Sunday, 21 December 2008

Sunday December 21st, 2008 Christmas Food

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Are you ready for Christmas? It's almost here. When I think of Christmas I think of the aromas, such as a turkey roasting and mulled cider simmering. There are so many foods I associate with it like boxed chocolates, mixed nuts, mandarin oranges and mincemeat tarts, yum. Here is a little
taste of what's to come over the next few days.


I've mentioned my love of chocolate before, but it's impossible to say too much about it. If you're looking for delicious new recipes try I'm Dreaming Of A Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers. Christmas seems to be the time of the year to eat chocolate, but then so does Easter and Valentine's Day and pretty much any day of the week that ends in the word day. I associate Christmas with receiving a Terry's Chocolate orange from my Mom. The Chocolate Manufacturers Association offers all sorts of information on chocolate. For example the largest box of chocolates ever made contained 90,090 individual chocolates. It was created by Marshall Field's in Chicago on November 14, 2002. For this and other fun facts on chocolate visit:

Christmas cake

Unlike most people one of my favourite things about Christmas is the fruitcake. One of my fondest memories is the smell of the rum soaked fruit aging in a big pot. As a child I thought everyone had cake like this. I've never found a cake to compare with my Mom's. Over the years the Christmas fruitcake has become the source of many jokes. Johnny Carson once said There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other. If you happen to visit Manitou Springs, Colorado any January you may get to witness their annual Great Fruitcake Toss. There are many events involving throwing, catapults and mechanical devices. They also hold a most beautiful fruitcake competition. For more information visit and click on events. In Independence, California this December they held the fourth annual Independence Fruitcake Festival, complete with various contests from the nuttiest fruitcake to the one that travelled the farthest to get there. Their website, which you can visit at has a great selection of fruitcake recipes. For more ideas check out The Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook. There's a recipe for the backhouse family fruitcake. That sounds a little odd, but the recipe comes from the Backhouse family.


This Christmas staple is best enjoyed in moderation, and maybe cut with skim milk. Did you know that one cup of eggnog contains 343 calories? For a breakfast treat try making eggnog pancakes, they're delicious. To find a recipe, just visit and type eggnog pancakes in the search box. The Cozy Book Of Winter Drinks by Susann Geiskoph-Hadler has a recipe for a Yule Latte, that you make with eggnog. Sounds like a great drink
for the holidays.


What would Christmas be without turkey? I love eating turkey, I just don't like touching the cold bumpy skin. So at our house we buy the frozen stuffed turkeys, which are actually surprisingly good. If you've never made a turkey before there are plenty of recipes and advice on the e-how website. You can find it at
The Essential Canadian Christmas Cookbook by Lovoni Walker has a delicious sounding roast turkey recipe. It's called herb butter turkey and features a stuffing complete with apricots and pine nuts. Oh, if you're still looking for fruitcake recipes, there's one in this book that's made using condensed milk. Did you notice how I slipped that in there?

Candy canes

Did you know that candy canes used to be solid white? They didn't have a red stripe or peppermint flavouring until the Twentieth Century. In the 1950s Gregory Keller invented a machine to automate candy cane production. For information on how candy canes are manufactured visit
If you'd like to try your hand at making homemade candy canes visit

I wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season. I hope you enjoy the various foods we associate with Christmas, but remember not to overdue it. Best wishes for 2009.

Karen Craib, Library Technician

Monday, 15 December 2008

Sunday December 14th, 2008 Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Every December as the hours of daylight become shorter, I anxiously await the shortest day of the year. I know from that day forward there will be a slow but sure return to the longer days of sunlight and warmth. The solstice is a time of rebirth that leads towards the hopefulness of spring . Next Sunday, December 21 , will be the Winter Solstice, it takes place at 8:46 a.m. E.S.T. Take this week to reflect on the change of seasons and to plant your own hopes for the seasons to come.

How did ancient cultures celebrate the Winter Solstice?

Neolithic Peoples began to erect ceremonial structures to celebrate the changing seasons. On a ridge, twenty-eight miles north of Dublin stands a chamber composed of glacial boulders. Each year for a week before and after the winter solstice the light from the rising sun passes through a boxed slot above the doorway. For about seventeen minutes the chamber is softly lit, illuminating a stone basin and intricate carvings. This prehistoric structure called Newgrange reminds us that this season has long been an important one for the human race. To learn more, read Celebrate the Solstice by Richard Heinberg. To see a video of the 2007 solstice at Newgrange go to

What were earlier celebrations of the Winter Solstice called?

There are a number of earlier celebrations that took place near the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Scandinavians celebrated Yule tide to commemorate the resurrection of the sun as giver of light and warmth. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, dedicated to the god of agriculture and the renewed power of the sun. Persians brought Mithraism and the celebration of Natalis Solis Invicti in honour of Mithras. The early Christian Church did not celebrate Christmas, but by 336 A.D. the church instituted the birth of Jesus as bringing “the light of the world.” In Weird Christmas: A Collection of Curious and Crazy Customs and Coincidences Concerning Christmas by Joey Green, you will find the history of the season and much more seasonal trivia.

How do they celebrate the Winter Solstice in Japan?

Toji is the Japanese celebration which lasts for a few weeks around the solstice. The Japanese celebrated by taking citrus baths, eating pumpkins for good luck, making offerings to one’s ancestors and giving workers a holiday. Large bonfires are made at shrines to encourage the early coming of spring. Learning more about how common holidays are celebrated around the world can help each of us to become aware of the wealth of cultural practices. Look up your favorite celebration in The Folklore of World Holidays, edited by Margaret Read MacDonald .

Is there a fable that we can read aloud about the winter solstice?

From the wonderful Keepers of the Earth series by Michael Caduto and Joseph Bruchac comes the tale, Spring Defeats Winter. The story begins with a white-haired old man who wanders the earth and everywhere he steps the ground grows hard as stone. He is confronted by a young man who is unafraid of his powers, and brings forth the flowers and the warmth of the sun. The book has interesting activities for children to help them to understand the changes of the seasons.

Are there any fiction titles that have solstice celebrations in them?

Try Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher. On this shortest day, a tragedy brings together five people in a neglected estate house near the Scottish fishing town of Creagan. Their meeting will change their lives forever. Solstice Wood by Patricia McKillip, takes you to upstate New York where a group of women knit and weave to keep closed the paths between ours and a more evil world. Drawn into this world, Sylvia Lynn searches for her kidnapped cousin in a magical and haunting realm. For a lighter touch try, A Holly, Jolly Murder by Joan Hess. Bookselller –Sleuth Claire Malloy is invited to a winter solstice celebration at the Sacred Grove. When one of the members is murdered, Claire is on the case. This is a just-right antidote to holiday busy-ness or anytime blahs.

Roberta Casella, Librarian at the Brodie Resource Library

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Sunday December 7th, 2008 Candy

Remember when penny candy was actually a penny? I recall the excitement of making my selection at the candy counter in Walz's store, in Rosslyn Village. You could fit a lot of candy into that little brown bag. I think my favourites were the licorice pipes and the marshmallow strawberries. Candy today is much more spectacular; it fizzes, explodes or paints your tongue a bright colour. Here's to all things candy. Sweet!!!!!

Candyfreak: A Journey Through The Chocolate Underbelly Of America by Steve Almond.

This author loves candy, I mean he really loves candy. Who else keeps a hidden case of a defunct chocolate bar in an undisclosed warehouse? Follow him on a road trip as he visits the smaller manufacturers of candy such as Twin Bing and Goo Goo Clusters (I have a friend who would have loved to take that trip). His seductive descriptions of candy will have you salivating like Pavlov's dog. A deliciously sweet read.

Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke.

This is a sweet treat for mystery lovers. It features 3 novellas plus holiday recipes. In Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke, bakery owner Hannah Swensen hunts for the killer of a local department store owner, after a trail of candy canes leads to his body in a snow bank. In The Dangers of Candy Canes by Laura Levine, freelance writer Jaine Austen solves the murder of a wealthy suburbanite who fell off his roof while installing a giant candy cane. In Candy Canes Of Christmas Past by Leslie Meier, Lucy Stone delves into a murder that happened 20 years ago. The victim was the mother of town librarian, Miss Tilly and the only clue was a smashed glass candy cane, found by her body.

The Candy Darlings by Christine Walde.

The death of her mother and a move to another city turns a young girl into the new girl at school. Her chances of popularity are dashed when she becomes friends with an outcast, Megan Chalmers. Megan has a big candy addiction and she and the new girl become targets of a group of girls who rule the school. Megan urges the new girl to start eating candy, to cope with her pain. It's a theme reminiscent of Mean Girls, but follows life in the real world as well as the fantasy world that candy craving Megan creates.

Sweet!: The Delicious Story Of Candy by Ann Love and Jane Drake.

This children's book has an excellent history of all things sweet. It's full of interesting facts, for instance the Gummi Worm debuted in the 1980s, but gummi candy dates back to Germany in 1922. I was surprised to learn that one of my favourites the Marshmallow Peep has been around since 1954. Here's something to chew on, in the early 1900s Wrigleys was the first to advertise gum on billboards. Last year I started buying the new 5 gum in the United States. Today some of the flavours are available here, but not the cinnamon one (Flare). It's delicious and seems to get hotter as you chew it. I guess you could say I'm chewing bootleg gum. See their website at : The oldest brand in the Wrigley family is Juicy Fruit, which was launched in 1893. The Wrigley website has a history of all their brands as well as photos showing how their packaging has changed over the years.

If you're looking for places to buy retro candy such as Black Jack or Beeman's gum, Pixy Stix or Sen Sen try searching in Google under "hard to find candy". You'll find many sites such as They feature grab bags and samplers of candies from the 50’s and 60’s, sounds like the perfect gift for anyone having a big birthday.

I hope this article has stimulated your sweet tooth and your appetite to read. The next time you stop by the library pick up one of these titles. Then grab yourself something sugary, sit back and enjoy.

Karen Craib is a Library Technician

Monday, 1 December 2008

Sunday November 30th, 2008 Christmas Movies

Christmas is a great time for movies. It seems to me that people go to the movies more at Christmas than at other time of the year that’s why most of the Oscar-nominated films are released during the Christmas season. People give movies as gifts, and therefore many movies are watched at home after Christmas day. Just the fact that the kids are home from school drives up the movie viewing!

Many family Christmas traditions include the watching of classic Christmas films as the “big day” approaches. My sister-in-law must see “A White Christmas”. I on the other hand, have to get a Grinch and Charlie Brown fix in before I officially say the Christmas season has begun. And of course, the networks show all the classic Christmas flicks starting usually around now and running through all of the Christmas season. ABC began its Christmas movie season on Nov 16 with Santa Baby.

It has become my habit to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” late on Christmas eve as it is invariably playing on some channel at some point. I will admit that I hadn’t seen that movie in it’s entirety until a few years ago, having always divided my time between watching it and attempting to construct some toy to put under the tree – a toy that came with instructions that said “some assembly required”! I wouldn’t class 3 hours to construct a Fisher-Price Castle as some assembly – I’d say that was a lot! Watching Jimmy Stewart’s hardships helped to ease my construction frustration!

I thought it would be helpful to list some of the “best” Christmas films. “Best” is a very subjective term, so of course, there is much debate over the best. Here are two lists that I located. Perhaps a merging of the two will help you in your quest for your Christmas flick this year, or at least validate your all time favourite.

According to a 2005 (Internet Movie Database) survey of their members, the 2005 top ten is as follows:
  1. Christmas Story, 1983 The heart-warming tale of nine-year-old Ralphie Parker and his childhood Christmas in the 1940s.
  2. It's a Wonderful Life, 1943 An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed.
  3. Die Hard, 1988/Die Hard 2, 1990 Off-duty cop John McClane overcomes terrorists and saves lives - all in time for Christmas.
  4. Christmas Vacation, 1989 The Grizwold family's perfect Christmas crumbles around their ears, with a helping hand from hapless dad Clark (Chevy Chase).
  5. Love Actually, 2003 The inter-twining love lives of eight very different couples come to a head during a dramatic Christmas in London.
  6. The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993 Tim Burton's mystical and ghoulish animated horror. The perfect antidote to an overload of festive sentimentality.
  7. Home Alone, 1990Macaulay Culkin is left at home at Christmas and has to defend his home against a pair of persistent burglars.
  8. Bad Santa, 2003 A miserable conman and his pint size partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious as the wicked Santa.
  9. Scrooged, 1988 Fantastic take on the Charles Dickens tale, with Bill Murray playing a selfish TV executive who is haunted by three spirits bearing moral lessons on Christmas Eve.
  10. The Muppet Christmas Carol, 1992 Jim Henson's animated heroes turn Dickens multi-coloured, with a little help from Sir Michael Caine as Scrooge. has it’s own list.
  1. It’s a Wonderful Life
  2. Miracle on 34th Street
  3. A Christmas Story
  4. Gremlins
  5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  6. Nightmare Before Christmas
  7. The Santa Claus
  8. Muppets Christmas Carol
Most of these titles are available at the library as well as some classic titles that I think were missed such as Charlie Brown Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas – granted, these both are TV specials - Holiday Inn, A White Christmas, and Little Women. All of these great Christmas films are also available to help welcome in the Christmas season. Enjoy and all the best for a happy and healthy Holiday Season however you chose to celebrate it.

Barb Philp, Head of Adult Services

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Sunday November 23rd, 2008 Hair

We recently had a retirement party for three long term staff members, whom I wish well in the next chapter of their lives. As I looked around the room I said - "There's a lot of nice hair here tonight." The person sitting next to me said, "You should write a column on hair." It felt like I was in an episode of Seinfeld, you remember the show about nothing. Like the potato, hair is so versatile, there's so much you can do with it. It can be curled or straightened, coloured or highlighted, you can add hair extensions or a fall. Here's to hair.

Patty Jane's House Of Curl by Lorna Landvik.
This was the first book I read by Lorna (now that I've met her I feel like I can call her that). This story revolves around Patty Jane and her sister Harriet. On the eve of the birth of her first child, Patty Jane's husband walks off into the Minnesota sunset, leaving her alone to raise the baby. After attending beauty school she opens the House of Curl. Here you can get a perm, drink coffee, and catch up on the latest gossip. The cast of quirky characters keeps the story interesting and fun to read. Do I think you should read this book? You betcha.

Great Hair: Elegant Styles For Every Occasion by Davis Biton.
This book features 100 beautiful styles to choose from. You'll be wearing designs such as the woven basket, the cascading waterfall or checkerboard braids. Colourful photographs and step by step instructions show you how to create the designs. . If the styles are too difficult to do at home, you can always take it with you to your hair salon. The next time you have a special event to attend have a look at this book.

Hair magazine.
Mary J.L. Black now carries Hair magazine and you can borrow back issues. If you're looking for a change, check out this magazine before you go to the salon. It gives you ideas for cuts, colours and the latest trends.

Health & Wellness Resource Center.
Searching this database in our Virtual Collection, under the term hair, finds all sorts of things. The books & fact sheets section has an article on The Myth Of Stress And Hair Color. Did you know men turn gray sooner than women? Can you reverse turning gray? No, but in some cases after chemotherapy the hair comes back in its former colour. Can stress turn hair gray? Not usually, but sometimes an emotionally stressful event can trigger the loss of dark hair making any gray or white hair much more noticeable. The article states that raising children doesn't turn your hair gray, but there may be parents out there that would dispute that.

Hair Donations
Do you know someone who has lost their hair due to chemotherapy? Have you ever considered donating your hair? If you have, the Canadian Cancer Society has information on how to do this, and don't worry if your hair isn't long enough, you can help or give support in other ways. Visit their website here.

Hairstylist Appreciation Day
According to Chase's Calendar Of Events, each year on April 30 we celebrate the people who make us look good and feel great, and in some cases that's a very big challenge. So the next time you run to a stylist with a hair emergency, remember to say thank you. We've come a long way from the days of the smelly Toni home perm and tight pink
rubber curlers that pulled your hair. With the holiday season coming up if you're wondering how much you should tip your stylist, the consistent answer seems to be the cost of a visit to the salon.

So whether you want hair like Posh or Rihanna or maybe Amy Winehouse (I think she really believes - The higher the hair, the closer to God), it's up to you. I'm going to end this column with my favourite quote from Sam Malone on Cheers. He said - "There are no bad boys, just boys with bad haircuts."

Karen Craib Library Technician

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sunday November 16th, 2008 Memories of Christmas Toys Past

Late one night I started thinking of the Christmases of my childhood and remembering favourite toys. Everyone has fond memories of special toys they loved to play with. Toys stimulated the imagination and could entertain you for hours. Here were some of my favourites.


1959 saw the introduction of Barbie, the teen-age fashion doll. I loved playing with Barbies more than anything else. I had a lot of them: Barbie, Ken, Allan, Midge, Skipper, even Tutti. My Barbie had an orange convertible and lived in a fold out home, full of cardboard furniture. If you're wondering what your old Barbie or other toys are worth the library carries books with toy price lists, such as the 2008 edition of Toys & Prices. It also has references to books and web sites and tips for collecting.

Paper Dolls

Paper dolls were popular when I was a child. One year I got Sleeping Beauty paper dolls for my birthday, I loved the fairy godmothers. I also enjoyed cutting out people and furniture from the Eaton's catalogue to play with. According to the book Schroeder's Collectible Toys, Antique To Modern: Price Guide, paper dolls can be worth between twenty and three hundred dollars. This applies to uncut dolls. If you played with your dolls they aren't worth as much. If you'd like to read Paper Dolls Of The 1960s, 1970s And 1980s Identification & Value Guide by Carol Nichols, we can try to borrow it for you.

Kenner Easy-Bake Oven

In the December 2007 issue of Canadian Living magazine, Rick Mercer spoke of the Easy-Bake oven he had as a child. His cakes took hours to bake since his Dad put in a 40 watt bulb, instead of a 100 watt. Years later he realized that his father was probably just afraid that he would burn himself. In 2003 David Hoffman published The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet. It features recipes for appetizers, main dishes and decadent cakes by top chefs. We don't carry this book, but if you still have your old easy-bake oven and are interested, we can borrow it from out of town.

Batteries Required

I had some amazing battery operated toys that my mother bought in New York. There was a white bear wearing blue coveralls that rocked in a rocker while talking on a telephone. I also had a monkey in a red plaid shirt that flipped tiny magnetic hamburgers in a frying pan. How I wish I still had these toys. Do you still have old battery operated toys? The 2008 edition of Toys & Prices, has a list of the top ten toys, in mint condition, of course. Number one is the Smoking Popeye from the 1950s, valued at $3,775.

Tea Sets

When I was little my grandfather made me a table and chair set that was great for tea parties. It didn't matter whether the guests were dolls, stuffed toys or real people. I'd put out a little tea set and easily imagine myself having tea and cake. I have a friend who excels at tea parties. Her table is always set perfectly and she's a great hostess. If you haven't outgrown tea parties check out author Tracy Stern's book Tea Party: 20 Themed Tea Parties With Recipes For Every Occasion, From Fabulous Showers To Intimate Gatherings.

Give-A-Show Projector

It was like having a movie theater in your own home. In 1960 Kenner created the Give-A-Show Projector and it was popular for the next three decades. It was a combination of slide projector and flashlight. You turned down the lights, aimed it at a blank wall and let the fun begin. As you slowly pulled the slide through the projector, a mini movie played on the wall. Kenner had the rights to feature cartoon characters such as Mighty Mouse and Bullwinkle.

For more on toy history visit These are just a few of the toys I loved. I hope it reminded you of some of your favourites. Maybe right now your children or grandchildren are making memories with toys they received last Christmas. With luck, maybe they'll let you join them.

Karen Craib, Library Technician

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday November 9th, 2008 Walk a Mile in Someone Else's Shoes

Have your ever wondered what it would be like to live someone else's life? A number of people have done just that and wrote about their experiences. As a social experiment, this is a valuable way to discover how others are treated and to bring about a change in how we think. As the saying goes, you never really know what it is like until you walk a
mile in my shoes.

The classic title Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin is an exploration of what it feels like to be black in America. Many of us remember this title as part of our classroom curriculum. A journalist, John Griffin, leaves behind his privileged life as a white man in the Southern states to immerse himself into black society in New Orleans. He darkens his skin with the aid of medication and dyes. It is the year 1959, when restrooms and drinking fountains were separate for the races. Just finding a seat on a bus, a restaurant to eat in, or a place to wash his hands proves difficult. The injustice, loneliness, degradation and discrimination experienced by Griffin is astounding. While it has been almost 50 years since this book was written it remains a timeless classic and is well worth reading again.

Is it possible to make a living earning the minimum wage in America? Barbara Ehrenreich is determined to find out. Nickel and Dimed, On Not Getting By In America describes her firsthand experiences as a low income earner. Using $1000 as start up funds she must find an apartment, pay rent, food bills, health care and utilities all while earning approximately $7 an hour. She takes on lower skilled jobs such as a cleaning woman, a nursing home assistant and a position at a Wal-Mart, and proves that lower wage work is just as challenging and trying as any skilled job. Barbara quickly discovers it is extremely difficult to live independently on low wages and in one instance must work two jobs to make ends meet. Seeing that she barely makes it by without children and transportation problems to figure out, one wonders how people with families survive.

Wife Swap. Okay, I know it's a reality television show but it's entertaining and the experience often proves educational. Two women swap homes, children, and husbands for two weeks to see how someone else lives. For the first week the women must live and do as the other wife does. For the second week they can impose their ways and values onto the other family. At the end of the experience each wife starts to see that maybe their way of doing things is not always the right way and that there is room for improvement. What did it take to get there besides lots of drama, fighting and a few tears? Just a couple weeks of walking in someone else's shoes. The details and schedule for Wife Swap can be found at the ABC Web site.

For one year A.J. Jacobs lives his life according to all of the commandments of the Gible. The result is his memoir titled The Year of Living Biblically. As research he not only reads the bible but draws upon the advice of various spiritual leaders. His following of the ten commandments and a literal interpretation of the old testament includes never trimming his beard, wearing white, inviting strangers into his home and writing spiritual wisdoms on doorjambs. Jacobs starts the journey as a non-believer hoping to gain some spiritual insight and find that something which is missing. Can the experience of following biblical laws change his perspective?

The concept of switching bodies completely through some supernatural phenomenon, in this case fortune cookies, is the premise of the popular youth novel Freaky Friday, by Mary Rodgers. A mother and daughter at odds with each other wake up one morning inside each other's bodies. What ensues is a comical and entertaining look at what it means to be someone else for a day. They quickly realize that not everything is as easy as it looks and they walk away from the experience with a greater respect for each other. Also made into a movie, the dvd version is available @ your library.

Michelle Paziuk, Library Technician at the Brodie Resource

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Sunday November 2nd, 2008 Guy Fawkes Day

"Remember remember the fifth of November, with gunpowder, treason and plot...".
Every November 5th, I find myself remembering this little verse I learned from my British parents. I then have the urge to tell people about Guy Fawkes Day, and this year I'm going to tell you about it in this column!

Who was Guy Fawkes?

Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), a devout and militant Catholic in an age when the Protestant Church of England had solidified its hold on British religious life, is remembered as the individual who tried to perpetrate what is thought to have been one of history's most notorious terrorist acts.
Source: Biography Resource Centre (online in the Virtual Collection at

What was the Gunpowder Plot?

The Gunpowder Plot, also known as the Powder Treason, was a failed conspiracy to blow up Britain's Houses of Parliament on November 5, 1605. Fawkes, lurking in a cellar below the Parliament buildings, was arrested as he prepared to ignite the explosion.

Source: Biography Resource Centre (online in the Virtual Collection at

What went wrong with the plan?

The Powder Treason began to unravel on the night of October 26, with the delivery of an anonymous letter to a Catholic nobleman, Lord Monteagle, advising him to concoct an excuse to avoid the opening of the Parliament session on November 5. Monteagle informed Sir Robert Cecil of the letter's contents, and Cecil informed the King. Continuing uncertainty over who wrote the letter, together with signs that pointed to its being a forgery, have given rise over the centuries to theories that the Gunpowder Plot was devised not by Catholic militants but by Cecil himself, with the intention of permanently crippling Britain's Catholics in the ensuing uproar. In this version of events (promoted in recent times by Francis Edwards), Fawkes and Catesby were double agents. The preponderance of historical opinion holds that the Treason was a genuine terrorist plot, but the debate continues. Whatever the case, the cellars beneath the Parliament buildings were searched on the night of November 4, and Fawkes was discovered, along with the gunpowder.

Source: Biography Resource Centre (online in the Virtual Collection at

What happens on Guy Fawkes Day now?

English children today celebrate Guy Fawkes Day by making huge rag dolls called "guys" and calling out, "A penny for the guy?" to passersby. The money collected is used to buy fireworks, which are set off on the night of the fifth. The English also light huge bonfires and toss the rag "guys" into the flames.

Source: “Why the English Remember the Fifth of November”, L.L. Russell,
Faces: People, Places, and Cultures, General OneFile (online in the Virtual Collection at

A nursery rhyme was written to ensure that this form of treason would never be forgotten, hence the words "Remember, remember the 5th of November" sometimes referred to as APlease to remember the fifth of November@. It serves as a warning to each new generation that treason would never be forgiven or forgotten.

The whole rhyme, which I forgot, is:

Remember, remember the fifth of November, Gunpowder treason and plot.
We see no reason Why gunpowder treason Should ever be forgot!
Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent To blow up king and parliament.
Three score barrels were laid below To prove old England's overthrow.
By god's mercy he was catch'd With a darkened lantern and burning match.
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring.
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king.
And what shall we do with him? Burn him!

Source: (This is a fun website, where you can send Guy Fawkes Day e-cards to your friends, and purchase Guy Fawkes Day paraphernalia including "Fawkesy Lady" mouse pads and "Guy Wear" baby rompers. Talk about never forgetting!)

Joanna Aegard, Head of Virtual Library Services

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Sunday October 26th The Stock Market

As with most other Canadians, I have felt some angst during the last few weeks with all the ups and downs of the tock market. Most of us can discuss RRSPs and mortgages, and know something of the larger economic issues, but are a bit frightened by volatility of today's market and want to be reassured as to the outcome. One of the ways that you can come to terms with the issues is by learning more about it. Start with the knowledge you have, and look for books, magazines and online articles that will expand your knowledge. There are excellent resources at your library that can increase your knowledge and help you to adjust to the new realities.

How does the U.S. dollar figure in the issues?
Once looked upon as the strongest and most powerful currency in the world, the U.S. currency is under review by the financial world. For a better understanding, Craig Karmin's Biography of the Dollar is a great guide to understanding the way both the U.S. and the world economies work and the U.S. dollar's role in keeping the economic wheels turning. Karmin's best skill is his ability to take issues that would seem complex and opaque and make them transparent and relevant.

caused the credit crisis?
Financier, George Soros, points out that the accepted paradigm is that all markets tend toward equilibrium and deviations are random, false and misleading. In his book, The New Paradigm for Financial Markets, he explores the implications of how economists perceive the credit crisis and want to resolve it. Interweaving politics with economics, Soros shows the role that greed and power have played in placing us in the current predicament. Both philosophical and practical, Soros, with his unrivaled experience in the financial markets places the current crisis in context with the decades of boom and bust cycles.

Where do environmental issues intersect with the financial issues?

Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman explains that "America has a problem and the world has a problem." America's problem is that it has lost its way in recent years partly because of 9/11 and partly because of the bad habits that have built up over the last three decades. The World also has a problem: It is getting hot, flat, and crowded. That is, global warming, the stunning rise of middle classes
all over the world, and rapid population growth have converged in away that could make our planet dangerously unstable. Environmentalism isn't just a survival imperative: it may be the best way to make America richer, more productive and secure.

What has been the role of debt in today's world?
For an interesting and literary take on the issue, pick up Margaret Atwood's Payback: Debt and the Shadows Side of Wealth. Atwood mixes autobiography, literary criticism and anthropology in an examination of debt as a concept deeply rooted in human behaviour. She builds an argument that wryly advances the familiar thesis that what goes around comes around. This is a timely subject during our current period of economic upheaval caused by the collapse of a system of interlocking debts.

Are there new biographies on some of the great financial geniuses?
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder, was published this September. In an authorized biography, Schroeder describes how this frugal, driven billionaire developed his personal philosophy and distinctive business style from his experiences. This book explains how Warren Buffett's principles and ideas enriched the lives of those around him while he created the most interesting American success story of our time. Another great biography is Relentless by and about Ted Rogers. Roger's company owns our country's biggest cable TV and wireless phone companies. His company has 52 AM and FM radio stations, five Citytv stations, several national magazines including Chatelaine and Macleans . His life storycredits his family history and values gained there as central to his success. A story of Main Street and Bay Street, this is a chance to learn more about Canadian entrepreneurship.

Roberta Casella, Librarian at the Brodie Resource Library

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Sunday October 19th Keen on Green

If you have visited the Library recently, you no doubt have heard about our Keen on Green campaign. With this initiative, we are trying to help to reduce consumption and the size of our carbon footprint here in Thunder Bay. Just by borrowing books or DVDs or other materials from the Library you are helping to do this and you can earn recognition for it with a special “green” card which gets marked every time you borrow. You can get extra points for other green activities too, such as riding your bicycle to the library or taking the bus. The campaign continues until December when we will choose one randomly drawn green card from the completed ones which you submit, and award that lucky person with an Energy Star laptop computer!

At the same time, we are highlighting our green resources. You might be surprised to learn what is available at the Library. Here are some highlights and interesting facts about what is available for you as you work towards the greening of your own life and that of our community.

Do you have any information programs?

Earthwise Thunder Bay has been presenting a series of ecologically-themed programs each month. For instance, on October 23 at the Waverley Library at 7pm they are showing The Story of Stuff, a documentary about the concept of Zero Waste.

What do you do with old books you no longer want to keep at the Library?

We recycle! Those items which are withdrawn from our collections are sent to the Friends of the Library Book Store in Victoriaville where you can pick up some great bargains very cheaply.

Do you have books to help children understand the importance of a greener earth?

What children can experience, they will understand and for that reason I would like to point out one very special book for children Eco-Fun by Dr. David Suzuki and Kathy Vanderlinden. It has some amazing projects, experiments and games for children to learn about our Earth and to understand our connection with it. Pachamamama: Our Earth- Our Future is another great title, but with a different approach. It is a United Nations-produced book which combines factual information about freshwater, smog, urbanization and other issues, along with artwork and writing by children from around the world. There are hundreds of other titles too but these two are especially notable and recommended.

Do you accept books as donations?

No one likes to get rid of their old books, least of all a book-lover as most of our library patrons are. Yes, we accept books as donations if they are in still in good condition. We may select some to put into the library collection, or send some to the Friends bookstore for possible resale. Either way, they are put to good use.

Do you use recyclables for your programs?

We certainly do. We have made reindeer puppets from mens’ old ties (thanks Dad!), wind chimes from bottle caps, bird feeders from milk cartons, pillows for teens from their old jeans….you name it, we’ve recycled it. Just yesterday kids were making sock puppets at the Brodie library. Look at our website for information about other upcoming children’s programs.

There is much more I could say on this subject such as how we lend out electronic energy meters (thanks Eco-Superior!) but I have to stop here so I can get back to working on the rehabilitation of a papier-mache puppet from the 1970s. With a little new papier-mache on the face, some re-painting of her hands and a new apron and scarf from the scrap bag, she can have new life as Strega Nona, star of an upcoming puppet show at the Library. Remember to stay Keen on Green and visit the Library soon.

By Angela Meady, Head of Children’s & Youth Services for the Thunder Bay Public Library

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Sunday October 12th, 2008 Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! We haven’t featured Thanksgiving as a topic for about 10 years so I think it’s about time to do it again. Ten years ago most of the sources quoted were book resources but now you can find pretty much everything using the Internet. So I thought that just for fun I’d redo the column from ten years ago and use both book and online sources.

What is the origin of Thanksgiving in Canada?

According to The Canadian Encyclopedia, this holiday draws upon 3 traditions: 1) European harvest celebrations, 2) formal observances such as the 1578 celebration for safe passage by Martin Frobisher in the eastern Arctic, and 3) the well-known first harvest celebration by the Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1621. (see also:

Here are some other significant dates:

1763 – citizens of Halifax celebrate the end of the Seven Years’ War (The Canadian Encyclopedia )
1871 – a day of thanks is given for the restoration to health of the Prince of Wales (High Days and Holidays in Canada; according to the Canadian Heritage web site, this event is listed as taking place in 1872
1879 – Parliament declares a day of Thanksgiving on Nov. 6 (The Canadian Encyclopedia)
1957 – Parliament proclaims the second Monday in October as Thanksgiving Day (The Canadian Encyclopedia )

Where can I find Thanksgiving recipes, crafts and stories?

Check out books like Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook, Thanksgiving Fun, and A Pioneer Thanksgiving. A simple subject search in our online catalogue for Thanksgiving will bring up a nice list of books, cd books, dvds, videos and e-books. Search Thanksgiving in Yahoo’s directory for good links to Internet resources.

Why do we eat turkey at Thanksgiving?

It’s commonly believed that turkey was consumed at the first American Thanksgiving in 1621. (Holidays of Legend). It is not known whether turkey was actually eaten during that feast but in the journal of Plymouth Colony's governor William Bradford he writes that he sent out four men to catch game and wild turkey did exist in the region at that time (Oxford Companion to Food).

Happy Turkey Day!

Sylvia Renaud, Head of Reference Services

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Sunday October 5th, 2008 Decorating on a Dime

One of the season's benefits of spending more time indoors is the delight of inexpensive decorating on a dime! It's easy to associate the term interior decorating with the possibility of spending exorbitant amounts of money. In the throes of making our living space more esthetically pleasing, going over budget can be as natural as the sun coming up! To help you make some excellent design decisions, and to kick start your creative flow, the Thunder Bay Public Library abounds with material to assist in inexpensive and practical ways to spruce up your indoor zones.

There are many reasons why you may want to change the interior look and feel of your home. I recall reading at my kitchen table last fall and as I glanced up, I caught a plastic hockey puck before it hit the wall. Plastic pucks reduce the possibility of injury for youth playing mini-stick hockey indoors, however; they wreck a great deal of havoc on a paint job. As I followed the trajectory of that plastic puck, the target was yet another paint chip that needed fixing. My eyes then averted to all the paint chips in my kitchen and I resolved to clean upby painting and color coordinating everything at the lowest cost possible.

Walking through retail stores to obtain color ideas, and bringing home paint swatches from paint stores can be helpful. This can also result in an overwhelming desire to hire an interior decorator, seamstress and painter because all the sudden my belief that Martha Stewart or Debbie Travis have nothing on me has hit the wall! I developed an
amazing imitation of the lady in the home depot commercial that flails her hands a lot when she's trying to explain to the sales associate what she's attempting to do. At this point, I return to my step by step practicality and organization skills which are of great assistance while working in the library, and much to my relief are very beneficial to employ for creating less-costly and coordinated decorating.

I believe the approach to decorating needs to be as methodical and logical as it does creative and whimsical! To start the brush stroking I began by researching some excellent resources such as: Roney Carley's 2008 brand book called [The Nest] Home Design Handbook: Simple Ways to Decorate, Organize, and Personalize your Place, Heather Paper's latest book Decorating Ideas that Work: Creative Design Solutions for Your Home, and another recent volume by Carol Spier, The Apartment Book: Smart Decorating for Spaces Large and Small. I found the guidance and images in these books to be exceptionally beneficial in helping me make decisions about use of space and color.

With the frequency in the change of color trends, it can be difficult to choose combinations of colors that will maintain a classic appeal yet also go with the trends of the time. With this being my goal, I started collecting material that would contribute to deciding on a lovely medley of palette blends. Better Homes and Gardens New Color Schemes Made Easy is a brand new book available that is full of fresh ideas blended with classic simplicity that will make you want to pick up a paint brush! Amy Wax's Can't Fail ColorSchemes is also a new resource to help in this zone of the decorating world. There are some amazing paint techniques to give old furniture a face lift or to add appeal to an accent wall and we have the latest resources at the public library to show you how to pull the artist out in you!
Lesley Riva can show you some fun and innovative ideas in her book, Paint Style: the New Approach to Decorative Paint Finishes, which is again a brand new resource which could be right at your fingertips.

From audio books on Tuscan decorating ideas to surfing our virtual databases for many of the top ten decorating periodicals for decoration inspiration you're bound to find something that works for you! If you would like to create beautiful window treatments, slipcovers and pillows we can suggest many new publications that will help you put the finishing touches to your new look. Whether you're changing one room, your child's space, or all your living areas, come and see the multitude of items we have to kick start your plans!

Raegan Rocco, Library Technician

Sunday, 28 September 2008

September 28th, 2008 Book Clubs

Do you love to read? Have you ever read a really great book and then wanted to share it with someone? Have you dver read just one paragraph or sentence out of a book and thought it was just too good to keep to yourself? If you answered yes to any of these questions then perhaps a book club is the perfect thing for you, and there is one out there just waiting for you. It’s that simple.

The Thunder Bay Public Library has on its website several ways for you to get involved in reading and book clubs. On the main page, under the WHAT’S ON tab, you will see a number of exciting opportunities for you to partake in what the library has to offer. Listed on the left amongst COMPUTER CLASSES and SPECIAL EVENTS is the BOOK CLUBS Tab. If this comes as a big surprise for you, then you are in for a treat. A myriad of exciting opportunities is about to unfold before your very eyes.

First up is the CASUAL CLERISY CLUB, a book club open to all, that meets on the second Tuesday of every month at noon, in the Auditorium at the Waverley Resource Library. You are welcome to unwrap your lunch and take part in their amazing fall lineup:

October 14: Focus on an Artist
November 18: Peace or War Books
December 9: Water for Elephants (Meet at the 55-Plus Centre for a Christmas Luncheon)

Along the same lines is the NOVEL LUNCH BUNCH. Add the third Monday of each month at 1 p.m. into the Mary J.L. Black Library, stir and repeat. This line-up rivals the first in both scope and interest level:

October 20: Kinship: Family Stories
November 17: Love Stories

If you already have your own book club but are just trying to keep it fresh, then you could network with other book clubs and explore what’s out there. The Library has created a database of local book clubs and would like to hear from you and yours. In this way you could be added to the database, and become part of a directory that will keep you informed of future author visits and new library services that may be of interest to you.

Perhaps your book club has everything in terms of people and ideas, but you need some new and exciting book titles. Try,, or With numerous books at the TBPL covering a variety of topics concerning the subject of book clubs, you will undoubtedly find what you need. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Reading Group by Patrick Sauer is available as an electronic resource through NetLibrary.

The Kids' Book Club Book: Reading Ideas, Recipes, Activities, and Smart Tips for Organizing Terrific Kids' Book Clubs by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp, explores different ideas for kids who would like to start their own book club. And The Book Club Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to the Reading Group Experience written by by Diana Loevy would be another ideal choice.

Once your book club has decided on a book, date, time and place, there’s always the problem of finding a book for each member. The library has solved that problem with the BOOK CLUBS IN A BAG. Each bag contains ten paperback copies of one title, discussion questions, author information, and reviews for use by book clubs. There are more than 50 titles including Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen all the way through the alphabet to The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald and Welcome to the World Baby Girl by Fannie Flagg. You can place a hold on any of these titles with your library card.

Need a place for your book club to gather? Look no further. TBPL has meeting rooms to offer book clubs (or any groups for that matter). Check under the SERVICES / MEETING ROOMS page on our Web site for details. The Community Room at Brodie is comfortable and the atmosphere pleasant for small groups.

For those who love to read but whose time is limited and would prefer to kick back and enjoy their book club in the comfort of their home, there’s the ONLINE BOOK CLUB. You can sign up for this on the TBPL website. It allows you to sample your books before you commit to obtaining them. Each day, Monday through Friday, subscribers are emailed a five minute portion of a book. By the end of the week, subscribers have read two to three chapters from the book and if they like it, they can borrow it from the library, or fill out a request if the library does not have it. New books are featured weekly. There are eleven book clubs to choose from, and include something for every age and taste; fiction, non-fiction and even audio books for you to listen to on your computer or MP3 player. There is even a Pre Pub Club that lets you read books not yet published.

There’s more! For those on Facebook, there’s the visual bookshelf with millions of books. You can see what your friends are reading, and create your own lists. Say you’re about to embark on your next book which seems daunting at 900 pages, you can read reviews by those who have already finished it. You can also write your own reviews and recommend titles. The possibilities with TBPL are endless, so join in. There really are places to go, people to see and books to read!

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Joseph Addison

Caron Naysmith, Supply Staff

Sunday, 21 September 2008


What would we do without socks? They keep us warm and dry. Some people have a lot more than others, maybe even three drawers full. That's a lot of socks. There are styles for special occasions such as Christmas, Easter and even National Pig Day (the manufacturers just don't know about that last one). You can even buy super soft hydrating socks with aloe. I hear they're wonderful. What do you do if your wool sock gets a hole in it? Do you throw it out? My father used to darn his. If you want to find out how visit ehow.

Buying Socks

If you're shopping for socks take a peek at the Podiatry Sourcebook, edited by Ivy L. Alexander. It has a chapter on selecting socks, covering topics such as fiber content, construction and finishes. It has advice on laundering, such as using warm, not hot water to prevent color bleeding. There's no advice however on how to make sure that when you put two socks in the dryer, two socks come back out. It's one of life's great mysteries. We carry this book in the Reference Department.

Making Socks

If you'd like to try your hand at knitting your own socks we carry titles such as Easy Knitted Socks: Fun And Fashionable Designs For The Novice Knitter by Jeanette Trotman. Getting Started Knitting Socks by Ann Budd features photographs, drawings and detailed simple steps that will have you making socks in no time. You can make striped, ribbed, boucle, even very feminine herringbone lace socks. These are the kind of socks you could give as a gift and not hear a disappointed "Oh socks!" Did you know you can even join a Sock Of The Month Club? Every month they send a kit containing a pattern and yarn right to your door. A quick Google search under "sock of the month kits" will help get you started. Before you know it you'll be impressing all of your friends.

Books About Socks

Timothy Cox Will Not Change His Socks by Robert Kinerk. Youngsters will enjoy this book. Chaos ensues when Timothy decides not to change his socks for a month. As time passes he's banned from school and his parents banish him to the far side of the yard. This zany story is told in a fun rhyming format.

Sock by Penn Jillette. This story has an unusual twist. It's the tale of a New York City police diver and his buddy Dickie. What's so unusual? Dickie who is also the narrator, is a sock monkey. When a former lover is found dead in the Hudson River, the team sets out to find her killer. The author of this book is magician Jillette Penn of Penn & Teller.

Sock Monkeys

There are fun things you can do with socks, such as making a sock monkey. If you'd like to try making one there is a free pattern on the following website - I found an interesting article on sock monkey history. A woman in Memphis created the first one from the red heeled socks made by the Nelson Knitting Company. After viewing the monkey, the company patented it in 1953 and first gave them away as promotional items to department stores. The patent has long since expired. If you'd like to read the entire article, just do a keyword search under sock monkeys in the General OneFile database, located in our Virtual Collection. The article is called "Folks still go bananas over sock monkeys."

Sock Programs

On Saturday October 18 we'll be having a children's program featuring socks, called Silly Sock Creatures. It takes place at the Brodie Resource Library at 2:30 p.m. and is for children 8 and over. You do not have to pre-register.

Well I hope you have a whole new appreciation for socks. The next time you slip on a pair of homemade ones, think about the time and love that went into making them. I hope this column knocked your socks off. Sorry I couldn't resist that.

Karen Craib Library Technician

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Sunday September 14th, 2008 Hurricanes

Sitting here looking out my window at the gentle swish of the wind through the trees as the first of the yellowing leaves fall to the ground, it is almost impossible to comprehend the ferocity and damage that can be done when as swirling winds meet warm ocean waters. The series of hurricanes that are, currently, bearing down on the Caribbean and southern US demonstrate the fragility of life on our ever changing planet.

Whether it’s called a hurricane, typhoon or tropical cyclone, depends on where you are on the planet but the devastation is the same. The topic of the weather has fascinated man since the beginning of time and as the world becomes an ever smaller planet the natural disasters faced in one part of the world have taken on global significance. The library is full of new materials that explore both the tragedies and the triumphs of the human spirit that occur when a disaster strikes. In the meantime, put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes and enjoy the gentle fall breeze.

The Encylopedia of Hurricanes, Typhoons and Cyclones by David Longshore, will provide an excellent beginning to understanding everything about storms, with over 200 entries that cover hurricanes in science, history, culture and folklore. Longstore explores the basic facts, like what was the biggest hurricane (Hurricane Camille, 1969), the deadliest (San Calixto II, 1780, with over 25,000 dead), and the costliest (Hurricane Katrina, 2005 with over 96 billion dollars of damage). The encyclopedia is a full a to z guide, that discusses all aspects of a hurricane, from the naming of, to the instruments used to track the storms, to the zoology of the animals whose behavior is studied as harbingers of coming storms.

For students and budding scientists that are interested in studying storms, or even for parents that are looking to remove the fears of their youngsters, an excellent source of information is Hurricane Force: in the Path of America’s Deadliest Storms by Joseph B. Treaster. Treaster investigates the weather factor necessary to spawn a meteorological monster, how scientists plot the paths and potential power of storms, the effects and aftermath of a hurricane as well as a look at precautions for the future. The book included a large number of colour photographs, maps and diagrams to help visual learners understand the dynamics of a storm.

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle over Global Warming by Chris Mooney explores the changes in the world’s weather patterns and how this change is becoming the next political battleground. Examining the split in science between those who believe the field of study should be rooted in the careful collection of data and observations (meteorologists) and those who prefer theory-based deductions from the laws of physics (climatologists); and how governments are using this debate to avoid responsibility in dealing with climate change. Storm World also looks back over the last 30 years of research into global climate as a single, evolving system in which there are more frequent and larger hurricanes, and the modeling that is predicting the appearance of “hypercanes”, in the near future that will dwarf the worst of known disasters.

The dvd, Blue Planet, focuses entirely on the oceans and all the life that depend on it. The dvd which is a companion piece to BBC’s Planet Earth is a masterpiece of cinematography and over the 4 discs captures the oceans of the world and all its life from the tiniest of plankton to the teeming life of a coral reef. Looking at the currents and the weather , the rain and the storms at sea, the dvd shows the beauty and the terror of a developing hurricane.

Finally, for those who prefer their storms as fiction can find a great audio download in Philip S Donlay’s Category Five. With a great mix of fact and fiction, the novel follows the plot of a research jet with catastrophic engine failure, whose only safe haven is to remain in the eye of the world’s deadliest hurricane as their fuel begins to run out.

Lori Kauzlarick, Public Services Assistant at the Brodie Resource Library

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Let's get motivated!

Happy New Year! A new school year that is. For some reason this is when I think about getting my life more organized, making goals, etc. Years of going to school have made me feel motivated come September. So what do I plan to do? I think I’ll start by cleaning out the basement (it’s too cold to down there to do it in winter and I don’t want it on my spring cleaning list), finish a couple quilts (at least the tops), get going on my Christmas knitting, and bake for school lunches at least once a week. Oh, and of course work out at least three times per week, keep the house clean and tidy, make good meals and all the other stuff. See how it sounds all New Year’s resolution-y? That’s what I got from our education system.

Of course, putting this plan in action requires all kinds of help. The main thing is making time for everything so I’ll start by making sure I’m getting a good night’s sleep, but not too much sleep. I’ll take charge of my sleeping life with Sleep: The Mysteries, the Problems, and the Solutions by Carlos H. Schneck. Schneck is a respected researcher in the field and his book deals with common sleep disorders and the more unusual. So it should be interesting reading too.

To keep us well fed I’ll be reading The Good Food Book for Families. I think I’ll also check out Whining and Dining. Both of these books contain recipes for meals for fussy eaters and good nutrition. The Good Food Book for Families also assigns responsibilities to both parents and children. The parents are responsible for providing the food and the children are responsible for eating it. This isn’t a license to make any food you like without taking children’s taste in to account, but it is liberating in that you don’t have to cater precisely to your children’s taste buds. Instead the emphasis is on making good healthy, tasty, and balanced meals while ensuring that some components are well liked. If they fill up on the potatoes and peas and only sample the main dish, but are full and happy, you’ve done your job.

Ronni Eisenberg has written two books Organize Yourself and the follow-up Organize Your Life: Free Yourself From Clutter and Find More Personal Time which sound like they should be able to get me on track with the my household organization and give me time for those projects I want to work on. Just in case they aren’t enough I’m going to try Life Lessons for Busy Moms: 7 Essential Ingredients to Organize and Balance Your World. It’s interesting that this book is written by a man, but perhaps he has some insights that we overlook. There are many, many other books to help you get your life organized but these titles caught my eye. Wait! I just might have to read Find More Time: How to Get Things Done at Home, Organize Your Life, and Feel Great About It. I’m thinking these books will have to fill the role of my relaxing reading time. I’ve got the first three books on my desk as we speak and I think I’ll start with Organize Your Life. The cover illustration is an appealing pile of sticky notes and it’s calling me.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier that Fall has come. I know many people feel sad at the end of summer, but as you may have guessed I’ve been waiting for this seasonal change. I love the smell in the air and the cool mornings. Today I’m energized to complete my goals and hopefully my next Library Detective will show how I’ve met those goals and how my resources have aided me.

Enjoy your fall and winter, I know I will.

Ruth Hamlin-Douglas, Children's and Youth Services Librarian at the Brodie Resource Library –