Health & Wellness Series - Winter 2012

Winter Wellness

Darien Library Health & Wellness Series

In the New Year, why not resolve to get organized, healthy, and active?

Darien Library is a destination for reliable information on health-related topics. This January and February, we present Winter Wellness, a series of lectures, expert panels, workshops, film screenings, and fitness activities designed to help you achieve an even better version of you. The schedule offers sessions on organization, stress management, active aging, healthy eating, brain fitness, and more.

Please join us for this exciting and enriching series.

Lectures, Expert Panels & Workshops
Meet the Author Events
Get Active at the Library
Health & Wellness Film Screenings


Lectures, Expert Panels, & Workshops

Get Organized! Panel Discussion

Thursday, January 5 at 7 PM
The entire month of January has been proclaimed a holiday in the organizing world, called “National Get Organized Month” by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). It is time to clean out those closets, deal with those stacks of paperwork, and organize those photographs! Organizing will help you live in the present, decrease feelings of being overwhelmed, and increase your quality of life. A panel of organizers from the group F.O.C.U.S. will share their expertise on topics ranging from clothing to paperwork.

Presented by Cara Brook of S.O.S. LLC, Janet Barnes of Connecticut Closet and Shelf, Jen Burke of JKB Organizing, and Susan Lovallo, CPA, CPO of Clutter Solutions, LLC. The panel will be moderated by Matt Baier of Matt Baier Organizing, LLC.

Secrets to Active Aging

Monday, January 9 at 10 AM
We’re told that exercise is important as we age, but what kinds of exercise? How much exercise do we need? Why is balance exercise so important? This program discusses why physical activity is critical to healthy aging and how we can incorporate it into our daily lives, no matter what our fitness level. This program is geared towards adults age 50 and over. Participants are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes if they wish to practice simple exercises to improve balance.

Presented by Julienne Camhi, Certified Personal Trainer and Health Fitness Specialist at Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

Combat Stress in Chaotic Times: Reduce the 7 Symptoms of Stress

Wednesday, January 11 at 7 PM
According to the American Psychology Association, stress is taking a toll on people, contributing to health problems, poor relationships, and lost productivity at work. Heart disease, type-II diabetes, cancer, respiratory disorders, and health issues associated with being overweight and obesity are categorized as chronic diseases. Many of these illnesses can be traced back to a root cause: stress.

Presented by Dr. Robert Zembroski, a board-certified Chiropractic Neurologist at The Darien Center for Integrative Medicine.

Navigating Your Hospital Stay

Tuesday, January 17 at 10 AM
For most of us, a visit to the hospital is like travelling to a foreign country. We do not speak the medical “language” and we are expected to answer intimate questions from complete strangers. We worry about medication errors and healthcare-associated infections, but are not sure how to prevent them. We are awake when we should be sleeping, and sleeping when we should be awake. This program provides valuable information about what to ask before you go into the hospital, how to reduce your risk of infection or medication errors, how to get a good night's sleep, and important steps for planning your discharge and follow-up care.

Presented by Sue Worland, RN, Hospital Liaison and Intake Coordinator with Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County.

Reversing Chronic Disease

Thursday, January 19 at 7 PM
Often, individuals believe that once a diagnosis is made and a medication given, there will always be the need to continue that medication. Yet chronic disease can be reversed, often with straightforward modifications to the way we live. Understanding the driving forces behind disease allows us to be able to target our efforts. Dr. Roca will discuss the underlying processes that create illness and key changes you can make to begin the process of reversing chronic illness including hormone balance, reducing inflammation, increasing stress resilience, and enhancing detoxification.

Presented by Dr. Henri Roca, Medical Director at Greenwich Hospital’s Integrative Medicine Program.

Ask the Doctors!

Tuesday, January 24 at 7 PM
It’s time to take the anxiety out of the word “healthcare!” Doctors4Darien, a team of four esteemed community physicians, will discuss new research findings and information related to our bodies and our health. The panel will also focus on preventative healthcare from head to toe – literally! From dental care to foot care and everything in between, this is your chance to learn new and better paths to well-being.

Presented by Dr. Maryann Lehmann, D.D.S., Dentist; Dr. Brian P. McKay, D.C., Chiropractor; Dr. Brian S. Sheets, D.O., Ob/Gyn; and Dr. Josephine Velazques, D.P.M., Podiatrist.

Eating Right to Feel Great

Tuesday, February 7 at 7 PM
With all the choices we have in supermarkets today, food shopping can be overwhelming. What should we be eating? And how much? Local or organic? Our panel of nutrition experts will help address these food issues and more, including overeating, portion-size awareness, making healthful food choices for your family, the benefits of plant-based living, and how to be a budget organic. Healthy snacks will be provided by Whole Foods Market.

Presented by Tracy Gwodz, Holistic Health Counselor and owner of simplynourish; Maura Maier, Healthy Eating Specialist at Whole Foods Market; and Francine G. Blinten, Certified Clinical Nutritionist.


New Year, New You; Resolve to Keep Those New Year Resolutions!

Thursday, February 9 from 10 AM to 12 noon

You’re invited to a health and wellness fair sponsored by The Community Fund of Darien’s Human Services Planning Council and the Darien Community Association, to be held at the DCA, 274 Middlesex Road. Darien Library will be among dozens of groups, agencies, and companies that will be on hand to provide resources and demonstrations of techniques for stress relief, career counseling, health checks and more. Self-care is not selfish!

Ask the Pediatricians: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 15 at 7 PM

When it comes to our children, we're always going to have a lot of questions related to their health. Luckily, our panel of pediatric sub-specialists are here to answer your questions about raising healthy, happy, and energetic kids.

Presented by Dr. Mitchell Lester, M.D., Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology; Dr. Sohail Kayani, M.D., Pediatric Pulmonologist; and Dr. Anthony Porto, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterologist. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Jamie Roach Murray, M.D., General Pediatrician.

Long-Term Care Insurance: The Missing Link in Retirement Planning

Tuesday, February 28 at 7 PM
You’ve thought of everything – except for how to protect your assets should you need long-term care. Did you know that just one year in a Connecticut nursing home can cost more than $127,000? And Medicare and health insurance may only cover a fraction of these costs. Now there's a way to protect your life savings. If you’re 40 or older, long-term care insurance approved by the State’s Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care should be part of your retirement plan. These policies assure you of the highest quality standards. They’re affordable and provide asset protection, protect against inflation, and – most importantly – give you peace of mind through your retirement years. Come learn about how the State’s Partnership for Long-Term Care can help you plan ahead for your future needs.

Presented by Aldo Pantano, a representative from the CT Partnership for Long-Term Care, with the State Office of Policy and Management.

Meet the Author Events

Meet the Author! Nicole Straight

More Time to Eat!
Tuesday, January 17 at 7 PM
Award-winning local chef Nicole Straight has just published her second cookbook, More Time to Eat!, which aims to teach families how to streamline time spent in the kitchen, as well as make delicious meals in 15 minutes. The new cookbook is an evolution of Straight’s lengthy experience as a cooking instructor who has taught thousands of people how to bring their families back to the table and simplify the nightly 6 o’clock dinner-time dilemma. The book contains a collection of easy recipes, such as BLT Tortellini, Provencal Braised Chicken Thighs, Asian Quinoa Salad, and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies. She teaches you how to simplify meal preparation while minimizing time spent in the kitchen for both family meals and entertaining friends. A book signing will follow the presentation. Book will be available for purchase at the event.

Nicole Straight, founder of the Time to Eat! cooking school, teaches 90-minute cooking classes at the Christopher Peacock Cabinetry Showroom in Greenwich, as well as in-home cooking classes. Her visit will include a cooking demonstration.

Meet the Author! Priscilla Warner

Learning to Breathe
Thursday, January 26 at 7 PM

For 40 years, Priscilla Warner suffered from anxiety and panic attacks so debilitating that they left her unable to breathe. So when she read about Tibetan monks who had meditated so effectively that they were able to change their brains, Warner wanted in. Learning to Breathe chronicles Warner’s mission to rewire her brain and her body in search of her own “inner monk.” She tries spiritual chanting, meditative painting, restorative yoga, immersion in a Jewish ritual bath, and quasi-hallucinogenic Ayurvedic oil treatments. Meditating in malls instead of monasteries, Warner becomes a monk in a minivan and calms down long enough to examine her colorful family history in a new light, ultimately making peace with her past. A book signing will follow the presentation. Book will be available for purchase at the event.

Priscilla Warner grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, and raised her two sons with her husband in Westchester County, New York. She coauthored the New York Times bestseller The Faith Club, and spent three years promoting the book while engaging in interfaith dialogue all across America. She has appeared on such national media outlets as the Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and NPR, and writes for More magazine and The Huffington Post, among others.

Get Active at the Library

Yoga with Shelly

Friday mornings from 10 to 11 AM, January 6 through February 10
Connect mind with body, posture with breath, and the philosophical with the physical in this yoga series for practitioners at all levels (beginners are welcome). Each class will feature specific yoga techniques, and we will practice poses inspired by popular books. Participants are asked to bring their own yoga mats.

The class will be led by Shelly Ransom, Certified Yoga Instructor.

Registration for this series is a lottery and is open to all Darien residents, those who work in Darien full-time, and non-resident Friends of Darien Library at the Contributor Level (annual donation of $300). Register online at from Monday, December 12 to Wednesday, December 21 with your Library card. Notification via email is Thursday, December 22. For more information, contact Erin Shea, Head of Adult Programming, at or 203-669-5232.

Wii Sports: Gaming for Adults

Wednesday, January 18, 10 AM - 12 noon
Wednesday, February 1, 10 AM - 12 noon
Who says video games are for couch potatoes? We're turning our Conference Room into a sports arena with Nintendo Wii! We will show you how to play, and then you can join in on a round of golf, go bowling, have an archery contest, and even throw a Frisbee! Enjoy the rush of video game-induced endorphins.

Health & Wellness Film Screenings

FAT: What No One is Telling You

Monday, January 16 at 1:30 PM
Open abuse of fat people is our last accepted prejudice. As the number of obese Americans climbs to frightening levels, the quest for answers is becoming even more urgent. Obesity experts have a sobering awareness of the complex human puzzle that is driving this epidemic and creating so much personal pain. This program gives viewers a window into the intense human dramas of those labeled obese and the difficulty of solving weight problems. Not rated; 90 minutes (2006).

The Brain Fitness Program

Thursday, February 16 at 1:30 PM
Can you exercise your brain to get it into better shape? Dr. Michael Merzenich and more than 50 neuroscientists around the world say, "Absolutely!" They have developed a scientifically-based system of exercises to help retain mental acuity throughout a lifespan of 80+ years. Designed to drive beneficial chemical, physical, and functional changes in the brain, The Brain Fitness Program will strengthen your brain and make it perform with greater agility, speed, and comprehension. Studies have shown an average improvement of more than 10 years in auditory, memory, and cognitive function. Not rated; 60 minutes (2008).

The Secrets to Self-Publishing: A Panel Discussion

Have you ever dreamed of publishing your own novel, memoir, or cookbook of herring recipes passed down from your Norwegian grandmother? Well now you can! And you can do it all using Darien Library's brand new Espresso Book Machine. (The EBM was removed in August 2012. Please contact On Demand Books for information about publishing from an EBM)

On Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. in an event co-sponsored by On Demand Books, we will host a panel presentation to show the secrets of self-publishing.

Panelists include:

- Self-Published Author William Edgerton will speak about his experience publishing his mystery novel "Wine Killer."

- Self-Published Book Designer and Author Sandy Garnett will recount his experience with designing self-published books and publishing his memoir "Baloney Express."

- Award-Winning Author Adair Heitmann will discuss how to promote oneself as an author.

- Stephanie Anderson of WORD Brooklyn will discuss the decision-making process in purchasing self-published works to sell.

A Facebook RSVP is appreciated but not required to attend this event.

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behing Nielsen's).

Letting City Directories Work for You

Darien City Directory, 1953
Darien City Directory, 1953

Saturday, January 21 at 2 PM

Co-sponsored by Darien Library and the Middlesex Genealogical Society, presented by Toni McKeen.

City directories are one of the most overlooked source of historical information about families. You will learn how and where to find city directories, the important and surprising clues they hold, and their use in finding those missing census records and vital records.

For the last 7 years, Toni McKeen has been teaching several levels of genealogy in her home town of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Toni also has been a popular lecturer at various genealogical societies in the New York, Connecticut, Boston, and Long Island areas. Toni has been a frequent presenter at MGS meetings. In her lectures, Toni shares the tips and tricks she has developed over the years to help locate difficult relatives who don’t seem to want to be found.

Effective Use of City Directories

Skill Building: Analyzing City Directories

Using City Directories in Genealogical Research

City Directories on Microfilm at the Library of Congress

Circa 1930 City Directories available at the National Archives

City Directories of the United States of America

Old Directory Search: Stamford, Connecticut, 1907

Your Guide to Finding Ancestors in City Directories

City Directories at

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs available on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen's).

Guess Who's Coming To Town?!

April showers don't just bring May flowers . . . they also bring exciting guest speakers to Darien Library! Take a look at who will be visiting us over the course of the month. We hope you will join us!

Let's begin with our Spring Author Series:

Meet the Author! Charlotte Smith
Dreaming of Dior
: Every Dress Tells A Story
Wednesday, April 28 at 7 PM
We LOVE fashion and will talk fashion anytime, but this April is special because this April, our Spring Author Series continues to unfold with an author and fashion expert whose remarks and collection are in vogue, in demand, and most desirable no matter what the season.  Five years ago, Charlotte Smith, Curator of The Fashion and Textile Gallery in Sydney, Australia, inherited a priceless vintage clothing collection from her American Quaker godmother, Doris Darnell. Dating from 1790 to 1995, the collection had been a lifetime labor of love for Darnell and consists of more than 5,000 treasures, ranging from a pioneer womans daintily mended best dress to couture originals by Dior, Chanel, and Balenciaga. Ms. Smith has compiled a gorgeously illustrated book of the dresses, their stories, and the lifetime of memories the collection holds. The presentation will include a display of several pieces from the collection.

And mark your calendars for:

Dr. David Downie
Weathering the Storm: Climate Change, Science, and Policy

Guest Lecture by Dr. David Downie, Fairfield University

Monday, April 5 at 7 PM
During the month of March, Darien and the rest of the Northeast experienced some of the most extreme weather we've seen in quite awhile, with tons of snow, rain, and wind reminding us that while nature is beautiful, it can also take some wild turns. But is it as unpredicable as we may think? Will climate change bring similar conditions in the coming years? Please join us for a special One Book, One Community event, as Dr. David Downie, Director of Environmental Studies and Associate Professor of Politics at Fairfield University, will give a dynamic presentation about the factors that influence extreme weather and global warming, as well as what is being done to help protect the future of our planet.

The Poet's Voice, featuring Anne Boutelle

Sunday, April 18 at 3 PM
April is National Poetry Month! We are celebrating at Darien Library with the return of The Poet's Voice, which features yearly readings in Fairfield County libraries by outstanding poets. Ann Boutelle will read poems from her selected works, Becoming Bone and Nest of Thistles, winner of the 2005 Samuel French Morse Prize from Northeastern University Press. Boutelle teaches at Smith College, where she founded the Poetry Center. She is considered the guiding light of the Poetry Center and continues to guide the Center's efforts.

College Admissions 101: A Panel Discussion for Families

Advice for Student Athletes
Thursday, April 22 at 7 PM

We know how stressful college admissions can be. We also know you can never get too many tips on how to prepare yourself for the admissions process! And if you're a student athlete, the process can be even more confusing and complicated. So we've gathered a panel of coaches, parents of student athletes, and current student athletes who have been through it all and have tried and true advice to offer on college admissions, the recruitment processes, and how to juggle academics and sports all at once.

Ask the Master Gardeners!

Container Gardening for Flowers & Vegetables
Tuesday, April 27 at 7 PM
It's an evening of asking the experts! Wally Pugh and Regina Campfield, both graduates of the CT Master Gardener Program at the Barlett Arboretum, will share their gardening wisdom with us. First Mr. Pugh will offer an assortment of good gardening practices and skills for optimal yield. Then, Ms. Campfield will discuss designing your planter, types of plant materials, soil provisions, and watering techniques. Learn the theory of "thrillers, spillers, and fillers" for your pots! Come with paper and pen in hand. You will want to take notes!

There is so much more that is happening this month! Click here for a full listing of events for April.

The Intelligent Color Choice for Fall: Green!

John Wargo
John Wargo

Darien Library and Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County Speakers' Series Present


Chair of Environmental Studies, Yale University

Green Intelligence: Creating Environments that Protect Human Health

Sunday, October 18 at 5:30 p.m.*


Darien Library is pleased to bring you this exciting and timely presentation and discussion with Yale Club of Lower Fairfield County Speakers' Series. Please join us for this important event featuring Professor John Wargo, where he'll talk about the risk of toxic exposures and the health threat, particularly on children. In his new book, Green Intelligence, he demonstrates that exposure to hazardous health-damaging chemicals is widespread and poorly regulated, and that knowledge of contamination and danger is often kept from a too-trusting public. 

Most individuals carry in their tissues a combination of metals, pesticides, solvents, fire retardants, waterproofing agents, and by-products of fuel combustion and not surprisingly, many toxins are significantly more concentrated in the bodies of young children. 

Pesticides. Nuclear testing. Vehicle emissions. U.S. military activity. Plastics. These are some of the specific examples of past and present exposures to identify weaknesses in our system and lessons we can apply to guard human health.

Professor Wargo's sobering assessment of the impact of toxic chemicals on human health is frightening, but he also proposes clear solutions, and outlines practical protective measures and guidelines. 

Professor Wargo was a guest this week on the Living on Earth radio show and podcast - click here to listen. 

John Wargo is professor of environmental policy, risk analysis, and political science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Department of Political Science at Yale University. He is Chair of the Environmental Studies Major in Yale College and has been an adviser to several EPA administrators and National Academy of Sciences Committees, theU.S. Congress, the U.N. World Health Organization, and Vice President Al Gore.

Here are more details about the October 18th program at the Library:

* - 4:30 p.m.  - Special behind-the-scenes Green Tour of our environmentally innovative Darien Library

  - 5:30 p.m. - Presentation by Professor Wargo

  - 6:15 p.m. - Q&A and reception

Additional parking for evening and weekend Library programs on Thorndal Circle (behind Nielsen's.)

Something to talk about

Brad, Bulbs, and Starre. What do they have in common?

They're all on the Events Calendar here at the Library during September. We promised you that we'd continue to present fabulous programs even as we prepare to move to the new building, and we're keeping our word!

Bestselling author Brad Meltzer will be here on Sunday, September 21st at 5:30 p.m. (Very cool!)

Starre Vartan, the Eco Chick will be here on Wednesday, September 17th at 7 p.m. (Very green!)

Master Gardener Sue Kelley presents "Fall is for Planting—Perennials and Bulbs" on September 16th at 7pm.  (Very green thumb!)

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