Monday, February 18, 2013

Photos from Saturday's Snowshoe Trek with Rick Churchill

On Saturday, February 16, thirty energetic people spent a pleasant two hours walking in the woods on snowshoes.  This outing, led by resident naturalist Rick Churchill, was co-sponsored by WMSC and the Mahoosuc Land Trust. 

Rick Churchill and his snowshoes, old and new.

Starting up the trail.

Climbing to the top.

Bonnie Pooley (photo by Jane Chandler)

Jane Chandler and Jean Bass

Diane McMahon

photos by K. DeVore

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Gaining a Better Understanding of Heart Disease in Women

by Lorrie Hoeh 

Dr. vanBuren speaks with Kay Larson.  photo R. Tifft
On Thursday, February 7, there was another presentation in WMSC's “To Your Health” series entitled “Women and Heart Disease." Those of us who attended were treated to an excellent and informative presentation by Dr. Daniel E. vanBuren, M.D., of the New England Heart Institute and Androscoggin Valley Hospital.

The speaker told of how women have too often been ignored in the study of heart disease, which has long been thought of as a man’s disease.  Moreover, women presenting with symptoms of cardiac problems are often not treated with the same vigor as men presenting similar symptoms.  Also reviewed were the various statistics of cardiovascular disease, especially that it is the leading cause of death in women.  Dr. vanBuren then presented graphic descriptions of what goes on in a heart attack and what can be done to prevent it, emphasizing the importance of diet, exercise, and stress management.

The audience came away with a better understanding of heart disease, its prevention, and intervention protocols.

Dr. vanBuren was introduced by Rosabelle Tifft, who also reminded us of two upcoming “To Your Health” programs, “Good Meals: in 30 Minutes or Less” on March 21, and “Good Mind--Good Mood” on April 11, both in keeping with the theme of “keeping your glass half full.” 

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, February 4, 2013

Spotlight on "The Odyssey"

by Jim McLean

If the endless saga, spellbinding and harrowing, of Lindsay Lohan, girl alcoholic, star-crossed by the gods of booze, gives zest to your routine day, you should know what a bunch of us is presently involved in. We're reading the tale of wily Odysseus, “man of twists and turns,” who led the Greek victory at Troy, a ten-year war which finally ended when he came up with the idea of the wooden horse. Returning home after the fight is what soldiers do, but long-suffering Odysseus did not have an easy journey. He's been traveling for more than nine years now, seven spent as prisoner in the luxurious cave of the nymph Calypso. Freed at last, fearless Odysseus sets out by sea (the “wine-dark sea”) on the remaining short distance home. But real, real troubles lie ahead – Circe, and Scylla and Charybdis, and the one-eyed Cyclops, and the easily offended god Poseidon, who when irritated sends raging storms and waves to batter struggling Odysseus. We twelve readers know that these dreadful hardships await. We also know that cunning Odysseus will overcome them all and at last reach home (after twenty years away!) and his faithful and long-suffering wife Penelope.

That's not quite the end of this glorious tale, however. Proud Odysseus still has to deal with the dissolute suitors who for a few years have been living in his palace, consuming his food and drink, and bugging his burdened wife to marry one or the other of them. And, boy, does he ever deal with those unfortunate souls!

What makes this course even more enjoyable is Lucia Owen's experienced guidance of the class. The story is long, crammed with people and places and dramatic doings, and sprinkled with capricious gods. Lucia has made order of all that, and showed the parallels with our own time and place and lives. She has considered the literary structure of this epic (“The Odyssey”) and discussed what is known of the long-ago author, Homer, among the greatest of all poets. With her leadership, it has all been delightful – and we still have two more sessions to go!

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