Getting Old in Pottstown!

A couple of weeks ago I had a very sad experience.  I was shopping in a local store and there were a couple of gentlemen standing not too far from me having a chat.  It isn’t as if I wanted to listen in on what they were saying, it was more that I couldn’t help but hear them.

I even hate to write about it here for fear that one of them might see what  I’ve written and know I’m writing about what they said!

Oh well, here goes- The one man was talking about losing his wife.  He was in his 80’s and he looked very healthy but it sounded as if his wife hadn’t been as healthy and well, he was alone now.  He said she was the only woman he had ever loved.   He said he  had kids and they were good to him, but he didn’t know why he was still here.  He didn’t have any purpose.  He felt like he was simply rattling around waiting for…well he didn’t go so far as to say the word death but then he said that a couple of times he felt like ending it all himself.  His kids wouldn’t understand though, so  so far at least, he’s chosen not to.

I expected the other gentleman talking to him to cluck in sympathy, perhaps to chide him for thinking of suicide but instead and much to my chagrin I heard this instead… ” My wife is gone too.  She wasn’t the only woman I ever loved, I had others, but she was the one I was with the longest.  I know how you feel.  I don’t want to wake up in the morning some days.”

I couldn’t stand there any longer and pretend not to hear.  My throat felt tight.  I had no right to walk up to them and interrupt, and yet, I felt so sad hearing their conversation.

It made me want to drag both of them to my car so I could take them to a local golf course and drive around with them sitting in the back of a golf cart, or take them fishing, or go to the Boyertown museum and talk about cars!

I didn’t.

I’m telling you.

I’m thinking about age as it approaches.  I want to get a handle on it. I want to know what the changes will be like to my body and to my mind.  I want to stave off the negative changes and I want to make room for the positive ones!

This isn’t something we talk about a lot.

What do you think?






Foam Rolling And You!

I was just talking about the Catholic Church getting into the fitness craze.  While I was being a little snide, I have to admit that it’s probably a good idea to at least think about our health and how we take care of ourselves.  I think a lot of us with genetic tendencies to plump up feel hopeless as we get older and we think health is something for young people!  Well, that is probably wrong.  We all have to care about ourselves, no matter what faith we profess, or what nationality we are, or how old we are!  Each of us, to the best of our abilities absolutely has to get to be as fit as possible!

That gets us to the topic of foam rolling sort of…  I was reading an article over at the NYT about the elderly.    The article was talking about a doctor who devoted her career to working with older folks  and it was an interesting article but I found myself hooked when I started to read the comments.

Aging sounds tough and that lesson is coming from the folks that are experts. Of course some were commenting by giving the standard lecture, you know, the one where you about take care of yourself and you’ll live a wonderfully fulfilling life and die in your sleep almost miraculously.  Others were saying, hey hold on, aging has some surprises in store for some people and it isn’t like you can protect yourself from some of the traps like boom, you might get Alzheimers, or crash, you might get constant bone fractures from simple frailty.  No matter how healthy you are, age might just get you!

So, what is foam rolling and how is that connected in any way with aging?

Aha!  Well, you see, there are a lot of people who are older who have gotten to talk with physical therapists!  And they have learned something that the rest of us might not have learned yet and that is that massage is really helpful to the body!

I hear you saying “okay, massage is helpful and older  people as a group probably  have talked to more  therapists than their younger counterparts, but what is foam rolling?”

Well, foam rolling is a technique that uses foam noodle like things to release or ‘self massage’ the myofascial tissue of the body!

The only tough part about doing the foam rolling is that you need to have some upper body strength in order to do it.  Imagine a foam roller about 36 inches long and 6 inches in diameter on the floor.  Now imagine you lean on the roller sideways with your hip resting on it.  Now roll your body over it while it’s on the floor and any “knot” or pressure point that you feel you hesitate in that place for about 60 seconds or so to relieve the knot of tension.   In this way you are helping your muscles to stay strong and supple.

When I looked into this I found that those knots can keep coming back and unless you work on them specifically and not the healthy muscle around them they can cause a lot of debilitating pain.

Now I bet you are saying, okay that sounds reasonable, it’s like giving yourself a deep massage and you can do it on your legs, or on your upper, mid, or lower back, but what if you don’t have a foam roller?  What then?

Well, you could use a large can of tomatoes but it wouldn’t be as forgiving.  You could swath a gift wrap tube in a couple of bath towels and tie them or rubber band them into place.  Or you could buy a pool noodle and do the same thing with the added toweling.  I guess you  could dump a bunch of tennis balls into a pillow case and use that to massage pressure points.

Now I want to caution anyone reading this!  I am not a licensed therapist!  I just came across an idea that I thought was interesting and I dragged it back here to share the idea.  If you are going to do your own myofascial release then I suggest you find a professional to show you how to do it particularly if you have any physical problems to start with!

Let’s take extra good care of ourselves!





Running with Jesus?!

The Catholic Church is weighing in on fat people!  It sounds like being overweight or obese is a religious concern these days and the Church isn’t going to sit around twiddling it’s thumbs!   Why some of the parishioners have started programs like “Running With Jesus!”… or eating fruit with Jesus.

You can read more here at Catholic News.

Isn’t it about time we started making people feel even guiltier about being overweight!




Coventry Tea Room Closing?

Have you ever had lunch at the Coventry Tea Room?  I’ve been lucky to visit there a couple of times and I enjoyed each visit, but unfortunately it sounds like the place is closing shop.

Don’t worry, there will be a new business popping up on the same premises, the new business sounds like it might be more of a bakery with breakfasts and lunches.

When I find out more I’ll post it.




Schuykill River Pedal Paddle Next Weekend!

Want to get on a bike and tour the Pottstown area?  Want to head over to the village of Morlatton? Would you like to have lunch along the river?  Then check this out!

  • The first event will take place on Saturday, June 30, the others will be held on July 21 and September 15. A fourth event, featuring a bike ride with no paddling, will be held on August 25. Hours for all events are from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Each Pedal and Paddle will begin with a 4.5 mile bike ride from Pottstown’s Riverfront Park to Historic Morlatton Village in Douglassville, using yellow cruisers from the Bike Pottstown bike share program. Participants will be given a guided tour of Morlatton Village, then take a short bike ride to Douglassville’s Ganshahawny Park. There, they will eat lunch and receive a brief introduction to kayaking. Then, they will paddle back to Pottstown in kayaks along the Schuylkill River.
  • Lunch, bikes, kayaks and all kayaking gear will be provided. Cost of the trip is $25 per person. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.

Rest Now Cynthia!

Gosh folks, I feel awfully sad about the passing of a woman who was found lying near the fountain over at the Smith Family Plaza in Pottstown.

I think the coroner sounds a little icy in talking about Ms. Atkinson’s health history, but hey, she was probably homeless right?   Who is  going to object to her being characterized as someone who had a “ton of medical problems”.

Rest now Cynthia, you’ve loosed your earthly bonds!  Find peace.

Here is the information on her that Brandie gave us over at the Mercury-

  • Dr. Walter I. Hofman identified the woman as Cynthia Atkinson, 49, believed to be homeless. Hofman said no next of kin has been identified.
  • He noted that her body temperature “was warm, but not 103 degrees — that’s the national standard for heat stroke or hyperthermia.” Hofman said it isn’t likely, therefore, that Atkinson died as a result of the high temperatures Thursday, or at least not from the heat alone.
  • Hofman said Atkinson had “a ton of medical problems,” and had been seen at a local hospital several times recently.