Wednesday, July 27, 2016

WEST GROVE: The retired lifestyle

I overheard two retired guys chatting the other day at the Jenners Pond retirement community and had to chuckle.
"Where've you been?" one man asked his friend. "I haven't seen you for months!"
"Well, I've been working," replied the other man.
The first guy furrowed his brows. "Work-ing?" he said, pronouncing it like it was a foreign term completely unfamiliar to him. And quite possibly an offensive one.
The reason I was at Jenners Pond was for a 4 p.m. lecture, and I noted that they were already serving wine and cheese. Nice!

DELAWARE: No tuition bills yet

The Young Relative spent a week at a camp in Delaware, and we were curious what he would make of the tony prep-school environment. As we might have expected from someone who has grown up in the Unionville school district, he wasn't blown away in the least. The facilities were nice, sure, but nothing more than what he was used to. The cafeteria food was OK and all-you-could-eat, though the campers weren't given as many choices as he would have liked.
("Humph!" snorted his school-of-hard-knocks grandfather upon hearing this. "Don't join the military.")
The Y.R. took the sports camp opportunity to apply the scientific method and test out his hypothesis that everyone from Delaware seems to know everyone else. He said he found plenty of confirmation.

TEETH: Four out of five dentists...

A "Unionville in the News" reader with a great memory sent me a link to a July 26 "New York Times" story saying that even the American Dental Association has come out and said that most people don't need annual dental x-rays. I wrote some months ago about how outraged I felt when my long-time West Chester dentist insisted that either I agree to annual x-rays or find another dentist. I chose the latter course and easily found a practice that doesn't make such an expensive and over-the-top demand.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

KENNETT: The Mushroom Festival

Just a heads-up that the 31st Mushroom Festival is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, with a parade in Kennett Square starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9. Highlights include the amateur mushroom cook-off (this year's theme is "breakfast"), the fried mushroom eating contest (the world record is 11.5 pounds of fried breaded mushrooms in eight minutes), and the mushroom run and "fun gus walk." The full schedule is on the website.

HAIL: An unexpected storm

What a surprise the hail storm was on Saturday afternoon!
I had checked the weather forecast earlier in the day because we had planned to attend an outdoor concert in the evening, and nothing whatsoever showed up on the radar.
But shortly after 4 p.m. I was awakened from a nap by rumbles of thunder, and then a sudden gust of wind, and then an onslaught of rain and hail pounding on the roof. The hailstones melted immediately in the heat, but it was fun to watch them bouncing off the windowsill.
The thermometer dropped 20 degrees in the space of a half-hour as the thunderstorm blew through in two waves -- what a welcome change from the heat. It left many downed trees and branches in its wake, and out in Lancaster County we saw a blown-over utility pole, with a lot of wires, on Route 41 near Christiana.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

BRAIN: Preventing memory lapses

Exercise, get enough sleep, decrease stress, eat a Mediterranean diet, avoid head trauma, challenge your brain with puzzles or learning new skills, get enough Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, and get involved in the community.
That was the prescription for reversing brain atrophy that my doctor, Dr. Mary-Anne Ost, outlined in a fascinating lecture at the Jenners Pond retirement community in West Grove on July 22.
Dr. Ost started her talk by saying that the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a vital role in maintaining a person's memory, atrophies by 0.5% per year starting at age 40. A disturbed murmur immediately spread through the room as people calculated whether they had any hippocampal tissue left.
But she then went on to outline how research has shown that you can slow and even reverse the decline by taking the steps I mentioned in the first sentence. I was delighted to see that I have most of them covered; in fact, after the talk I went straight to the gym and later that evening did a particularly challenging crossword puzzle.
The audience had numerous questions after the talk, mostly about how various medications might help or hinder brain health.
I enjoyed the lecture very much. Dr. Ost said that given the prevalence of concussions in equestrians -- and the negative impact head trauma has on the brain -- she'd like to give the talk to horse people locally.
A few days after the talk I saw a friend of mine who is also a patient of Dr. Ost's and told her how interesting the talk was. "Oh, I forgot about that!" she exclaimed.

Friday, July 22, 2016

HOSTS: Dinner party nerves

Maybe you receive continuing education catalogs in the mail like I do. I browsed through one this afternoon and was amused at a blurb for a cooking class in which students would learn how to "impress even the most critical dinner guests."
My first thought: Who on earth would invite even potentially critical dinner guests to their home?