Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Bucket List | Time to Read up on Gardening...

It's almost Spring! I'm excited about this for a couple of reasons.  One, that it will hopefully keep raining, and two, that I get to start gardening in earnest. Last year was the first year that I ever put in much effort with gardening, and it soon became one of my favorite hobbies.  Since I'm still a newbie, I've been looking up some of the highest recommended books by expert gardeners.

Beverley Nichol's classic Down the Garden Path  contains Nichol's autobiographical trials and tribulations, and a lot of funny stories, about her attempt to turn a lifeless lot into a beautiful garden.  For a beginner like myself, it provides a lot of tips and tricks as well as reassurance that I'm not a complete failure as a gardener.

Onward and Upward in the Garden is another great resource for gardeners.  In 1925, Katharine White published 14 articles for The New Yorker on gardening.  After her death in 1958, her husband E.B. White, assembled her work and had them published together as a book.  These articles are considered classics that every gardener should read at some point in their gardening careers.

Our libraries also carry one of my favorite gardening magazines, Sunset.  This magazine not only has articles about gardening in our local climate, but information about getaways, recipes, and other awesome things on the west coast.  It's a magazine I read every month because it has so much interesting semi-local information.  Magazines can also be checked out for three weeks at a time, just like books! So next time you're in, flip through a copy and see what you think.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Learning | Doldrums

If we are to believe the prognostication of a certain groundhog in Pennsylvania, winter will be here for another six weeks or so. Many people are sick and tired of winter, especially back East, where polar vortexes seem to send storm after storm. My best friend, Roberta, who lives in New Jersey, recently proclaimed, "Enough, already!"

Doldrums of Spring, from jonasflanken's photostream
on Some rights reserved.
We have finally started to get rain here in the Central Valley. We know we need the rain. Most people I talk to are really glad to see it. But if it continues, I wonder how long it will be until I hear library customers wishing for spring and sunshine.

There's a word for the melancholy feeling we get, when the weather has been gloomy for too long: doldrums.  Doldrums first appeared in written form in the late 18th century.  Its origins are murky; it seems to have come from the past participle of the Old English verb, dullen, which is dulled. Doldrum originally referred to a person who was dull, what is sometimes called a dullard. Scholars have speculated that doldrum was formed on the pattern of the word tantrum. (Now that's another interesting word! Nobody really knows its origin, either.) We use the word in its plural form, usually in the phrase, in the doldrums.

If you have young family members in the doldrums, you should consider reading Zoozical together.  This picture book by Judy Sierra, with illustrations by Marc Brown, should help cheer you both up. I think my favorite part of the book is the description of all of the despondent animals in the zoo in the middle of winter: "Little lemurs stopped leaping./Their yowling was keeping the wombats awake. Then the snakes (by mistake) tied themselves up in knots. Ocelots lost their spots." They're bored. Nobody wants to come see them, when it's cold and icy outside.  So, they come up with a plan: they'll put on a Zoozical! Okay, maybe the songs in the Zoozical are my favorite part. I can't make up my mind. But who can resist songs like "The Seals on the Bus," "For He's a Jolly Gorilla," or "My Darling Porcupine?"

Another meaning of doldrums is better explained by an encyclopedia entry in one of SSJCPL's databases, EBSCOhost. Doldrums is another word for an equatorial belt of calms, located slightly north of the equator between two belts of trade winds.  Some people have suggested that the phrase "in the doldrums"  comes from comparing one's mood to that of depressed sailors who are stuck in a vessel on calm waters.

Sunrise in the Doldrums, from Angela Huxham's
photostream on Some rights reserved.

What do you like to read, to beat the doldrums?  Many of us turn to cozy mysteries, like Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series, or at least something light-hearted, like Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews. Leave your suggestions below. Your fellow readers will thank you.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Just Life | Library Computers

Did you know that the library has free internet computers? You just need a library card to use these computers for free.

Here is a quick summary about our library computers:

  • You need a library card to access the library computers.
  • You can use a computer for at least an hour per day.
  • To print (black and white) is only 10 cents.
  • To print (color) is only 50 cents.
  • You can reserve a library computer seven days in advance, but you need to use the reservation computers from inside the library.
  • Your print job gets printed right in front of you to safeguard your privacy.
  • Bring some change for your print job. Our printer doesn't accept credit cards or debit cards.
  • Your print job stays in the print queue for at least 2 hours so you don't have to rush to the printer to get your print job.
So, if your home computer crashes unexpectedly, don't worry.  Just come to your local library to use a computer for free.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha