Archive for August 21st, 2007


Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

There are still seven of us at home (down from eleven) and we’ve been doing dishes by hand for perhaps the last six months. This isn’t because we can’t afford a new dishwasher – we can – but I have been uniformly disappointed with all the dishwashers we’ve had here in the past 16 or so years. These are my complaints:

  1. Even if I thoroughly rinse the dirty dishes first, the dishwasher takes the dirtiness from the plates and silverware and cements it inside the glasses, which were barely dirty to begin with.
  2. I haven’t met a dishwasher yet which can deal with oatmeal, refried beans, or egg left on plates or bowls.
  3. Soup bowls have a special immunity to dishwashers. No matter what soup is served, remnants of it remain solidly affixed within the soup bowls (which were practically rinsed clean to begin with – duh!)
  4. Our water is not smelly, nor does it stain, but our dishwashers have all died an early death. They last about two or three years, max. This could be because we have a large (smaller number at home now) family, and we like to bake, thus producing a large volume of dirty dishes.

This is my question: Do you know of a dishwasher which stands up to heavy usage AND gets the dishes clean? I do not even require that it handle pots and pans. If you know of such a trusty automated servant, please let me know. 🙂 Otherwise, we’ll keep washing dishes the old-fashioned way.

An interesting “brain” fact

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

I’m still making my way through the book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D.

Here’s a portion I read today that I find both hopeful (as an older middle-aged person) and amazing:

We now know that exercise and mental activity in animals generate and sustain more brain cells, and we have many studies confirming that humans who lead mentally active lives have better brain function. The more education we have, the more socially and physically active we are, and the more we participate in mentally stimulating activities, the less likely we are to get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration – studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing – are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting, and golfing, are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s.

These studies are suggestive but stop short of proving that we can prevent Alzheimer’s disease with brain exercises. These activities are associated with or correlated with less Alzheimer’s, but correlations don’t prove causality. It is possible that people with very early onset but undetectable Alzheimer’s begin slowing down early in life and so stop being active. The most we can say about the relationship between brain exercises and Alzheimer’s at the moment is that it seems very promising. – pages 254, 255