Monday, December 31, 2018

Uncorked


Pop your top, and flip your lid!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

If You're Happy and You Know it

A few months ago, I came across this quote:

Happiness is a great side effect but it makes a lousy goal.
-Mike Rowe 

Followed by a jaunty quip about how it's a good thing to have it, but not to make it your main focus, because you'll fail.

Does it make a lousy goal?  And will you fail, though?  What if it doesn't?  And what if you didn't (respectively)?  I happen to think happiness is a wonderful goal.  To achieve happiness in our lives in spite of our challenges, and the unpleasantness we can all face, to me, is great success.  What better goal is there, then, if not to live a life in happiness inviting others to experience it with you, holding space for their sorrows, and lifting them when they're down?  What better goal than to be of service to one another?  I honestly don't think there is one, but I understand how this notion of happiness as the end goal can seem problematic. 

In every area of life, we run into trouble when we over-complicate things.  

Look at what we do to love!  We over-complicate our relationships to an absurd degree, and then conflate that with love, because we (most of us, I think) haven't figured out that something can be both simple, and awesome at the same time.  No, we must make it a HUGELY deep, and sophisticated concept to the point where it does seem fictional, and legendary, and perpetually out of reach for the masses, because something that feels as good as joy, and love can feel incredibly intimidating if you're not ready to receive it, become it, or pay it forward. 
By perpetuating the myth that happiness is this colossal concept of perfect contentment, we end up pushing it away, and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy where it remains comfortably out of grasp.
We've been conditioned to treat happiness like some fleeting, unattainable outcome.  First of all, happiness does not equal a problem-free existence.  Happiness does not mean a life free from sorrows.

Happy literally means: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.  

Nowhere in that definition does it say, "All of your problems have magically disappeared!" or, "You must experience happiness 100% of the time, all day long, everyday, for the entire year, and every single year thereafter for the rest of your life in order to qualify as having lived a happy life."  If that's closer to the definition people are using to measure their happiness against, of course we are going to buckle under that pressure, and gloriously fail at reaching the end-goal of happiness.  I've already failed it today, myself, and some of you probably have too!  Do I believe we're not going to live happy lives because of it?  Nope, and it certainly doesn't mean any of us should stop making moves in order to exist in pleasure, contentment, and dare I say it ... actual joy.
When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.  
-John Lennon 
xoxo

Friday, December 21, 2018

In the Bleak Midwinter...

Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Merry & Bright




As the year winds down, it seems we are bombarded with pumpkin or peppermint everything, and the hotter the better!  So, for anyone (like me) needing a recipe for something bright, crisp tasting, and a little bit different...



Here's what you need:
(All fruit is frozen) 
  • Bananas 3
  • Cranberries 2 cups
  • Mango Chunks 3 cups
  • Raspberries 2 cups
  • Ginger Root 1" knob, grated
  • Shredded Coconut 1 Tbsp (+ extra for garnish)
  • Full-Fat Organic Canned Coconut Milk 2/3 cups
  • Pure Organic Maple Syrup 1/4 cup
  • Water 1 cup

Here's what you do:
Throw everything in a large blender, and blend the hell out of it.  Pour, sprinkle with a pinch of extra coconut shreds, serve & enjoy!

When using all frozen fruit like I am, you may need to give your blender intermittent rests, and add a little more water.  If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more water, or use fresh bananas rather than frozen.

This recipe makes about 64 ounces.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

So Long, Farewell ...

If you missed your chance to geek out with Worldbuilders over the last two weeks, you can always support their charitable efforts through the Worldbuilders Market, or support Heifer International directly all year long.  If you like to get a little something in return for your giving, I suggest swinging through Heifer's virtual gift shop where money from sales go straight to the makers (I recommend the Confetti Farm Animal Ornaments because turquoise cows, and hot pink pigs speak to my soul on a truly profound level).

Another charity worth checking out, if you haven't already, is new kid on the block: BStrong.  Polarizing Real New York Housewife, Bethenny Frankel, has always known how to leverage her exposure, and popularity for maximum benefit, but she really hit her stride when she expanded into disaster relief after watching the chaos that followed Hurricane Maria (2017), and the lackluster response the region received.  Love her, or hater her she is dedicated to getting cash into the hands of people who need it most, and uses her voice to educate donors on how to spot a less than charitable organization, and how some of the ones we've been led to believe are the most reputable only deliver pennies on the dollar to those in need.  I really think this is one to watch.  I personally feel completely comfortable donating money to her disaster relief initiative, with the boots on the ground belonging to volunteers, and the transportation covered by generous vehicle and space donations, I believe any money received is going exactly where it needs to be going.
xoxo

Saturday, December 8, 2018

It's a Wrap! -- Winter Craft Project

I thought with schools about to press pause for winter break, that's a lot of days with a lot of hands with nothing to do until Christmas morning in some households (you can only bake, and decorate so many batches of cookies).  Also, with a lot of families looking for ways to minimize screen time, it can be fun to sit down together, and make some ornaments for your tree, or tabletop decorations.  I first learned about yarn wrapped sheep from The Inadvertent Farmer, during my search for a craft my niece could tackle ... Leave it to little folks to ask, "What else could we make?"

This is my answer to that.  

So, if you've got your supplies ready, we can jump right in!  All templates, and knitting instructions can be found at the bottom of this post.

Before we begin, you'll need your templates.  You can save, and print the sheets below, and transfer the animal shapes onto a sturdy card stock (some of you hardcore crafters out there print directly onto your card stock, so I know you're already ahead of the curve!) ... Cereal, and snack boxes work for this, also think of the unused back covers of spiral notebooks, they have a nice weight to them, and you won't have to worry about applying extra coats of paint to obscure any advertising.  If you're doing this craft with a table full of children, I recommend pre-cutting several thick templates so no one has to fuss with flimsy printer paper that one slipped pencil, or rogue cut can ruin. 
Step One: Choose yarn, and paint colors.
Clip your clothespins to an empty, and cleaned out tuna can (disposable cup, whatever) and give them each a good coat of acrylic craft pain.  Get a good cover on the springs, just in case you like your animals a little thinner (I like mine fat, and fluffy, so the springs rarely show on mine).  Set aside to dry while you cut out your animal bodies.
Step Two: Paint.
Get a nice coat of paint on both the head, and the rump area of your animals' bodies (both sides).  The heads will be exposed, of course, but I like some color on the back end as well, just in case the yarn gets a little thin, or if it spaces funny after you've finished, there won't be any glaring "bald" spots.  If your paint is a little thin, this might take a couple of coats, which is not a setback.  Heavy paint layers are likely to make your card stock warp, and buckle, so go easy.  If your legs are already dry, clip them onto the bodies to hold them steady while it's their turn to dry.

If you want to make any of your animals into Christmas tree ornaments (I think they'd be adorable on wildlife, woodland, or children's themed trees), this is when to use a small hole punch, and run some floral wire through the hole before wrapping your critter with yarn.  Leave a long enough tail of wire, so it doesn't get swallowed up by your yarn!
Step Three: The wrap.
Once your paint is no longer tacky, and you're ready to wrap find a permanent, and balanced place for your legs, and dab a dot of glue under the clamps of your clothespins.  Slip your strand of yarn between one of your pins and the card stock for a little "insurance" that it won't unravel.

Begin wrapping, by getting good coverage on the bum first.  You want to anchor the yarn around the legs, up near the body to keep your yarn taught, and discourage it from sliding off the curve.  Later on, the parts of the legs you need to help you do this part will no longer be exposed, plus, as you keep wrapping and bulking up your animal, the more the new layers of yarn keep the rump's yarn in place, so it's best to get this out of the way now.  Once you're satisfied with the plumpness of your animal it's time to tie it off.

Step Four: Knotting, and securing.
First, find a nice fluffy spot that looks like it has room under it to tuck a knot.  Pull your yarn taught, and wrap it toward the back side of your animal, and snip it just longer than the spot you've found to hide your loose strand.  Tie a knot at the end of your yarn, and trim off any unwanted fuzz.  In your hiding spot, put a little more than just a dot of glue, and with your bamboo skewer (or in my case, my trusty Dollar Store chopstick) tuck your knotted end into the glue.
Keep poking until there is no sign of slack in your yarn.  Before the glue is completely dry, zhush the top layer of yarn to obscure the opening you created.  To finish off, if you've selected a llama, or camel, cut 3-4 pieces of 2" long yarn, gather, and tie securely in a tight knot to form the fringe (or bangs).  Untwist, and fray the yarn to create a nice bit of fluff.  Place a dot of glue under the knot you created, and place on the top of the animal head.
If you've chosen to make a bison, you will wrap its body, the same way you wrap all of the other animals, except you'll be adding a big, cozy mane on top of the yarn you've already wrapped.  For my bison, I use a combination of Lion Brand Yarn: Homespun + Lion Brand Yarn: Quick & Cozy.  There's no real mystery to it, once you finish with one yarn, and knot, glue & tuck like you do for all of the other animals, you just start wrapping right on top with a new yarn - that's it!  This is also how I add extra "frizz" to the highland cattle.  I wrap Homespun first, and then add a top layer or two of Fun Fur (or "eyelash" yarn).  To add the bison's fuzzy little hood, measure out a piece of yarn so that when you double it a couple of times you end up with 4 strands of yarn at about 4" long, and knot one end together.  With your finger, bamboo skewer, or chopstick, gently pull back the yarn from the bison's face, and tuck the knotted end securely under the wrapped yarn.  Before releasing the yarn you're holding back, squeeze a little glue in there to hold everything in place.  Release the yarn, and zhush into place.  Do the same with the other side.  For me it's easier to start by tucking the end with the not, first, and it gives the slightest anchor, so when you're tucking the other side in you're less likely to end up yanking out the piece you've already tucked.

Step Five: Finishing touches.
Once the gang's all wrapped up, and the glue has set up, you can decide how you want to decorate your herd.  With a fine paint brush you can add facial features, and expressions, or you can leave them more minimal looking.  I'm typically a "more is more" kind of girl, but I also have a soft spot for leaving them with blank faces. 
I had some heart shaped confetti lying around, so I decided to use it, and give my animals some rosy cheeks.  It could also be very cute to mist the tops, and backs of the animals, and lightly dust with clear, or white glitter (or a mixture of the two!) for a snowy appearance.  If you knit up any of the accessories below, a little craft glue on the tips of hats or scarves, and some glitter could give it a playful look as well.  The point is, be creative, and let your imagination go where it wants to.  This is a great project to do with someone you want to slow down with, and just enjoy each other's company, so grab a snack, and if you don't knit, don't worry!  You can easily use fabric or felt scraps to make any of the accessories below, and to come up with your own wardrobe.  I mean ... A tiny pair of mittens hanging from a string, and draped over the llama's neck, anyone?

What I love about this project is that it's a great way to use up materials that there just isn't enough of to do anything else with.  If you knit or sew, you know what it's like to have those random left overs that aren't big enough to be a project in their own right, but are way too big to feel comfortable just throwing away.  Craft ideas like these, turn something almost useless into something sweet, and it keeps one more thing out of our landfills.  Also, if you're on social media, and you make any of these, please hashtag it with #LSDitsawrap so we can all find your wonderful creations!

Templates
Click on each sheet of templates to make them larger, right click, and save image as, and you're ready to print them at home!

Knitting Instructions (Needles: 3.25mm, Size: US・3, UK・10)
Llama
(Yarn: Vanna's Glamour weight = 2, fine)
Blanket: Cast on 13 stitches, work in garter stitch until length = 4".  Bind off, weave in ends.
Saddle: Cast on 7 stitches, work in garter stitch until length = 3".  Bind off, weave in ends, stitch onto blanket with contrasting yarn, and knot.

(I used a discontinued yarn, but two strands of a fine weight yarn used together will work)
Hat: Cast on 20 stitches, work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 3/4", and begin decreasing k,k,k,k2tog,k repeat across row, purl, k,k,k2tog,k repeat across row, purl, k,k2tog,k repeat across row, purl, on the final knit row bind off.  Thread tail through bind off row, and cinch.  Stitch the two sides of the hat together to form a seam, and securely knot at the rim of the hat.

Bison
(Yarn: Vanna's Glamour weight = 2, fine)
Carpet: Cast on 10 stitches, work in garter stitch until length = 5".  Bind off, weave in ends. Feel free, with a contrasting yarn, to embellish your carpet, and stitch designs into it.

Camel
(Yarn: Vanna's Glamour weight = 2, fine)
Scarf: Cast on 7 stitches, work in garter stitch until length = 8".  Bind off, weave in ends.
*Optional: Cut twenty 2" lengths of yarn and secure them two by two on each end of the scarf to create 5 sections of fringe.  You may also wish to embellish the scarf with contrasting stitching.
Hat: Same as Llama.

Highland Cattle
(Yarn: Vanna's Glamour weight = 2, fine)
Lariat Scarf: Using 2-3 strands of yarn, begin with a simple slip knot, and work in a single chain / finger braid until length = 15.5" + 1.5" tails on either end.

Sheep
(Yarn: Vanna's Glamour weight = 2, fine)
Collar: Cast on 4 stitches, work in garter stitch until length = 5".  Bind off, weave in ends.  Cut a separate, small collection of yarns to connect to the ends of the collar, and use to tie it off.  Attach bells, or ghungroo bells.
Fringe Scarf: Gather a selection of 9 strands of novelty yarns, cut at 22" lengths, and tie a secure knot in the center of the bunch.

Mini Tassels 
Cut 2 two inch pieces of yarn, hold out your index + middle fingers horizontally, and place one of the yarns near the top of your index finger (this will be what connects the tassel to your knitted piece).  Wrap the yarn you've chosen for your tassel 5 times around your two fingers, and cut it free from the skein.  Pinch the two inch piece, and use it to help remove the loops from your fingers.  With another length of yarn, securely tie the "neck" of your tassel (a dot of glue helps here), cut off loose ends, snip your loops, and trim them evenly.  Using a yarn needle, connect it to your scarf, blanket, carpet, etc., securely knot, and dot with glue.

Monday, December 3, 2018

A Bookworm's Favorite Holiday Tradition + Gift Guide

Every year around this time, ye olde Jólabókaflóðið (Jolabokaflod: Christmas book flood) posts get passed around social media, telling tales about cold Icelandic nights, and cozy Christmas Eves spent snuggled up with chocolate, and books ... As idyllic a way to spend the holiday as it sounds, I wanted to know more.  Is this really a tradition?  How did it get started?  
A lot of people point to WWII era rationing for the reason Jolabokaflod exists, since there were few restrictions placed on paper, and really, what's a lovelier paper gift to give, or receive than a book?  But I wasn't so sure it was quite as simple, or as new as all that, and while you can certainly read about its rise to current popularity, here, I kept digging.  

Thanks to Alda Sigmundsdóttir, I learned about a little something called kvöldvaka, or evening wakeIn her post she tells us of a rich history in Iceland where people gathered together for work, worship, entertainment, and education through story telling, the sharing of folklore, traditions, and more (I'm particularly enchanted by rökkurstund / twilight hour).  If spending time through the winter months looked anything like this, it's little wonder that a culture based on that would lead the scoreboard of most books per capita until recently being edged out of first place by Britain.

With that in mind, I know there are a lot of Americans who would be delighted to begin their own Jolabokaflod, and kvöldvaka family customs, so I've put together a little list of a few personal friends of mine.  With this gift guide we are supporting up and coming authors, independent artists, and self-publishers who are all just trying to make their dreams come true, which, to me, makes the purchase of these books a lovely gift to both the recipients, and the authors.
(alphabetically by first name).



Allison DeBoer Criswell

This book is quite literally, everything you need to know about college writing, and a crucial tool for any student (or regular folks) out there looking to brush up their skills, especially in academic writing.


Autumn Toennis
Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writing (Pre-order)

The above anthology includes work from multifaceted talent, Autumn Toennis, who, as far as her readers are concerned, is quite possibly made of magic. 


Gerri Ravyn Stanfield
Revolution of the Spirit: Awaken the Healer: An Invitation to Radical Healing

On the smörgåsbord of the self-help, and healing genre, Holistic Medical Practitioner, Gerri Ravyn Stanfield serves us soul food with this book.


Jen Brady
To Write of Hope (40 page debut collection of poetry + photography)

Path of the Brave (Second poetry + photography collection)

Jen Brady's poetry is also featured on track #4 of Hannah Busse's debut album: Underneath Our Surface.


José Rafael Prieto
Soul (Debut novel)
     Kindle Edition


A true Renaissance man, as a novelist, and poet, José Rafael Prieto, offers a rich, enveloping, and lyrical experience to the reader.


Philip Kramer
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Northern California: Section Hiking from Tuolumne Meadows to Donomore Pass 

Adventure and travel photographer, Philip Kramer, stumbled into writing quite by accident, but judging by his debut publication wherein he shares his wealth of knowledge on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, in a laid back, friendly, yet experienced manner, he's definitely hit his stride!  You can read more of my hype, here.


Trish Nichol
The Mechanics of Dreaming 
     Cover art by: Autumn Toennis

In her own words, "I am a rambler, a roamer, an anywhere I lay my head is homer."  Daydreamer extraordinaire, Trish Nichol, has compiled her debut collection of poetry to whet the imagination of her readers, while she works out the details of what is practical and absurd.  

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wondrous Wrath

Glittering sunlight
illuminating
Crone Beira's deluge


Friday, November 30, 2018

Timberland Regional Library: The Plot Thickens ...

Last month, I composed, delivered, and posted here, a letter regarding something called The Capital Facilities Proposal that recommended the closure, and / or consolidation of 1/3 of the libraries across 5 counties in Southwestern Washington to each member of the Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees in a hasty attempt to persuade the board to table the matter until further research, and discussion could be had in order to develop a better plan for all of the communities involved.  Turns out, I wasn't the only one ... Not even close.  In the face of an ever changing schedule, and new sessions frantically added, inboxes were flooded with outcry, board and city council meetings alike were reduced to standing room only as community members showed up to support their local libraries, and plead with board members, and city leaders to allow these crucial gathering places, and services to remain open, and operational in their static locations. 

One thing that sent folks scrambling to make sure their voices were heard was the surprise addition of the October 10, 2018 board meeting, which left people unsure if the end of the month meeting would even take place, or if something severe would be decided at this new date that would make efforts to organize, and appear at the October 24th meeting pointless.  

With that said, there are a few things to clear up before we move on to le scandale ... oh yes, my friends, it turns out libraries can have seedy underbellies!  With many of us on a mad dash to assemble our thoughts, and respect the notion of brevity, a few things were lost in translation as made clear by the use of one of my first lines in the recording of the October 10th meeting.  I believe its use was meant to put people at ease over the redistribution of funds, and to assure the listening audience that this was not, in fact, a case of the Haves versus the Have Nots.

When I wrote:
Primarily, I am deeply disturbed by the recommendation that public libraries in small, isolated, and economically depressed communities be shuttered in order to allocate funds toward expansion programs for facilities located near, and around our State’s Capital; an area with the population to support innovative fundraising techniques.
It was in the context of, and in direct relation to the proposal in its entirety.  The other people who echoed similar sentiments, and I were not speaking of a literal, straight across trade -- X location closes so Y can take all of X's allotted funding, and expand.  I don't think anyone who joined the discussion was confused by the proposal to that degree.  However, when it's necessary to reduce an entire near-90-page document into talking points in order to compose a response, the reader must take into consideration, and keep intact, the overall frame of reference the conversation is held in.  When that is done, it is obvious what is implied within the body of text.  Taking one line out of a 5-page letter, and drilling down on it as if it is a stand alone point while disregarding the document it's countering in order to lay a new interpretation on it comes across disingenuous, and exposes a willingness to seemingly purposely misunderstand public outcry, which of course, makes it incredibly easy to pacify some, whilst silencing others. 
To put it more simply, when you frame a thing as something it's not, it's quite easy to say, "Oh no, that's not what this is; that's not what we're doing here," and wash your hands of the topic, and walk away with a clear conscience. 
I should have taken the time to spell it all the way out, and perhaps I would have if I'd been given a full year to draft a line-by-line rebuttal, which is the same amount of time that was allotted to whomever drafted The Capital Facilities Plan in secrecy.  Apparently the line needs to read, "Primarily, I am deeply disturbed by the recommendation that public libraries in small, isolated, and economically depressed communities be shuttered in order to allocate funds toward expansion programs including, but not limited to facilities located near, and around our State’s Capital; an area with the population to support innovative fundraising techniques," since there were ideas of expansion being floated for several locations, as well as the rolling-out of new additional services to certain areas within the entire region.

The fact remains, however, that it had been recommended that small towns, cut off from other services, and opportunities where local schools do not have their own in-house libraries lose their city library facilities, if not completely, they were to be replaced with locker systems, or bookmobiles.  Let me say this again, because I can't quite believe it myself.
Municipalities that can not even provide libraries on school grounds for their children's education were slated to lose their local city libraries. 
Excuse me, but how does that even work?  How does homework get done?  How can anyone research, or find reference materials for papers, and class projects?  This might come as a surprise to some of my readers, but not every home in America has (1) a computer, (2) an Internet connection, or (3) a printer, and that is the case for a lot of families in these rural communities, so if they can't get their hands on the proper materials, they can't even Google it at home.  How are children supposed to function in any sort of academic way, let alone graduate when they've been stripped of all of their resources?  Thievery of this nature sets residents up for a whole slough of social problems that can last generations.

I mean ... The board could sit there, and try to put lipstick on a pig, but everyone paying attention could all still see (a marginally more attractive) pig wagging its squiggly little tail.  When poorer communities are deprived of their services, and resources in order to redistribute funding, and that funding ends up in part going to wealthier regions, in order to correct an overall deficit, it quite literally is taking from the Have Nots, and giving to the Haves no matter how it is sliced.  "Under performing" libraries in locations with sparser populations were chosen as potential closures because they exhibited dead hours, and lower library card usage, especially compared to more heavily populated areas.  Yeah, that's how that works.  When people have to work multiple jobs, or take overtime shifts in order to make ends meet (because in many of these towns, the cost of living is the same as larger cities, with a much lower median income) no one is going to the library at 10 am.  As it is now, many of the facilities are barely open much past a typical "quitting time" for the majority of the week.
It shouldn't be as complicated as making a Doctor's appointment, just to get into a local library.
In fact, many metropolitan museums are facing the same problems with their hours of operation, and are being encouraged to open their doors for evening patrons which will not only offer communities a richer experience, but also potentially curbs both problems of dead hours, and weekend over-crowding.  I think libraries should also take a hard look at their hours, especially in an age where most families are living in two-income households just to survive.  Who is going to be able to duck out of work early in order to make it to their rural library in time?  I think if the board of directors, and the administration at large are not willing to overhaul library business hours for our modern age, then they really aren't serious about increasing traffic, and supporting the Librarians' efforts to keep their communities engaged, and the locations that are currently struggling will always continue to struggle.  Sadly, it's not quite as simple as the get a library card, and use it sentiment that is floating around in the wake of this brouhaha.  I had a lot to say about this in my last letter, and how judging library usage by card swipes alone was a dishonest approach, a total misunderstanding of how local libraries, and their services can be and are used, and leads to figures that very likely paint an inaccurate picture of library traffic.  And at the end of the day, so what?

One thing that really bothered me about the recent Board of Trustees meetings is the message: If you love your libraries, prove it to us.  I'm trying to be objective, but I found this to be incredibly childish.  As I pointed out in my letter, many people can not possess library cards, and thus must read their selections in-house after browsing the stacks, and therefore leave no footprint behind of ever having been there.  Beyond that, this isn't how agencies, programs, and services that directly cater to our social needs work, anyway.  You don't tell people,
"Oh, you do like having a fire department in your town?  Prove it.  Burn your house down."
Yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds, and that is precisely how silly the former sentiment sounds to me.  "You say you enjoy that park, but unless we see you spreading a picnic blanket, and eating on the green 3 times a week during dry months, and twice in the winter, we're paving over it!" That is madness.  I absolutely believe there should be enthusiastic engagement in all of the wonderful things our cities and towns offer us, especially those provided through our tax dollars, but I also believe when we start putting arbitrary expectations on people to do things in a way that satisfies the "powers that be" (whomever They may be), when we should all be free to explore in our own ways, we're flirting with fascism.  I know, I know it sounds extreme, but when there's already been one bizarre power-grab within the library administration, does it really behoove anyone to set up more groups of people, or committees to power-trip? 
Sundays we visit the park (stay off the grass), Mondays we swipe the cards for the books, Wednesdays we wear pink, and Fridays we light our homes on fire to show the fire department how much we care.
The dystopian novel could almost write itself ... albeit highly derivative, especially if Mondays, and Fridays are condensed into one activity - the characters could end up existing in a Mean Girls / Fahrenheit 451 crossover!  "On October 3rd, he asked me where I hid my overdue books..."

Anyway, the point is, while an increase in engagement would be wonderful, it shouldn't be a requirement in order to keep crucial services, and facilities open to the public.  This kind of thinking ultimately blames the public for a problem the general population didn't even know about, and allows trustees, and administrators to assuage their own guilt for letting things snowball for so long before taking any discernible action.

Little did the townsfolk know, an avalanche was coming; carefully planned, and laughably executed it ended up burying the wrong (or the right) person(s) in its path.  Now, it's no secret that small towns never have a lack of unqualified people trying to make a name for themselves, but this library mishegoss takes the cake!  It begins with a looming budget deficit the public wasn't privy to, and ends ... Well, we'll find out on December 19th exactly what the beginning of the end will look like, but from here, for some, it's appears a little bleak.

Sometime in 2017 committees were formed, and the plan to draft a proposal to [fix] the Timberland Regional Library's budget deficit was requested, and / or okayed by someone -- it would be interesting to me to find out who that someone is in order to see if it's anyone attempting to play dumb now that it's all blowing up.  Moving on, the Capital Facilities Proposal was finally released to the public at the end of September 2018 after the plan to close several library locations was leaked by an anonymous employee.  One of the first to hear the news was a member of the clergy, who in turn followed their conscience and informed their flock of what was afoot in their community.  Let me tell you, whoever threatened library employees with firings, retaliation of any kind, and kept librarians under a gag order sorely underestimated the heart, conscience, and gossips of these towns!  When I first heard about how librarians had been pressured to keep mum on the topic, I threw my head back and laughed.

"They really tried it, but they definitely don't know much about small towns!"

I cackled from my living room over the messiness of whatever person thought they were going to pull this off.  First of all, the proposal that was submitted had absolutely no math, and no analysis of what closures, consolidations, and expansions would save, or cost.  Wait, what?  It took an entire year to complete something that reads like a thirty minute Google search + a few charts, and a couple of photographs for good measure.  The document was drawn up by the Administrative Team, and Public Services Team of TRL ... Wise decision, folks, I wouldn't survive the humiliation of my personal name being attached to that disaster either.  In what other job, or office could you submit something like that and not be laughed right out of the front doors of the building?  So, to be clear, a proposal that would upend the entire Timberland Regional Library system in five counties, drafted by folks hiding behind a committee title, had absolutely no realistic looking scenarios for how any of the proposed changes would improve the overall Library's region?  This is either one of the laziest, or most cunning moves I've ever seen.  I'm betting it's a bit of both.  To me, no math says a couple of things: They didn't care enough to do it, or they didn't care period because they were going to close libraries no matter what.  I don't think this is much of a stretch when internal emails sent by Trisha Cronin, and obtained by The Daily Chronicle state, “I truly understand your feelings that it’s unfair to them [library patrons] not to tell the Randle community so that they can attempt to sway the decision. However, although we will make sure that they get to air their feelings, it would be a disservice to them to lead them to believe they can change the decision.” (emphasis my own) which led the in-the-know library employees to believe this was all a done deal.  Who am I to argue with anyone who had floor seats to this shi, erm, show?

Thankfully, people risked unemployment in order to speak out, not just about this topic, but also the overall tyrannical culture cultivated within the library administration, and the fear that many library employees operate under on a daily basis.  Without the few souls who spoke up, it's hard telling what would've been voted on, and passed behind the backs of the communities it would've impacted the most.  I'm thankful to each, and every one of them, as well as Alex Brown and his reporting for uncovering something whose surface was only being scratched by the whistle blowers.  A huge "thank you" also needs to go out to Lewis County Commissioner Edna Fund for not dropping the topic, and ensuring that this continues to be looked into, and corrected long term.

However, beyond the drama of the slated closures, etc, there is still the matter of money mismanagement that should be thoroughly investigated. I'm with Larry "No Chill" Kearns (who is quickly becoming a contender to be my new spirit animal) on this point, how exactly did we get here?  We can't blame all of the TRL's money problems on restrictions, and regulations of the timber industry.  Environmental protections have been ramping up since the late 1980s and are hardly anything new, especially in timber communities.  Trustees, and administrators have had 30+ years to research new and innovative ways to wean TRL off of dwindling timber dollars, so to see people acting dumbfounded over it now, in 2018, is jarring.  Being a longshoreman's daughter, myself, I had a front row seat from a very young age of the shift industries had to make away from relying so heavily on timber (exports in our case) as a sustainable source of cash flow.  Even though my family seemed to slip through unscathed, for a while "spotted owl" was a dirty word in my household during my childhood, followed closely by "environmentalist" because the changes that were put in place, and continued to come were hard to stomach, and devastating to some families, and even entire communities in some cases. 
Obviously, I don't think the Earth should be scorched, and animals left homeless because the hoomans want the things, but I think like most things in life it all could've been handled better for everyone involved, feathered or otherwise.
The thing about these towns, though, is that you would've had to spend your entire life under a rock not to understand the impact the loss of timber dollars was having, and be able to look down the pike and understand where things were headed in the future.  So, for me, reading articles, and looking in on board meetings where people are shrugging, throwing their hands in the air, and shaking their heads it's just a little too rich ... I mean, call the Academy, because we've got some truly Oscar-worthy performances occurring.  You can only do so much hand wringing before you look totally inept, and make people wonder why exactly you're sitting on a board to begin with.  I can only hope that the people and organizations that the TRL Administrative Team, and Board of Trustees answer to do not drop the ball, and actually get to the bottom of what happened here, and get real answers for all of the communities they serve and represent.

As of now, the TRL Board of Trustees voted unanimously to "permanently and immediately dissolve the Capital Facilities Proposal".  Read the official news release here.

Post Script:
Moving forward I put it to the men of the board to consider how their actions, and comments appear, and come across during meetings.  In particular the discussion surrounding the murder of a woman near a library that impacted procedures for library staffing for the entire region.  People often quote that violent crime has been declining since the 1990s, but a rather "invisible statistic" is that violence against women has been on a steady increase since 2009, so to see male members of the board scoff at the necessity of a 2 person staffing solution is rather disturbing.  Yes, there are jobs where 1 person is on the schedule, and oftentimes the buildings these jobs are in are fully outfitted with surveillance equipment, loud buzzers / alarms on the doors, a panic button, and a shotgun behind the counter.  If board members would like to see Timberland Regional Libraries managed and staffed the same way that 24 hour gas stations are, then that's definitely something worth putting on the agenda for future meetings, but if they don't, reacting to current staffing requirements as if they are absurd is not doing much for optics, or to encourage trust from community members, and employees of the TRL system. 

I hope the librarians have a strong union that puts their physical safety at the top of their priorities.  I have been assured by a member of the board that the Board of Trustees takes the safety of the librarians very seriously, and I hope that is true.  I also hope that the few well-informed women of the board will no longer be put in positions to clean up the messes left by some of the more glib sounding members.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Perfect Ten!


Kicking off Giving Tuesday is Pat Rothfuss' Worldbuilders 2-week Winter charity event!  This year being the tenth anniversary of his philanthropic brainchild, we're going to see some big announcements, format changes, and wonderfully geek-themed goodies. 

Previously, the charity spanned an entire month, and was almost always extended a little bit at the end for last minute donors, but this year the six week merrymaking is being packed into just 14 days (Nov 27 - Dec 11) of money raising mayhem.

So what are we raising money for, anyway?  First of all, not all charities are created equal, and Charity Navigator is a great tool to figure out if what you're supporting is on the up & up.  If you can't find your charity there, look for the organization's personal website (it should have one), where if it's reputable, a disclosure for how much of the money raised goes where, should be displayed, and always remember big charities = big overhead, so very little of the money actually gets into the hands of the people who need it most.  With that said, all of the charities supported through Worldbuilders' fundraising efforts have at least a 3 star rating through Charity Navigator, and are forthright, and transparent about how they operate.  As always, this winter's collection of coin will be going to Heifer International, whose goal is ending hunger and poverty, globally.  What sets Heifer apart from other organizations is that it doesn't just do a food drop, or throw money at a problem, real solutions are sought and implemented in a way that not only eradicates the immediate problem, but has a real and lasting impact on entire communities through the allocation of resources, education, and infrastructure development.  You can read more about their mission here

In ten years Rothfuss has been able to rile his supporters into donating over 8 million dollars, and changing countless lives because of it.  So, if you'd like to join in, and make this the most mind-bending record breaking year to date you can go here, and donate immediately, and follow the accounts below to stay up to date on all of the coming pandemonium:

Pat's Twitch Channel
(you can find his Twitch Schedule at the bottom of this page)

 Also, if you're a little strapped for cash this year, but you still want to be involved, please do not underestimate the power of your voice.  Spread the word, share what you know, and educate others on the work that is being done.  You will end up creating a ripple effect all your own, and change lives forever.   
xoxo

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Aftermath

If you're not doing this with your Thanksgiving leftovers, you're quite frankly living a life half lived!  Put down the mustard, and lettuce.

Here's what you need:
Sourdough bread
Turkey
Cream cheese
Cranberry sauce (1 Tbsp per sandwich)
Salt
Pepper

Here's what you do:
Coat each slice of bread on one side with a thin layer of cream cheese (not only is it delicious, but it keeps your bread from getting soggy).  Spread 1 Tbsp of cranberry sauce on top of the cream cheese on one piece of bread, and layer your turkey pieces on top of that.  Top with a dusting of salt & pepper, and finish it off with the other slice of bread.  Cut into your desired shape, and serve.  
Bon appétit!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Virgin Glögg

Here's what you need:
4 Cups water
6 Cardamom pods
6 Whole cloves
2 Cinnamon sticks
1" Knob fresh ginger (grated)

4 Cups POM juice
3-4 Tbsp pure organic maple syrup
1 Star anise
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Allspice

1/4 Cup almonds (blanched)
1/4 Cup walnuts
1/2 Cup raisins or craisins
1 Orange (sliced)

Here's what you do:
Day One-
Boil water, ginger, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods and cloves for 15 minutes.  Store it in a glass container in the refrigerator overnight.

Day Two-
Combine decoction with fruit juice, star anise, nutmeg, and allspice, and boil for 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, and add your chosen sweetener if desired.  Pour liquid through a strainer into a new container (large glass measuring cups are handy for this!) in order to clear out any large spice debris, and that's it!  Serve warm with any combination of the following: cinnamon sticks, chopped nuts, raisins, and orange pieces.


This beverage is basically just a warm punch, but I love to have it around during the cold winter months because, well, it's delicious, free of weird additives, and a good option for anyone needing to avoid refined white sugar.  It's also nice to have something festive to offer pregnant, sober, or underage guests so no one is left out of any Yuletide merrymaking.

Cheers!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

It's a Wrap!



I'll be rolling out a new DIY project this December for anyone looking for something to do with youngsters over winter break, or hoping to make a dent in their leftover yarn stash!

Here's what you'll need:
Card stock, or snack / cereal boxes
Clothespins 
Craft paint & brushes
Glue-stick, and tacky glue (or Aleene's Stop Fraying)
Scissors
Yarn
*Optional*
Bamboo skewers
Blunt yarn needle
Knitting needles 3.25mm (US: 3, UK: 10)
Confetti, sequins, beads, faux gems, ghungroo bells

Don't let the stampede pass you by!

Friday, November 16, 2018

It's Not Trolling When it's True

There's an adage that goes something like:

The fastest way to make money as a writer is to write, and sell books to other people about how to become a writer.

The same, I think, goes for a lot of other fields as well, particularly in the area of coaching ... Or coaching coaches, that is.  And so we see, as we certainly have in recent years, an uptick in self-proclaimed experts (whether they actually are, or not) guiding people who seek change in their lives, and financial circumstances through becoming, themselves, skilled (or skilled-looking) enough in their chosen enterprises to lead others.  What can become concerning in this sort of food-chain of "experts" engaging in a hefty amount of fake-it-'til-you-make-it hustling is how adept they become at marketing themselves (if they haven't devoured each other first), and their goods or services when one, the other, and sometimes all of the above are undeserving of such successful campaigns.  I am mostly bothered by the amount of flowery, and sometimes pseudo-spiritual language being learned, and applied in the creatrix-entrepreneur niche that is masking abusive, and manipulative people, and behavior. 

Through the year, I've written a little bit about being cautious of modern-day snake oil salesmen, and shared a few of my own experiences with people who were a little too eager to lead others, and were in a position to dupe followers, and toy with their emotional well-being, and even reviewed a program that I had bought into, and participated in where certain folks were mistreated, and "safe spaces" were a hotbed of hostility.  The most common thread between them all was the disturbing knack of shrugging off feedback as trolling. 

Trolling, by definition, is targeted, and oftentimes continued or persistent online harassment, sometimes including, but not limited to, highly personal attacks, typically centered on falsehoods, and designed to incite a negative reaction.  In extreme cases stalking, doxxing, and even SWATting can be involved.

Critique ≠ Trolling

Moreover, it's definitely not trolling when it's true, which all critiques, and reviews need to be, otherwise, we're dealing with a problem much larger than I'm qualified to unpack here on a blog.  I will say, however, it is my strongly held opinion that anyone willing to lie in a review deserves to run into their fair share of shills, and hucksters along the way, but I digress.

Part of my formal education included the process of articulating (on paper, and vocally) honest, impartial, well-informed, and constructive criticism.  The ability to effectively analyze a person's work without needlessly assailing them or what they've produced was considered paramount to the creative process.  Another integral part was cultivating the competence, and confidence to stand there, and not only take it, but be able to thoughtfully rebut the claims made against you, your motivation, or your creation, and enter into further discussion.  This practice left me with the skills required to defend my work from the ground up, and right back down again when necessary, and not make any excuses for it, or for another person's displeasure with it.  There was no fingers-in-ears-foot-stomping option available.   Now, when I see anyone resorting to that kind of behavior regarding their work or products, and reducing critique to trolling, I find it very telling.

A company needs to be able to do more than label its reviewers "trolls," and  trot out seemingly impressive sales figures, and apparent popularity to prove that a product or service is legitimately worthwhile.  Sexy ledgers may be enchanting to some, but we only have to look at the ShamWow, or the enduring novelty of Chia Pets, or really any fad at any point in time that has hit cult-like status and managed to turn a profit, to know that not all that glitters is ... well, anything worth spending money on.  Consumers also can not always trust the financial aspect as a good indicator for good business practices, or mistake it for a good person at the helm.  There will always be subpar products that sell well, and people with questionable motives, and methods who profit from them.

A lot of bad people make good money.

With a season of gift giving nearly upon us, and the time many of us roll out our New Year's resolutions just around the corner from that, there will be a lot of money spent on coaching services, retreats, organizational aids and tools, and any number of self-help accoutrements, and all any of us can do is heed the call, "buyer beware" and always be willing to do the necessary research to protect ourselves from literal, and energetic thieves.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Home Sweet Home

https://www.stormypeterson.com/
I've found some fresh digs for some old favorites, with a lot of room for some new releases.  You're invited to hop on over here:
and join the mailing list to stay up-to-date with all store related news, and get 10% off your first purchase!
xoxo

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Gifts


“I had seen birth and death,

 But had thought they were different.” 

-T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Beware the Things that go Bump in the Night

"Lock all your doors ... And turn out the lights,
Or ghosts and goblins will spook you with fright!

Jump in bed and pull the covers up tight,
Close your eyes until the morning is light."
-Anonymous

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Six Word Story: 18



Like a force of nature: Unstoppable.


-Stormy Peterson

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Open Letter to the Timberland Regional Library Board of Trustees:

Dear Members of the Board,

I am writing on behalf, and in support of the communities that have recently fallen under threat of closure of their public libraries.  The Capital Facilities Proposal has come to the attention of current, and former residents alike, and I’d like to have a moment of your time to lay out some shared concerns that, I believe, the proposal does not address in an adequate fashion.

Primarily, I am deeply disturbed by the recommendation that public libraries in small, isolated, and economically depressed communities be shuttered in order to allocate funds toward expansion programs for facilities located near, and around our State’s Capital; an area with the population to support innovative fundraising techniques.  Thanks to the data provided in the proposal, we can see that Thurston County produces 55% of Timberland Regional Library’s revenue, but receives 41% of the budget, and while this may seem like a sad state of affairs for the library facilities in Thurston County, isn’t that kind of the point of belonging to a region(?) -- meaning that the libraries are stronger together than they would be apart.  Making money where you can in order to benefit the whole should be a point of pride for the well-funded facilities knowing that with their help they are doing an important part of ensuring equal footing for all community members within the region, but especially for vulnerable youth, and the impact it has on their education.  It at least used to be, when urban libraries were subsidized by the money generated rurally by the tax on timber sales, or have we forgotten that so soon?  As a society, we’ve come to a point where we’re beginning to view all of our supposed disparities through the lens of unfair hand-outs, instead of what they really are, which is a hand up.

Reading should be egalitarian, and free.  The Capital Facilities Proposal, as it stands today,  is one of the most vulgar displays of the worst aspects of capitalism, coupled with elitism, and segregation I’ve seen in our modern era.  The small, formerly robust timber communities who once propped up the TRL system for urban areas, now, after experiencing decades-long, dramatic economic shifts can expect to be further stripped of crucial community resources by the very system these towns created?  Let’s be clear, these “shifts” are nothing new, and yet, now is the time the board has decided to examine the unique challenges facing these counties?  Now is the time for people to have “courage” and “adapt to change”?  These communities have been changing, adapting, and having to scrape together courage just to hold it all together for the last 25 (+/-) years, and they’ve gone largely ignored as they persisted.  I’ve heard of being fashionably late, but the timing of this proposal, the faux-concern, and fixes outlined therein is just one insult after another.

Just as it can be dangerously short-sighted to assume everyone has the luxury income to buy every book they want to read, the technology and devices necessary to access digital media, and that libraries are losing business to Amazon, and the internet, it is equally naïve to think everyone has the means (both financially, and time wise) to hop in a car and travel 20 miles round trip to access all of the amenities local libraries currently provide.  Closing a building, and promising a fleet of bookmobiles is not going to cut it.  An Über-for-books might sound exciting at first, but we’re really just looking at a dressed up version of the “Traveling Collections” introduced during the first American Industrial Revolution, and expecting it to usher us into a glittering 21st century (never mind we’re well past a decade and a half into it by now) … Yes, that takes “courage,” indeed!  It’s worth noting that the implementation of a bookmobile only takes into account reading materials for entertainment purposes, as it ignores all aspects of in-depth research, education, volumes of reference materials, and access to historical records.  Loaning out e-readers is unlikely to alleviate frustrations either, unless in addition to the above complications, the following are also considered: Rare, and out of print materials, as well as the fact that not everyone has a safe place in which to use, and / or even charge fragile devices.  Mobile services also take for granted that everyone has permanent housing.  People with temporary, or transitional housing situations will not be well-served by a van intended to meet them at designated point-of-need sites in the same way that they are served by static buildings that are at constant, learnable, and stable locations in their respective communities.  Right now, on the Timberland Regional Library website, in order to be granted a library card, an applicant must furnish a physical address, and phone number, as well as a personal email address.  Assuming the vans won’t be opening up their passenger seats for patrons to peruse their selected materials, one needs a library card in order to take advantage of what a bookmobile has to offer.  This new service will exclude an entire swath of low-income, homeless, transitional, and vulnerable members of the community who could otherwise walk into any public library in the region, and so long as they didn’t remove them, have access to physical materials that suit their needs, and furnished accommodations with which to satisfactorily use them.  Not all library patrons are card-holders, nor can they be, by virtue of the application process.  In this respect it is not logical to expect bookmobiles and county “hubs” to effectively replace the fixed location buildings of local libraries.  It also calls into question the data (page 8) in the proposal illustrating the current population versus active library cards as if that is a reliable indicator for how many people actually use Timberland Regional Libraries annually.  Likewise ignored in that particular data, is the amount of people present, and actively participating in library coordinated events that do not involve the use of library cards.  Until there is a way to quantify that number or level of activity, a truly honest conversation about community engagement can not be had.

Additionally, public libraries are free meeting places where members of the community, clubs, and organizations may assemble without having to become some establishment’s paying customer(s), in a time where that is becoming increasingly rare.  By entertaining the idea of closing local libraries, we are all but ensuring the erasure of fixed or low-income folks from their own lives, and existences.  Not only is a move like that completely unfair, but it is cruel.

In the same vein, Librarians have been responsible for providing countless “free services” that go beyond their job description in these safe spaces located in our communities for generations; many of which have been walking distance to our schools, and downtown areas.  They have been teaching adults, and children alike how to read, or improve upon their current reading levels, how to conduct deliberate research, homework assistance, how to draft attractive resumes, as well as introducing patrons to new technology, and equipping them with the skills necessary to use it, and essentially instilling the dignity, and sense of pride that comes with taking control of one’s own betterment.  These people are invaluable to the locations they serve, and scattering them to the remaining, post-closure locations would be a devastating loss for the people who have come to rely on them. 

Without local, easily accessible libraries what else is left for children of these communities who weren’t born with a guitar or football in their hands?  There simply aren’t enough programs (school-related or otherwise) to engage local children, keeping them interested, and willing to develop themselves in constructive ways.  We have to ask ourselves, when everything good is plundered, is it any wonder why so many of the youth of these counties flee the moment they come of age?  The ones who do stick around are either tasked with the endlessly tiresome job of trying to breathe life back into communities gasping for air after being gut-punched, yet again, by another committee who seems more concerned about the numbers on a page, than what, and who those numbers actually represent, or they fall into the margins, and become the population the rest of us absolutely must care for, and protect.  For those of us who leave, or have left, we are completely overwhelmed by the convenience, and resources available the moment we step foot across county lines, and we resent it.  We resent that everything had to be so needlessly difficult.  We resent that the attempt to thrive had to be a fight.  We resent that the local economy couldn’t sustain all of us who wished to stay.  We resent the people who have never experienced how the effects of the closure of a single industry can devastate entire communities who, in turn, make decisions that will negatively impact places they’ll never live, and people they’ll never know.

Furthermore, I find it disingenuous to frame the conversation of these particular library closures on underperformance in the last couple of years, when the truth of the matter is, yes, many of these communities have been lagging behind economically, however, libraries across the United States have seen a steady decline in revenue beginning in and around the Great Recession (twelve years ago).  We know this, thanks to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  We also know that library usage follows, not only funding, but strategic marketing as well.  According to Pew Research Center, large portions of the American public aren’t even aware of all of the services provided by public libraries; things such as: E-book borrowing, online career and job-related resources, online GED or high school equivalency classes, programs on starting a new business, and online programs that certify that people have mastered new skills.  All of this begs the question: Where was the sense of urgency for community outreach, marketing, and stopping the decline in usage over a decade ago?  In other words, none of this could have been a surprise for those with data at their fingertips, and with that being said, I’m asking that these towns not be punished for the Board’s failure to act sooner.

Aside from enthusiastic marketing, and flooding the region’s population with information on all of the services available to them through the public library system, one major aspect that could use a radical reconfiguration would be the hours of operation for Timberland Regional Libraries in rural areas.  If we’re being encouraged to consider creative solutions, then I think the first place to look is at the operating hours of libraries in small towns with large outer lying areas to cover.  A source of frustration for me personally, having grown up in Montesano, was how the library hours never seemed to correspond with the schedules of working adults / parents, or those of children with after school activities, and sports practices.  Having a library close at 5 and 7 PM during the week, barely gives children time to get home, eat, and put themselves together in order to get to the library in time.  It makes perfect sense that if the goal is to get more people coming through the doors, that the hours should be radically reorganized to make that easier to accomplish, and to suit the lives of the local population.  If quitting time for the typical job in the area is between 5-7 PM, that leaves only one day per week for anyone in that demographic to patronize the library, or chauffeur their children (especially families outside of walking distance who can not make other transportation arrangements for their children).  If the goal is to keep the 39 hour work-week model, then a 6 day work week of 6.5 hours per day operating from 2 - 8:30 PM not only fits within the currently allocated hours, but also gives more of the population a greater likelihood of getting inside a library more than once a week.  Obviously, weekend hours can be adjusted to earlier time slots to suit the needs of the community, but overall I’ve always believed that shifting the hours of operation to later evening hours during the school / work week does more to encourage activity, and help eliminate “dead hours” during the day when the majority of the people are otherwise preoccupied.  This is just one aspect to consider, and I’m sure if the community were allowed to put its collective head together with those of the Board of Trustees, that more ideas would be sure to follow.  I think all basic solutions should be seriously examined, and tested first, before closures are placed on the docket again.

From the outside looking in, these ofttimes romanticised sleepy little towns seem idyllic, but the truth is, they’re not “sleepy,” they’re on life-support, and the last thing they need is for someone to callously pull the plug by depriving them of resources, and services they’re desperate to keep, when there are other more compassionate measures to take. 

Sincerely,
Stormy Peterson

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Change is in the Air

 

Autumn ... the year's last, loveliest smile.


-William Cullen Bryant
(Indian Summer)
I doubt I will ever cease to be amazed this time of year as the best of Summer collides with the beauty of Fall.  All of the flowers are flourishing while the neighborhood foliage begins to put on its most glorious show pausing only for the bold, red punctuation marks dotting the casual holly tree who's been waiting all season to stop onlookers mid-sentence.