. It also provides recipes; recommendations to turn your kids into good, healthy eaters; and, most appealingly, ways to turn dinner into a “one family, one meal” occasion.  That sounds like absolute bliss to me!

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, Feb. 2, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. No registration required.

Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch.  Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. Conflict Resolution Techniques on the Sidelines at Miller Branch. Learn diplomatic and effective methods to handle conflicts at sporting events and everyday situations. Discover basic techniques to identify the conflict and how to use non-defensive language to diffuse the situation. Presented by Cecilia B. Paizs, Esq., of The Mediation Center in Ellicott City. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesdays, The Mall Milers Walk-for-health program at The Mall in Columbia. Blood pressure screenings on the second Tuesday of the month. 410-730-3300. Free.

Monday, Feb. 9, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch.  Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Mondays. No registration required.

Monday, Feb. 9, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch.  Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Tuesdays. No registration required.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 7:00 p.m. Emotional Intelligence in Sports at Miller Branch. How can we manage and master the powerful emotions that accompany competitive sports while keeping the game civil? Presented by Terry McAulay, top tier football official in the National Football League and Coordinator of Football Officials for the American Athletic Conference. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

 


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after tobaccoIt is the time of year when many of us make resolutions to better ourselves. I always have a hard time making a New Year’s resolution because within a short time I have failed, and then, I need to think of yet another resolution! Eventually, I reach the point where it becomes ridiculous because I have made and broken so many resolutions that I run out of ideas!

It’s difficult to tackle resolutions at any time of year, even when there are sound reasons to do so. Change can be difficult. Start by educating yourself about the risks and benefits of making these changes. You also have to be careful that you do not replace one bad habit with another one. For example, the dangers of smoking are well documented, but the risks associated with e-cigarettes are still unknown. Yet some people who are trying to quit smoking are turning to e-cigarettes. There are also a number of people that have never smoked that are now “vaping” (using an e-cigarette). E-cigarettes or electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that often look like regular tobacco cigarettes. The way they commonly work is that an atomizer or heating element heats a liquid often containing nicotine and various flavorings. Flavoring options include tobacco and menthol flavor, and flavorings that might appeal to younger users like bubblegum, cherry and apple. The heated liquid converts into a vapor or mist that the user inhales. The vapor cloud resembles smoke, but does not have an odor, so it is harder to know later if someone has been vaping.

Recent studies suggest that e-cigarettes do not help people reduce or quit smoking. E-cigarettes do not contain carbon monoxide or tar, which are two of the harmful chemicals in traditional cigarettes, but the Federal Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes for recreational use, so what’s in them can vary. The FDA is currently looking into extending its authority to include alternatives to tobacco products, which would allow them to use regulatory rules to impose age restrictions and review claims made that e-cigarettes reduce tobacco-related disease and death.

tobacco smokingI applaud you if one of your resolutions this year is to quit smoking. I encourage you to educate yourself on the many resources available to help you. I recommend that you read the American Heart Association’s policy statement on the use of e-cigarettes. You may still find that e-cigarettes are a viable option for you or you can find a quit-method that may work for you here. If you live or work in the Howard County there are free Smoking Cessation & Tobacco Treatment Programs. Visit the library for resources on smoking and health-related issues.

This is a great time of year to reflect on major issues you would like to change in your life. You do not have to tackle everything at once. In fact, if you successfully tackle the little things it may give you confidence to tackle more major issues.

For me, I may try going to bed earlier one night a week, drinking a glass of water in the morning, taking a walk before lunch or dinner, exchanging a piece of fruit for candy as an afternoon pick me up, or using the stairs at work instead of the elevator to my resolution list. These small changes are more doable, and even I might just succeed this year in keeping a New Year’s resolution. Wish me luck! If some of you still need inspiration here are some resolutions that are popular each year with information on how to successfully achieve these resolutions.

Happy New Year!

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Tuesday, Jan. 27, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $35. Dietary Counseling with a registered dietitian one-on-one to discuss your dietary concerns and goals including weight loss, healthier bones, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol in Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center.

Thursday, Jan. 29, 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Healthy Kids at Miller. Explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class. Ticket Required.

Monday, Feb. 2, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. No registration required.

Monday, Feb. 2, 5:30-7 p.m. Free  Weight Loss through Bariatric Surgery presentation about surgical weight loss options available through the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery in Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center. Hear program requirements and how to navigate the insurance approval process. Call 410-550-KNOW.

Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch.  Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, Feb. 3, 7:00 p.m. Conflict Resolution Techniques on the Sidelines at Miller Branch. Learn diplomatic and effective methods to handle conflicts at sporting events and everyday situations. Discover basic techniques to identify the conflict and how to use non-defensive language to diffuse the situation. Presented by Cecilia B. Paizs, Esq., of The Mediation Center in Ellicott City. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Monday, Feb. 9, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch.  Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Mondays. No registration required.

Monday, Feb. 9, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.


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Ah, January. That magic time of year when you resolve to lose weight, eat healthy, and get more exercise. I think April would be a much better time to make those kinds of resolutions. But even in these short, cold days there are always opportunities to get up and get moving. Childrens’ classes at Howard County Library System are great places to shake your sillies out. Join us and find some great picture books to help the whole family get their groove on.

kitchen dance“Scrape! Splash! Clunk! Clang! … I hear kitchen sounds,” says the curly-headed narrator as she and her little brother wake up to the sounds of their parents’ kitchen dance. Creeping downstairs, they see mother and father as “side by side with stacked plates they glide,” turning the routine of washing-up into a tango. When Mama spots the two children, she and Papa sweep them up into an affectionate foursome, all singing, “Como te quiero!” Maurie J. Manning depicts this Afro-Latino family with bright colors providing movement and warmth as Papa and Mama strut their stuff. Their joyful inclusion of the kids makes this book read like one long hug—as the narrator says, after being tucked back into bed with a couple extra besitos, “Umm, hmm.”.

Take the opportunity to bust out your favorite moves with your littles and create a family moment.

you are a lionThe popularity of yoga has even babies practicing asanas, and this picture book is a fun way to get toddlers started. Paired spreads introduce a pose in simple non-rhyming verse, accompanied by an image of a child on a small circle of grass in the middle of white pages; the spread that follows reveals the pose in a nature setting along with the creature the pose imitates. The instructions for the poses are extremely basic and the illustrations encourage participation. The sweet, colorful illustrations include an ethnically diverse group of children demonstrating such poses as a lion, a cobra, and downward-facing dog. The soft hues and natural settings convey the spirit of a yoga class. The text reads almost like haiku. There is no discussion of yoga and the activities could be used to corral the energy of a rowdy group or an individual child.

Yoga is one of the few forms of exercise I practice consistently. It can be as vigorous or as gentle as the season and mood demand. HCLS has a great collection of books and DVDs to start a home practice.

i got rhythmRhythm is everywhere in this celebratory jaunt through an urban neighborhood, from the drummer in the park to playground games to the subtle beat of butterfly wings. The straightforward narrative captures the engaging ways the narrator finds her own rhythm exploring the world around her. Schofield-Morrison’s text pulses with a beat of its own and practically demands audiences to clap along. Each double-page spread offers interactive elements presenting each way the narrator catches the rhythm (hands, knees, feet, and more) to the fun readers can have joining in and keeping the rhythm with their own bodies. Morrison’s oil-on-canvas illustrations complement the story with expansive spreads crackling with movement, the saturated color palette helps the action jump off the page. The urban setting and varied cast depict diversity as an integral part of everyday life.

From board books like Sandra Boynton’s Philadelphia Chickens (cow chorus lines!) to Steve Jenkins’ Move! (a fascinating pictorial study of animal movement)- picture books will help everyone “Get Active.”

Shirley ONeill works for Howard County Library System as the Children’s and Teen Materials Specialist. She cannot believe she actually gets paid to do this job.

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diet soda canRecent studies have shown that intake of artificial sweeteners may contribute to glucose intolerance. Those of us who enjoy diet drinks and cut calories by selecting foods with sugar substitutes may decide that the trade-off is not the healthy choice. We may want to think twice before satisfying cravings for Diet Coke and go for an unsweetened iced tea instead.

Glucose intolerance is a serious health risk because it can lead to diabetes as well as metabolic syndrome. Diabetes is characterized by the body’s inability to produce insulin to process sugar intake. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that is needed by the body to regulate glucose levels. Metabolic syndrome is a set of biochemical changes that increases one’s risk for heart disease and diabetes. The physiologic changes in metabolic syndrome include glucose intolerance, abnormal lipid levels, insulin resistance and obesity.

The human intestines are filled with microscopic living organisms, the so-called “gut flora.” A normal intestinal environment is home to these organisms, most of which are bacteria. A study published in the 9/18/2014 issue of Nature described findings that intake of artificial sweeteners changes the composition and function of this flora. The researchers fed mice three of the most commonly-used sugar alternatives: aspartame (Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N Low) and sucralose (Splenda). The mice drinking the artificially-sweetened water had altered intestinal bacteria and marked glucose intolerance. Antibiotics administered to kill this bacteria resulted in resolution of the glucose intolerance.

Additional research was carried out on a limited number of human subjects. Nondiabetic subjects who reported artificial sweetener use were more likely to develop glucose intolerance over time than were those who stated they did not use artificial sweeteners. These participants also were more likely to show changes in gut flora. The researchers gave seven human subjects high levels of saccharin over six days, and four of thee subjects then had abnormal sugar levels. The scientists theorize that the altered combination of bacteria causes a change in glucose metabolism, blocking the sugar levels from declining as quickly as they should.

Although the study’s authors point out that the percentages supporting their findings are statistically significant, they note that more studies are needed. Over the past several years, evidence has accumulated that intake of artificial sweeteners increases sugar cravings. Some studies have even shown that those who use artificial sweeteners are more likely to be overweight. Now with the possibility that these additives can have serious health effects such as diabetes, the support for decreased ingestion of artificial sweeteners grows. The research findings indicate that it might be time to cut back on total intake, perhaps drinking one fewer can of diet soda per day and selecting a snack of nuts or blueberries rather than sugar-free cookies. Limited consumption of products with artificial sweeteners could be important to limiting the associated health risks. Similar to other medical recommendations regarding nutrition and fitness, the guidance at this point is moderation.

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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Saturday, Jan. 17, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required.In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Saturday, Jan. 17, 3:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Savage Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it’s happening, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.0760.

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 5:30-7 p.m. Free  Weight Loss through Bariatric Surgery presentation about surgical weight loss options available through the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery in Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center. Hear program requirements and how to navigate the insurance approval process. Call 410-550-KNOW.

Thursday, Jan. 22, 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Healthy Kids at Miller Branch.  Explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class. Ticket Required.

Thursday, Jan. 29, 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Healthy Kids at Miller. Explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class. Ticket Required.

 


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destructive relationshipsI have bonded with many people throughout my life; building a lot of different relationships of varying degrees, some lasting longer than others. I have friends that I have known since elementary school that I still make a point of seeing, even if it’s not as often as we’d all like. The great thing about it is that we always fall right back into rhythm and savor that comforting familiarity. I also have close friends that I get to see more often and enjoy spending the majority of my free time with them because they bring me a tremendous amount of joy. However, this doesn’t mean that everyone I have met so far has been a “keeper.”

As we all start a new year, it’s important to set goals for ourselves, try something new, change a bad habit, or create any other sort of resolution that we need in our lives. This year, I decided to skip the fad diet that I won’t stick to. Instead, I want to continue to explore what defines my own happiness so I can make the necessary changes. A big part of this has to deal with eliminating the people in my life that are bringing me down.

It’s important to evaluate all of your relationships and ask yourself how each one affects you and your happiness. It’s never easy to cut people out of your life, but in many cases it may be for the better. Maybe someone is holding you back or isn’t willing to make the necessary changes in their own life to grow and mature. You must respect yourself enough to say “no” to those toxic people who are demanding of your time and energy.

ten minutes ten months ten yearsIt’s not easy to admit, but I’ve allowed toxic people to be an important part of my life for longer than they deserved. I gave them too many chances and then, gave them “one more” so they could prove to me that I wasn’t making a mistake in doing so. Sadly, it was a mistake. Those chances only left me confused. How could a person I cared about disregard all of my kindness and continue on with their selfish and inconsiderate pattern? Once I realized that the problem didn’t come from my end, I was able to accept that sometimes a person needs to reach a certain point in their life on their own. Sure, I could have kept being supportive, but to what end? What difference did it make if I wasn’t really getting through to the person? I didn’t want to be disappointed anymore. I realized that my own happiness was more important. I decided that instead of being ever-so-willing to do favors for others that I needed to do the biggest favor of all for myself: take care of me. Allowing myself to let go of someone that I loved and wishing them nothing but the best was tough, but necessary.

Digging deep and coming to the conclusion that I needed to follow through with a difficult decision didn’t make me any less of the genuine person I have worked toward being. It didn’t make me stop being kind to others or even discourage me from helping those who need it. Instead, I felt like I had gained a new level of respect for myself. This year, I hope you not only succeed in all of the goals that you have set for yourself, but also take the time to really look at who enhances your happiness and simply let go of those who aren’t on that list.

Laci Radford is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch and STEM Education Center. She is a music lover, writer, and an avid reader. She enjoys attending concerts, plays, and other forms of live entertainment. Her favorite activities include scoping out unique items at thrift stores, bonfires with friends, and having tie-dye parties. She is studying Psychology and plans to become a music and art therapist sooner rather than later.

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you know when the men are goneNow, more than ever, American readers owe it to themselves to gain a deeper understanding of the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and social toll that war – and its after-effect has on U.S. military families.

In, You Know When The Men Are Gone, Siobhan Fallon’s exquisitely linked short story collection, eight distinct experiences, become ours as well:

Meg Brady, of 12A, has become obsessed with her neighbor, Natalya Torres, whose self-serving behavior and Heidi Klum beauty belie terrible secrets—some of which Meg cannot help, nor resist overhearing on the other side of their thin, shared wall. Frantic Ellen Roddy forgoes an imperative visit to her oncologist when she learns that her troubled fifteen-year-old daughter may have kidnapped her own baby brother. And a woman wants to go back in time when she stumbles on an email that could alter her life forever.

Drama and deployment are illuminated in You Know When The Men Are Gone, by first-time author, and army major wife, Siobhan Fallon.
Set on army housing at Fort Hood, Texas, these stories have a dynamic relationship, as characters you meet in one move through the pages of another—surprising, even shocking readers.
And although Fallon is not gender exclusive, her focus is indeed the wives: their intricate kinships and ability to steel themselves for everything from homework to gossip to military readiness is, at times, heart-wrenching.

But best of all, Fallon writes with amazing grace, capturing the fragility and resilience of an American culture sworn to protect us in the event of war.

Aimee Zuccarini

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.

 


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calendar_2015_blogMonday, Jan. 12, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Mondays. No registration required.

Monday, Jan. 12, 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Tae Kwon Do: Tiny Tigers at Miller Branch. Sykesville Tae Kwon Do instructors focus on motor skills, listening, and taking turns. Wear athletic shoes and loose fitting pants or shorts. Well & Wise event. Ages 3-5 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form is required.
10:30 a.m. Registration & Signed Release Form
11:15 a.m. Registration & Signed Release Form

Monday, Jan. 12, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us as we use artistic expression to improve our moods. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 2nd Tuesdays. No registration required.

Thursday, Jan. 15, 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. Healthy Kids at Miller Branch. Explore simple health concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class. Ticket Required.

Saturday, Jan. 17, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required.In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Saturday, Jan. 17, 3:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Savage Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it’s happening, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Registration is required. Register online or by calling 410.313.0760.

 


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icecream-ipodHappy New Year, and welcome to 2015! Will the babies born this year be the start of a new generation, or will they fall into the growing cohort of “Generation Z”? What will define them? What qualities will they possess? How will the other generations view them? Should we even give a flying fig?

Believe it or not, it is that last question that interests me most of all. Yes, you read correctly; I am most concerned with whether or not we should “give a flying fig.” (Has she lost her mind? Is she recovering from too much New Year celebrating? Is she just desperately trying to fill blog-space?) Well, the last one may be a little true, but I assure you, for the most part, I am legitimately posing this question: Why are we so keen to label and define generations, and is there any validity or potential danger in doing so?

Don’t get me wrong; classifying certain periods of time, especially by some specific events that helped shape the way people lived during those times, is not without use. Even creating handy labels can make discussing a particular generation flow a little better. (Face it, it’s easier to say “The Lost Generation” than “people typically born between 1883 and 1900 who were disillusioned by the war.” Thank you, Gertrude Stein.)

It was The Lost Generation that seemed to really set the trend for naming generations in Western Civilization, particularly the U.S. After that, we have The Greatest Generation (born around 1901 through 1924); The Silent Generation, sometimes called Traditionalists, (1925 through 1942); the Baby Boomers (1943 up through the early 1960s); Generation X (early 1960s through early 1980s); Millennials (early 1980s through early 2000s); and Generation Z (which, at the moment seems to be anyone born in or after the late 1990s or early 2000s through the present. As with most generational labels, however, Z will be more clearly defined after some time has passed).

fast futureThese generational cohorts are interesting and the people born into them do seem to exhibit some shared characteristics (mainly defined by shared events that they’ve experienced, such as economic or political climate, or world events like war or technological advances). Books or studies that examine say, for instance, how many Millennials are comfortable with technology, having been born into it, and how this is affecting the world, like in Fast Future by David Burstein, seem useful, or at least interesting. Other media discussion of generations, some that even focuses on negatives, like the economic worries caused by the larger number of Baby Boomers retiring, as discussed in The Next America by Paul Taylor, also seem realistic, or at least measurable.

But is it fair or right or even healthy to make broad generalizations about someone born during a particular time period? Can we really assume that Millennials are entitled, that Gen Xers are cynical, that Boomers are workaholics, that Traditionalists are rigid rule followers? (On the flip side, we can’t assume that all Millennials value diversity, that all Gen Xers are self-reliant, that all Boomers are optimistic, or that all Traditionalist are loyal.)

the next americaI’m raising this issue now because 2014 seemed like the year of the “generation generalization” to me. I couldn’t go online without seeing something claiming that “Millennials are this” and “Baby Boomers are that.” I found all these claims upsetting for a number of reasons: 1. Many of the claims were less than flattering (Millennials are especially taking a hit, and that is a shame for any group, but especially for one just starting to make its way in the world); 2. I have friends and colleagues of all ages, and I don’t want them to be stereotyped or discriminated against because of age, nor do I want to be; 3. As someone born smack in the middle of the Gen X group, I remember the uncomfortable and stigmatizing feeling I had, particularly as a young adult, when I was “defined” as being shiftless and morbid and apathetic; and 4. Respectable thinkers, news organizations, employers, and many other surprising sources seem to be taking these generational descriptions a little too much to heart, to the point that it is causing some strife for young and old. (Plus, I believe it is irresponsible, lazy science. ←If you do nothing else, please click on this link; I love this article.)

Seriously, reading all these descriptions of how a certain generation is supposed to behave, what that generation values or not, and why that generation is often to blame for some world problems was really starting to upset me. Plus the consequences can be severe; generational biases can even lead to stereotype threat, which is kind of like self-fulfilling prophecies, but with the stereotype determining the action of the person or people being stereotyped. I kept wondering if my reaction to this was the result of too much social media exposure (that’s another topic for another time). So I began to look around and found, happily, that plenty of organizations, from the APA to the AMA, are acknowledging that these generation generalizations can be wrong, hurtful, and limiting. I’m sure that we can see the dangers of all the different kinds of stereotypes in the world and have long fought to dispel many of them.

My wish for everyone for 2015, myself included, is to begin to question all these generational generalizations as well. I think this should be the year that we try to banish any gross assumptions and start making our judgments one individual at a time, as we get to know each person.

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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