Saturday, October 31, 2009

Grandma Alert: Celebrate With Us

Great news!  On October 29th, a new baby girl came into the world.  For those of us who know her, Grandma Marty, is a very happy woman.

Both Mommy and Baby Girl are doing well.  Of course, Grandma and Grandpa couldn't be happier.

Congratulations to the whole family.  Such a wonderful gift!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Finally, Time to Read: Anita Diamant's THE RED TENT and an invitation to attend

Anita Diamant's THE RED TENT has been reviewed as well worth reading. lists several reviews and also gives an excerpt from the book.  Among the reviews are the following:

Kirkus Reviews
With stirring scenery and a narrative of force and color, a readable tale marked by hortatory fulminations and voluptuous lamentations. For a liberal Bible audience with a possible spillover to the Bradley relationship.

The Los Angeles Times
By giving a voice to Dinah...the novel has struck a chord with women who may have felt left out of biblical history.

Philadelphia Inquirer
A novel well worth reading!...very rich and fulfilling.
(as listed in

This is the selection for the book club meeting at Baron-Forness Library on the Edinboro University of PA campus on November 10.  If the selection intrigues you, please join the group.

Pearl has sent us Catherine's notes on the last book club meeting with specifics on the November 10 discussion.  Everyone is encouraged to join.  If you are local, someone you know will be there ! If not, everyone will welcome you as one of the group.

Of the October book club chat, Catherine says "Last night the EUP Book Club met in Baron-Forness Library room 715 and discussed Alice Hoffman's novel, PRACTICAL MAGIC, and welcomed newcomer Anne, who was brought into the fold by Ruth. We munched on cupcakes, pretzels, and sipped apple cider as we chatted. Participants enjoyed the novel's magical realism and debated over the import of the title. The group was relieved to discuss a book with a happy ending for once--that alone was practically magical.

We will next meet on Tuesday, November 10th, at 6:45 p.m., again in Baron-Forness Library room 715. At this meeting we will discuss Anita Diamant's novel, THE RED TENT, which depicts biblical stories from the
points-of-view of the women involved.

We welcome new members to the group; please come and bring friends! The more the merrier, indeed."

Thanks, Catherine, for the notes from the club's October meeting, and to Pearl for forwarding them to us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Visit from the Census Worker: When to Exercise Caution

The Better Business Bureau has listed cautions about the 2010 Census, and Susan Johnson of News Blaze, an internet news service, reviewed those points on October 16, 2009. 

We know that US Government Census workers will be canvassing our neighborhoods and asking legitimate questions.  If we aren't available, they may call us or send a mailed survey. 

If an email arrives, do not respond since the Census Bureau will not contact you that way. Do not open a link on that email or open any attachment.   Anyone who pretends to be a census worker and who contacts you through email is reallly running a scam.

So if a Census worker knocks on the door, how do we know that person is a legitimate representative of the Census Bureau?    Johnson reports that a legitimate Census taker will have identification, "a badge,  a handheld device, a Census Bureau canvas bag, and a confidentiality notice."  Even so, don't invite anyone to enter your home. 

Basically, you have to report how many occupants live at your address.  Other legitimate questions will be about "name, age, gender, race."  They may ask other pertinent questions such as salary or finances in general, but you aren't required to answer those.

They should not ask you the following:  financial account information, social security ID or credit card numbers.  Such questions are a definite red flag that the person at your door is not a legitimate representative of the Census Bureau.

Since the Census Bureau has opted not to work with ACORN to gather census data, you shouldn't respond to questions on the census if contacted by an ACORN representative.

My only question is this:  If a Census worker contacts me by phone, how do I verify identification or any of the identifying materials?  Without knowing that answer, I would choose to not give any information.  If you know how to verify phone calls or mailings, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks to Susan Johnson for writing the article based on the BBB alerts in News Blaze.  Thanks also to Barb in Florida for sending us the information.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Our Health: Boomeritis

Oh, good!  Now I know why I'm stiff after two hours of driving, sore after those step exercises, feeling that shoulder pain with my modified push-ups, and aching after too much downward- facing dog. 

It's really "Boomeritis," a term coined by Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a Havertown, PA, orthopedic surgeon.  He is quoted as pointing out that " 'Baby boomers are the first generation in droves trying to stay active in an aging frame' "(L. S. Kadaba,"Boomers Pay Price for Active Lifestyles, "The Philadelphia Inquirer, as reprinted in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Sept. 27, 2009, 12A).

It seems that physicians, surgeons and emergency rooms are treating Boomers (and those of us  older than the 64-year-old cut off for this generation) for injuries that were seen 10 years ago in much younger patients.  We all know people in our age group who have taken bicycle spills, ending up with broken clavicles, fractured bones, and torn shoulder muscles.  Or friends who have tripped while on the treadmill or out running the woodland trails. (Let's not mention those silly aging softball players who really should take up another sport!)

According to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, emergency rooms "treated 282,476 injuries among baby boomers...who suffered all sorts of sports-and exercise-related misfortune, a 47 percent inrease from an decade earlier"(12A).

According to sociologist BJ Gallagher who studies this age group, our aches and pains are not surprising. She indicates that we try to keep aging at bay by engaging in all sorts of physical exercise and sports. Kadaba quotes her as saying, " 'Not only do we defy authority, we're going to defy Mother Nature...We're really arrogant. We're going to play tennis. We're going to swim. We're going to run marathons' "(12A).  And, by the way, if we live in the western states, we're more likely to suffer 'Boomeritis' since "77 percent of older adults in the West say they exercise daily,compared with 69 percent in other regions"(M. Tucker, "Looking Westward," AARP Bulletin, October, 2009,10).

Personally, I know really fit older women who work out at home or have personal trainers and, yes, look much younger than their years. So, even with the data on our injuries and the expert opinion labeling us as 'arrogant', we could just be the first generation to be active, lucid, and smiling at age 100.  In which case, who cares about the labels! We're doing all we can to be healthy and productive.  We're working out  the aches and pains as we maintain active lifestyles. 

So as Yoda might say,  "Strong and healthy you are, Boomers; remain so."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Finally !Time to Read: Dan Brown's THE LOST SYMBOL

THE LOST SYMBOL is another hit for Dan Brown.  Ranking it with his other books, I would place it third behind THE DA VINCI CODE, and ANGELS AND DEMONS-but that takes nothing away from Brown's most recent work.  I found the book to be fast-paced, complex, compelling, and with the same gift of "brain candy"-an earlier  Chicago Tribune label for Brown's THE DA VINCI CODE.

As Robert Langdon works frantically with Katherine Solomon to find her brother, he must solve codes that stretch back into history and forward to the present day.  They are pitted against an uncannily strong, tattooed man linked to the Solomon family's past. He is fanatically dedicated to finding the lost symbol and with it the power of darkness.  Katherine's research facility, revealing the power of noetics, stands as the direst of threats to his quest;  he strives to  destroy it  and to permanently damage the Masonic Order led by Peter Solomon.

Now to the ChicagoTribune's "brain candy."  Since the story takes place in Washington, DC, the reader learns about the city's planning, the famous historical figures involved in its creation, the artwork in the Rotunda of the Capitol, and the construction of various important landmarks, notably the Washington Monument.  One of Brown's great talents is his ability to connect the significance of Washington's layout, planning and construction with many other more ancient symbols that cross all religions and cultures.

I was intrigued by Katherine's research interest:  Noetics.  Only after you finish the book, should you delve into any of the science described within.  Otherwise, you may lessen the book's effect.  However, if the book prompts your interest in the power of consciousness and the collective unconscious as it did mine, you will find great explanations of this branch of science at the Institute of Noetic Sciences website,   You can read, among other research,  about experiments linking the "power of the mind to health outcomes"(website homepage) and also a section on Dan Brown's THE LOST SYMBOL.  The website invites us to explore the science  behind the book.  I 'd love to know what you think of noetics and the Institute's site.

Noetics was not to be outdone by Brown's description of the experimental medical procedure called Total Liquid Ventilation with oxygenated perfluorocarbons.  Not to give away any of the plot, let me just say that you can find out about the process by accessing in in the search box of PubMed online.  Many articles on the subect are indexed on this website,  Again, please do so only after reading the book.

Of course, sacred numbers play a part in Brown's books with the number 33 explained as to its significance within theMasonic Order and its history across cultures and religions.  And let's not forget 8 Franklin Square!

I thought THE LOST SYMBOL was a great read.  Tell me what you think.