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.

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.   

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
Cream cheese
Cranberry sauce (1 Tbsp per sandwich)

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.


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
Craft paint & brushes
Glue-stick, and tacky glue (or Aleene's Stop Fraying)
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 disconcerting 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
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!

Thursday, November 1, 2018


“I had seen birth and death,

 But had thought they were different.” 

-T.S. Eliot