Tag: public libraries

Seven Things I Love (11-23-2020)

1. This Millennial Explaining Why People Use the Word “Verklempt” So Much(I need to mention this article is two years old. Not that it matters.) Things like this makes one feel old. This young whippersnapper clearly never saw “Coffee Talk with Linda Richman” until she started researching this etymology.

You know, as a Gen-Xer, I know I was/am fairly absorbed in the decades of my salad days. Most people do this. But I think our generation grew up experiencing the pop culture of previous generations more than current gens. I mean, any of you watch the Cisco Kid or Three Stooges or Laurel & Hardy movies on Sunday mornings because the only other alternative was wrestling or religious programming (apparently Saturday & Sunday morning programming was the least expensive.) Where I grew up in Iowa, that is what aired. The major network programming was preempted by devotional television shows.

Of course there was some new shows like the ABC Afterschool Special (usually the topics were rather heavy and sometimes even traumatic or miserable.) This show did not age well and there’s probably a reason why we preferred shows from previous decades…

And there were the shows of Sid and Marty Krofft, Zoom (the amazing thing about watching these intros is you will remember all these kids as if they were friends from grade school), and Clutch Cargo, but overall, kind of slim pickings compared to the today. In fact, when try to find a list of popular kids television shows of the 1970s it will almost always include shows from the 50s and 60s.

(Side note: here’s a wonderful video about a guy who had an original talking candle prop from the Side & Marty Krofft show ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’ that he was trying to sell at auction.)

Myself, I was a big fan of Gilligan’s Island, really, who wasn’t. That show originally aired from 1964-1967. I was only TWO when it ended. The same with Leave it to Beaver, Bonanza, I Love Lucy (by the way, if you haven’t seen the Grace Adler version of Vitameatavegamin, you must), The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, I Dream of Jeannie, The Munsters, even The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle – these were all shows of the 1960s, some even of the 1950s. They were shows we were able to watch in rerun because there wasn’t four bazillion new shows on so we shared in stuff our parents had enjoyed.

Not that every skit that SNL does is worth seeing but there is certainly a huge number of things over the past two decades that have had significant impact on pop culture and it’s kinda sad that millennials will never know the references.

So why did verklempt become such a popular descriptor? Is it because we’re living in the age of rampant millennial hyperbole? Or does verklempt just ring true in many situations? Is its meaning versatile enough to cover everything from Star Wars references to ailing dogs getting free hamburgers?

The origins of verklempt trace back to the Yiddish farklempt, which refers not to any old overwhelming emotion but to a particular one: depression and grief. Farklempt is the past tense of farklemen, which means “to grip, press” and has roots in the German word verklemmen, “to press, squeeze,” which is related to the German verklemmt (“uptight”). And, following verklempt even further back in time, it leads to the Old English word clam or clom, meaning to “bond” or “fetter.”

But it wasn’t until the ‘90s when we started seeing verklempt being used in pop culture. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it started, but Mike Myers professed his verklempt-ness as Linda Richman in the 1992 Saturday Night Live sketch, Coffee Talk, about — you guessed it — Barbara Streisand.

I mean, how sad is it that generations of people will never see this??? Oy Vey, what a tragedy! What else has this generation missed?

2. This Animated History of the Lego Company – truly fascinating and the animation is fabulous.

I love the creativity of the fans of LEGO. For example, this creation done by LEGO artist Ochre Jelly

3. This Music Video from Naughty Boys and Beyonce – before I even saw the video I loved this song but then I watched it and I was blown away. It stars two free divers named Alice Modolo and Guillaume Néry underwater for the entire video. It’s amazing, you have to see it to believe it.

4. This Animal: Leaf Sheep – the only animal that can photosynthesize. I mean, how freaking cute is this???

5. This Illustrator’s List About Why She Misses Going to the Public Library – First, thanks Meta! Second, you will want to be sure to click on post so it takes you to Instagram because there are NINE items on her list and to see them all you have to be able to scroll.

6. This Reboot of Animaniacs (on Hulu) – I’m not a child of the 90s but I still loved this show (probably because I’ve always been a child at heart.) And this reboot is NOT a disappointment.

7. This Photo of Flowers as Bees & Butterflies would see them...

Because I’m always a little skeptical nowadays (as one should be, especially about things found on the internet) I wanted to make sure that the above photo had some scientific verification or at least find a reliable source that verified that insects see UV light. And I found something on PBS, which I deem a reliable source.

[Bonus] This Season Finale by John Oliver – I mean, the ending is amazing and Adam Driver is AWESOME!!! Fuck you 2020!

[And one more BONUS for Fans of The Crown]
This Series of Impressions of All the Characters from Season 4….


Word of the Day


Have a MARVELOUS week

Seven Things I Love (10-12-2020)

1. This Children’s Librarian – who set up the best display ever the day after the Vice Presidential debate.

2. These Celebrities teaching us American Slang – I grew up in Iowa where we have no accent and no slang! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha. So not true. In fact, my Mom, whom I adored, used to say things like “be sure when you worsh the dishes in the zinc that you don’t break anything.” And my dad still says the words “Worshington” and “garuntee.” And then there was the pop/soda incident of 1984. I’d rather not talk about it.

A few years ago I few out to a conference in California and the majority of the attendees were native Californians. I’d never met any of them. The first evening I was sitting across a table from a woman who was sort of staring at me. Understand we hadn’t introduced ourselves at this point and weren’t wearing name tags. We’d only arrived and checked in and were having cocktails while we waited for our rooms. After people started getting called to go check-in she came over and sat next to me and said, “It’s so great to talk with a fellow Iowan again!” I asked how she knew I was from Iowa. I hadn’t even said all that much (at least for me) and after all, I hadn’t lived in Iowa for about thirty-five years. She said, “Your accent!” I have an accent? Go on, I don’t have an accent. She insisted I did.

Turns out she had lived in California for quite some time but was born and raised in Iowa as well. As you can imagine we became fast friends. I still can’t tell the difference between her “accent” (or my “accent”) and the accents of the other Californians attending the conference. Apparently I am no Henry Higgins.

ANYHOO, this video is fun to watch. Here are all the people that show up in it and exactly where they were born and/or raised.

  • Jennifer Garner was born in Houston, Texas but raised in Charleston, West Virginia
  • Olivia Munn was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Keegan-Michael Key was born in Southfield, Michigan and raised in Detroit
  • Matthew McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas
  • Adam Devine is actually a fellow Iowan, born in Waterloo, Iowa but grew up in Omaha, Nebraska
  • E-40 is from Vallejo, California
  • Michael Sheen is, of course, not from America but is from the beautiful Newport, Wales
  • Jon Hamm is from St. Louis, Missouri!!! (A branch of my family tree hails from there.)
  • Chloe Grace Moretz was born in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Ike Barinholtz is from Chicago, Illinois
  • Tiffany Haddish is from Los Angeles, California
  • Jason Bateman is NOT from the Ozarks but was born in Rye, New York.
  • Laura Linney was born in New York City (did you know her father was a prominent playwright named Romulus Linney?)
  • Julia Garner was also born in New York City, in the Bronx.
  • Jennifer Lawrence was born in Indian Hills, Kentucky near Louisville
  • Joel Edgerton was born in Blacktown, New South Wales, Australia (and his reaction to Kentucky slang is wonderful.)
  • Mark Wahlberg was born in Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Adam Sandler (interesting detail about bodegas) is a Brooklyn, New York boy (not a surprise)
  • Idina Menzel was born in Manhattan, grew up in New Jersey until she was three, then moved to Syosset, New York on Long Island.

3. This Book, Emeralds of Oz by Peter Guzzardi – honestly, there is a lot we can learn from the Wizard of Oz books (plural). Also, have you ever read Wicked (and the sequels) by Gregory Macguire. They really are genius. The first one is best, they get less so as you go along but the vocabulary is almost Tolkien-level of brillance.

This fabulous graphic is from QuietRev.com, where you can find an interview with author Peter Guzzardi. QuietRev.com is the website for the Quiet Revolution and Susan Cain. Their mission is “to unlock the power of introverts for the benefit of us all.” That’s certainly something admirable to strive for.

4. This Cartoonist for The Guardian, Tom Gauld – I’ve been a fan for ages. His cartoons generally have a very literary slant. I have a couple of his books and am asking Santa for another one for Christmas!

5. This Reenactment of the iconic four-way phone scene from Mean Girls by four young women with disabilities. The intent is to show that people don’t have to be defined by their disability. It’s wonderful!

6. This Famous (infamous) Merrie Melodies scene, Leopold… The Leopold that they keep whispering about is a real-life conductor, Leopold Stokowski.

I also loved it when Merrie Melodies went completely into the adult arena, making cartoons for grown-ups. This cartoon has all sorts of famous people from the era: Peter Lorre, Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo (Garbo wore size 8AA shoes but between her own self criticism and Hollywood standards the rumor few around that her feet were too big), Ann Sheridan, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and many more. How many can you name? Oh, and LEOPOLD again!

7. This Young Girl – about five years ago (damn, time flies) my library system staff went to one of the local county fairs to promote libraries. They did this a lot, library advocacy is part of their thing. In addition to handing out materials about what our system libraries provided and they wanted to do something interactive so they put together this simple little activity using pool noodles and artistic letters laminated onto cards so that they would stand up. People could create any message they wanted and have their photos taken and my system put the photos up on social media. There were TONS of them but this one really caught my attention for two reasons – first, because of the word that she choose and second, because of the way she’s holding up the word, there’s just something so powerful about the way she’s standing. I just love everything about it.


Word of the Day


Celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Seven Things I Love 8-17-2020

1. The Technicolor Fashion Show Scene from the original version of the movie ‘The Women’ (1939) – I suspect more people are familiar with the 2008 film version of ‘The Women’ starring Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, and Jada Pinkett-Smith. The casts of both films are entirely women, you never once see a man, though there are constant references to them or a man will call on the phone.

The video below isn’t the entire scene unfortunately, it’s just the beginning – the full fashion show lasts about six minutes and includes the styles of designer Adrian. The film is in black & white but briefly switches to technicolor for this one scene. Apparently they filmed the fashion show in both black and white and technicolor. It was only shown on television and on DVDs in black & white but Turner Classic Movies restored the technicolor fashion show and how marvelous that they did!

2. Curbside Larry (Thanks KK!) Most places have someone like this. A person who does such obnoxious commercials that they become endearing. In Milwaukee we had a pitchman named “Crazy TV Lenny” who now owns an e-bike business called “Crazy Lenny’s.” I think it’s BRILLIANT how they used it to promote library services!

3. This Hallmark Movie – ‘Wedding Every Weekend,’ the latest Hallmark movie, has finally included an LGBTQ couple. YIPPEE!!! And it was NOT done subtlety either. This is now my favorite Hallmark movie (well, non-holiday Hallmark movie, I still really LOVE Christmas Getaway.)

Congratulations to new brides Vicky (Carmel Amit) and Amanda (Makayla Moore)

4. Thomas Fitzpatrick: The greatest “Hold my beer and watch this” ever – Picture it, Sicily, 1956… wait, that’s wrong, not Sicily, it was New York City. Mr. Thomas Fitzpatrick makes a bet that he could land a plane outside the bar that he was drinking in, a couple hours later he does exactly that, in a stolen plane no less. Years later when someone refuses to believe him he even does it again! (Found on MessyNessyChic)

5. Rebecca – it won’t premiere on Netflix until October 21st but I am so excited about this upcoming movie I can barely see straight. The novel Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier has been one of my favorite books since high school. I also love the old black & white movie with Joan Fontaine and Lawrence Olivier (1940.) It was my first introduction to the actor George Sanders. Most people only know his voice – he was Shere Khan the Tiger in the 1967 Jungle Book. His voice is beyond sexy, he really does sort of growl. His role in Jungle Book was just too perfect.

Getting on to the new Rebecca – good lord, Armie Hammer is playing Maxim de Winter. SWOON! And Lily James plays the unnamed woman who narrates and becomes the second Mrs. de Winter. Kristin Scott Thomas is Mrs. Danvers, Keeley Hawes (The Bodyguard and Durrells in Corfu) is Beatrice Lacy and Sam Riley (Maleficent and Radioactive) is Jack Favell. It’s all my favorite people in one film!!! Pinch me!

Rebecca: (L to R) Armie Hammer as Maxim de Winter, Lily James as Mrs. de Winter. Cr. KERRY BROWN/NETFLIX

6. Suffragettes – tomorrow (August 18th) will mark the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. That’s right, it was only 100 years ago that women were given the right to vote in our country. New Zealand was actually the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. They did that in 1893, although there were actually some women on the Isle of Man (geographically part of the British Isles but not part of the UK) who were able to vote from 1881. New Zealand women were allowed to vote though they could not run for office.

There are two important dates to celebrate in 2020 – June 4th was the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment and August 18th is the 100th anniversary of its ratification and being added to the Constitution.

Want a fun activity for you and/or any kids you may know? Here’s Flat Susan B. (a twist on Flat Stanley), color her in and share her with friends, or use her as a bookmark, or take her along wherever you go and have her show up in photos that you post on Instagram! Flat Susan B is AWESOME! (And remember, coloring is therapeutic.) If you click on the image below you’ll go to the printable version.)

Woman’s suffrage protest on Capitol Hill in 1917.
PHOTO: UIG VIA GETTY IMAGES

And remember, even though women won the right to vote in 1920, there is still a lot of problems with inequality in this country, which became very obvious with this summer’s BLM protests.

Sadly, the American’s Suffragette’s appear to won their battle at the expense of their black sisters. And the Equal Rights Amendment, though approved by both the House and the Senate in the early seventies never was able to get ratified by enough state legislatures before the deadline SEVEN years later. The deadline was extended for four years but still, the required of number of states was not met so Congress considers it dead. Several groups have tried to get Congress to remove the deadline but nothing has happened. Can you believe though that we, as a country, couldn’t get enough states to ratify the ERA in the first place???? Let’s see what happens in November, shall we?

P.S. if you haven’t seen the film Suffragettes yet, now’s the time!

7. The National Park Service’s ‘Recreate Responsibly’ Campaign Posters – the NPS began the campaign in April and it is genius. Humor really is the best way to get people’s attention, get things to go viral, and to get people to actually read things! The most recent poster, ‘Wildlife Petting Chart,’ is obviously in response to the recent bison incident (hint, don’t approach a baby bison when its mama is looking on.)


Ten* Things I Love (7-20-2020)

1. If We Treated Teachers Like Pro Athletes – Key & Peele – this is from a few years ago but SOOOOOO relevant right now.

2. This Ingenious Hummingbird – Paraguayan Conservationist Bianca Caroline Soares snapped this photo back in September of 2019. She had been observing hummingbird nests for over a year but when she saw this one she knew it was something unique and special.

“The hummingbird went on to have two chicks, and Soares was able to capture the trio under one roof—literally. The flexible nest expanded to fit the new additions and the leaf was able to cover them all.”

From ‘Clever Hummingbird Builds a Nest Complete With a Giant Leaf Roof‘ by Sara Barnes, My Modern Met, July 14, 2020

3. This Tutorial by Telenovela star Kate del Castillo on How to be an Action Star – She is HILAROUS! I had tears in my eyes. I am planning on subscribing to Peacock TV I’m just waiting for my smartTV to get an app.

4. These three incredibly talented beauties – Norah, Yarah & Rosa known as Let it Happen (thanks to my friend Jeta for originally sharing this video). Just wow.

5. Hear Ye, Hear YeThe Queen has her own Gin. There is pretty much nothing more perfect (and British) than this. Sadly it has already sold out. It is/was only available in the UK but I was hoping to get a bottle when I went over next year. Sigh.

The Queen is famous (infamous?) for having the same four cocktails every day.

From Vanity Fair (and Food & Wine):

And Food and Wine uncovered another detail about the Queen’s daily intake: the 91-year-old reportedly consumes four cocktails a day. And why shouldn’t she!? Let’s run through what they are:

Her first drink, per former royal chef Darren McGrady, enjoyed shortly before lunch, is a gin and Dubonnet with a slice of lemon and a “lot of ice.” Sure, this sounds about right. A classy and posh and powerful concoction.

Then, during lunch, she’ll have a piece of chocolate and a glass of wine at meal’s end. (That we have been eating lunch all these years without closing with a piece of chocolate and glass of wine now makes us feel utterly foolish.)

O.K., then, also at lunch, the Queen drinks a dry gin martini, according to her cousin Margaret Rhodes. So, yes, we are now at three drinks by roughly 1 p.m.

Her final drink of the day? It actually doesn’t come until she’s going to sleep: a glass of Champagne before bed.

6. Quarantine Public Library – this delightful little site currently houses over 40 one-page pdfs that you can download and fold into little “books.” They are really more like works of art. I made a donation of $30 and donated the mega-pack of the entire collection in one zipped file. If you donate $10 you can print out your own library card and there is also a general $5 donation level. Funds collected from the Quarantine Library are being directed to EveryoneON, which is a non-profit that connects low-income families to affordable internet service and computers. That is a non-profit I can absolutely support!

7. Urzila (pronounced Ursila like ….) Carlson – this South African comedian who does “not identify as fat” is my new favorite funny person. Her show on Netflix called ‘Overqualified Loser‘ is a hoot. Some might say she overshares, but then, isn’t oversharing really a subjective thing? For myself, I’ve always felt that society needs to stop being so freaking uptight and talk more about stuff. If we didn’t try to hide things that are part of life like menopause and mensuration and puberty and various stages of aging we’d all be more informed, less ashamed, and people that needed might need help would get it.

Anyhoo, back to Urzila, come on, how could a menopausal broad not adore a female comedian who is a lesbian, has a South African accent, and who does not identify as fat? Pinch me!

8. This video of Billy Joel playing a discarded piano – no words necessary.

9. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Cream – I have been using this for years. In fact, a while back one of my staff told me that my office smelled like this cream and it always reminded her of me. Which made me happy. It’s a nice scent. When I went to look for a link for this I started to panic because as I typed “Crabtree & Evelyn” into Google up popped “Crabtree & Evelyn closing down” – EEK! It appears that the retailer hasn’t survived the online sales surge so it did shut down its brick & mortar stores. So sad. But it relaunched in the middle of last year as online only and so this product is still available. Though sadly it has been repackaged and is not available in the larger size that has a pump. Still, I may need to stock up just in case.

10. Henry Cavill building a Gaming PC – seriously there is nothing hotter than a guy working on electronics. Is anyone else watching ‘The Witcher?’ I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing him in the new ‘Enola Holmes‘ movie!

*This week there was just too many things so I upped it to TEN things but this is not going to be a standing thing (I don’t think.)

Have a LOVELY week!

Quarantine Survival Guide (yes another one, but this one is written by a recently recently retired Librarian)

Credit: Martin Schwartz/PEOPLE

As of yesterday (March 24th) there were 17 states that had declared statewide Stay-at-Home orders. An additional 10 states had issued partial orders, meaning either cities or counties within the state had stay-at-home orders in place. Frankly, I think the entire country should be shut down – it would be the fastest/most efficient way to end this, but it’s difficult to overcome greed, gullibility, and ignorance.

Moving on. Since I retired in March of last year I basically had to adjust to a stay-at-home lifestyle. I can’t deny that I dealt with several months of depression. (I do plan on writing a blog post about this eventually,) but the circumstances aren’t exactly the same for me as for everyone else. For one thing, everyone else is going to go back to work eventually. Also, everyone is in the same boat and I believe there is something comforting about that. Obviously I was able to go out to buy things whenever I wanted to (and there wasn’t the fear of things possibly running out) and meet with friends in the days after my retirement, but there were days, sometimes several in a row, where I didn’t leave the house. Eventually though I figured out how to adjust (for the most part) so I thought I would share with you what I have found works for me.

1. Make your bed every morning – I was at a conference a few years ago and one of the people I met there told me a story about how his Grandma taught him, when he was a kid, that THE most important thing to starting off your day is to make your bed. He has been doing it ever since. So I religiously started making my bed after I returned from the conference and you know what, it DOES make a difference. (I admit, I used to only make it when I knew people were coming over. To be fair, I mostly did this because I would bound out in the morning and then forget about it.)

My friend Emily works at Peabody Interiors and did a fabulous video on how to make a beautiful bed:

2. Get your daily dose of nature – open up the windows in your house (or at least open them up a wee crack if it cold where you are) during the day, even if it is only for an hour or so- Getting fresh air into the house is IMPORTANT. Put on a sweater if you need to. Along the same lines, get outside – go for a walk (be sure to practice safe social distancing if you meet people along the way.)

Have your kids play out in the back yard. Make sure they understand that the neighbor kids can’t join them but maybe they can come up with a game that they can play where they each stay in their own yards. A scavenger hunt is always a good idea. There are loads of printable backyard scavenger hunts on the internet – find one you like and share it with your neighbors via text or email! Here is the printable .PDF of the one I created below.

This is one of literally hundreds of printable backyard scavenger hunts you can find on the internet

3. Use up your fresh fruit and veg – if you bought a lot to stock up before isolation make yourself some big pots of soup or vegetables that you can freeze. Or if you don’t have room in your freezer – a) when was the last time you cleared out your freezer? and b) could you possibly share some with your neighbors? (Of course if you do share it with your neighbors do so safely. Leave it for them on their doorstep and let them know it is there by text or email.)

One of my favorite artists Liam O’Farrell drew this beautiful picture of a bowl of lentil soup he made from things he had sitting around that were about to turn.

Lentil Soup by Liam O’Farrell

4. Have kids at home? Kids already have classwork that they are supposed to be doing. I’m sure that it is quite a struggle to get them to do that. But outside of the classwork, keeping kids reading and doing creative things will keep their minds healthy. Hopefully you all have library cards. Many libraries provide a plethora of online resources and materials. For people in my home state of Wisconsin for example, there is the Wisconsin Digital Library which is accessible to every single citizen. There are online classes and databases and many Librarians are even doing online storytimes via Facebook. Check your local library website.

There are also lots and lots of fun crafts to do with household objects. You can search the internet for loads of ideas. A friend of mine recently started sharing posts from this woman on Facebook. I LOVE THEM. She hasn’t posted much prior to the last few days but what she has been posting is FABULOUS!

5. Just because you are at home all the time, don’t let your house build up into a mess. Keep up with your tidying (or as I think of it, Nancy Drewing.) Make sure counters and tables stay cleared off. Put things away that you aren’t using. Pretend that people may be stopping by at any moment even though you know they won’t be. Do it for yourself.

6. Get dressed in regular clothes and follow your usual hygiene regimen – In other words, don’t wear your jammies (or sweats) for days at a time and think you can go for a week without showering. This goes for brushing your teeth and flossing!

When I was a kid, I had to stay home from school for a few months once because of the mumps which was compounded by an infection of my lymph glands. The swelling of my neck was so bad my dad would have to help me in and out of bed because I couldn’t support my head; it was incredibly painful. I also had to be in daily traction to try to straighten my head. Anyway, after a week or so of being in my jammies and being miserable I was quite ripe. My Mom said I should take a shower – it would make me feel better. I resisted but she persisted. She helped me take one and sure enough, it did. And she helped me take many more over the weeks I was sick and each time, I felt better. Whenever I was sick at home after that she would say, “you should take a shower, it’ll make you feel better.” To this day I hear her saying that and I still do it. Isn’t it sad that we don’t realize how smart our Moms are until we’ve lived a good chunk of our lives (or until they are no longer here so we can tell them?)

Even better – crank up your beauty regimen. Since you aren’t able to go to the salon or spa, DYI baby!

7. Meditate – learning how to reduce stress is VITALLY important, not just now but really always. I started practicing guided meditations because my sleep is for shit. You know, the wake up around 3 in the morning thing that most menopausal broads experience. I created a playlist of a bunch of YouTube videos I use, here is the one I’m currently successful with.

Also, jigsaw puzzles can be a stress reducer and/or if done with your family they can be fun too and a way to escape technology for a bit.

Additionally, if you have any projects hanging over your head that you have been putting off, bite the bullet and get them done! Don’t let yourself think, I have weeks now. It will always be in the back of you mind nagging at you and you won’t truly be able to relax. Just do it! (This means, just because they pushed back the deadline for filing your taxes, you don’t necessarily need to hold off filling out the actual forms, or at least getting everything pulled together you need to fill out the forms.)

8. Challenge your brain – many of you may be working at home and also have your kids with you but don’t let your only other activity be watching Netflix. There are a lot of Universities currently offering free online classes as well as your local library (as I mentioned before.) I myself am taking the Yale University course the Science of Well-Being. Here is a list of 1,500 free online courses from top Universities put together by Open Culture.

Puzzles and games also can challenge your brain – crosswords are an excellent way to do this. So are other word games like Scrabble, Charades or Pictionary, games that make you think.

You can also try some armchair traveling. Here are several virtual tours to try from the safety of your own home:

  • Here is a list of several world attractions like the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, Rome’s Colleseum and the Palace of Versailles that you can visit remotely
  • Here’s a list of National Parks you can visit virtually
  • Here’s a list of museums from around the world that offer virtual tours

9. Limit your intake of news and social media – as important and as much as you want to stay connected to the outside world, you need to make sure you don’t spend too much time inundating yourself with news about COVID-19, the economy, and the politics surrounding everything. For myself, I have set up my Facebook so that I only see notifications from certain people and FB pages and I only read those notices about 75% of the time. I have turned off notifications for most of my apps and unfollowed a bunch of people on Twitter. But despite doing this the algorithms still generate things and I find myself going down the rabbit hole, which is why I try to limit my actual screen time, at least on social media.

10. Support Small Businesses – as you know a lot of local businesses are going to be hit over the next month (and some are already struggling.) USA Today put together a website where you can buy gift cards to use A.C. (After Coronavirus.) If you can afford it yourself, even if it is only a $5 or 10 gift card, it will help. Remember, if we all buy them they will get a nice sum of money that will help them through this.

ALSO, don’t forget their employees – especially those who live off tips. People in the service industry like restaurants and salons are really feeling the pain. Most of them are trying to get onto unemployment (which has been extended right now) but some are having a difficult time getting through to the Unemployment Office. If you know your manicurist or hair stylist or massage therapist or the person who extends your lashes or the servers at your favorite restaurants well enough that you can Venmo or Paypal them a little cash for the tips you would be giving them if you were able to go to their establishment – DO IT. It can make a world of difference.

11. Laugh as much as you can – laughter really is the best medicine. Here’s the info on why from the Mayo Clinic.

For those of you who remember Senor Wences, S’alright? I always loved him. If you don’t remember him, check out this incredible ventriloquist and enjoy!

Updates:

March 26 –
It’s called “Physical Distancing” – read an article this morning about how the WHO is recommending people stop using the term “social distancing” and instead say “physical distancing.” This is SO smart. We really do want to just keep our distance physically but still remain as socially connected as possible.

About a year ago a small group of my fellow retired library directors and I started meeting for lunch on a semi-regular basis. We set up a luncheon for this month which of course we rescheduled to next month. When our Governor issued a month long stay-at-home order we thought we might have to postpone indefinitely. Instead though, we chose to keep the date and have a virtual lunch date. I now have a Zoom account and we are going to see how this works.

Another friend of mine has been enjoying remote happy hours with her friends on Friday nights. That is actually impressive.

March 28th –

I forgot EXERCISE! I am lucky in that I was already doing my Pilates sessions remotely (via FaceTime) before this all hit so I have a lot of equipment at my house, but you don’t need to have a lot of stuff to exercise. Of course taking daily walks in one of the easiest things to do (though a friend of mine who lives in downtown Chicago said that on nice days there have been so many people outside she hasn’t been able to go out.) There are also tons of videos on YouTube for a variety of workouts. For myself, the most important thing is stretching, especially this particular stretch –

We’re all sitting around more than usual so muscles need to be stretched out. I do this heel drop a few times a day and I tell you, when I miss a day, I feel it!

I think I’ll stop here, my list has gone on long enough and I know that people are getting inundated with recommendations on what to do. Hopefully you’ll find a few things here that are helpful. The important thing to remember is we are all in this together. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Help each other – that is key! And…

Five Things I Love (12/16/19)

1. This article on McSweeney’s* about Sensible Hairstyles for Women Over 50 (by Laura Winther Galaviz). I like the first one best, (a) because I am pretty sure I could pull it off, (b) I can actually crochet and (c) it’s just too spot on. –

Procure a fine purple yarn and crochet yourself a wig as thin and fragile as your waning relevance in American society.

2. This video of puppies walking to Stayin’ Alive…

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive …

3. The number of public libraries that are eliminating late fees/fines for overdue materials. The latest major municipality to do so is Los Angeles. Studies have shown that fines do not actually affect patrons willingness to return materials on time. If someone wants to keep a book past the due date, they’ll do so, fine or no fine. All fines/late fees really accomplish is preventing lower income individuals access to materials. That’s not what public libraries are about!

Sadly many libraries/municipalities have become so dependent on the revenue generated from the fines/fees it may take time for some of them to eliminate the fines. As a solution, some libraries in this dilemma have begun phasing the process in – for example, first eliminating fines/fees on children’s materials, then YA materials, then all materials. We’ll get there!

Mayor Eric Garcetti reads to children at the Central Library after announcing the city’s plan to end fines for overdue books and other materials.
(David Zahniser / Los Angeles Times)

4. The sense of humor of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation!!!

5. These candles (I know you probably have a zillion candles in your house, as do I) but when the holidays come around these candles really put me into the Christmas spirit.)

Aglow Candle Company – Merry and Bright
Thymes – Frasier Fir Collection

*If you haven’t heard about McSweeney’s, it’s a hilarious humor website. I think that most people will figure this out fairly quickly but I always like to be clear about a site when I post humor/satirical items because, well, you know…