“I think that I shall never see / a poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest / Against the Earth’s sweet flowing breast ; A tree that looks at God all day / And lifts her leafy arms to pray ; A tree that may in Summer wear / A nest of robins in her hair ; Upon whose bosom snow has lain ; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me. But only God can make a tree.” Sergeant Joyce Kilmer wrote the preceding poem “Trees” and it seems a fitting start to the observation of Earth Day. Earth Day, in Chase’s Calendar of Events, has two entries. Earth Day, April 22nd, a day “to encourage all citizens to help protect our environment and contribute to a healthy, sustainable world.” The second entry for Earth Day reads “first observed April 22, 1970, with the message `New Energy for a New Era’ to focus attention on accelerating the transition to renewable energy worldwide. Earth Day activities are held by many groups, often on the weekends before and after April 22. Search for events online at www.earthday.net.” For further information on helping the environment, please pick up one or more of the following: The Conundrum: how scientific innovation, increased efficiency, and good intentions can make our energy and climate problems worse by David Owen; Global weirdness: severe storms, deadly heat waves, relentless drought, rising seas, and the weather of the future compiled by Climate Central; The Great Disruption [sound recording CD]: why the climate crisis will bring on the end of shopping & the birth of a new world by Paul Gilding; Green metropolis: why living smaller, living closer and driving less are the keys to sustainability by David Owen; How bad are bananas? : the carbon footprint of everything by Mike Berners-Lee; No impact man: the adventures of a guilty Liberal who attempts to save the planet …. by Colin Beavan; The revenge of Gaia: Earth’s climate in crisis and the fate of humanity by James Lovelock. For those of you thinking of becoming an entrepreneur, perhaps you want to take a look at these titles: Build a green small business: profitable ways to become an ecopreneur by Scott Cooney; Green to gold: how smart companies use environmental strategy to innovate, create value, and build competitive advantage by Daniel Esty; Greed to green: solving climate change and remaking the economy by Charles Derber; and Greening your small business: how to improve your bottom line, grow your brand, satisfy your customers and save the planet by Jennifer Kaplan. In honor of both Spring and Earth Day, maybe you will plant a tree or vow to do better with recycling, just a small step but if enough people take a small step, a big impact can be felt.

Have you ever wished for a crystal ball?

I could use one just about now, just for a small glimpse into the car buying future. I am in the midst of car shopping, which if you follow this blog, you know the process started in October of last year. However, I then realized it would be better to acclimate to a new car in the spring/summer when the bad weather is not so prevalent. I had decided that I wanted a small SUV but now am waffling because the size transition seems so overwhelming. I have done my research, I think, but then you do personal surveys and the responses can be alarming. One friend said,” I am unhappy with the mileage of my SUV” and another echoed the sentiment, admitting that while it got better mileage than her van, she was still filling up more than she preferred. I was a diehard Volkswagen fan and, still in my heart, love the Volkswagen but I cannot justify purchasing their small SUV, the Tiguan, because of its low mileage ratio. I do not have a great distance to drive but I want something that is not thirsty every two days. I was considering three or four vehicles but have since reshuffled the deck and though my Mom thinks the car is a box with wheels, maybe if I take her for a test drive she will reconsider her opinion. The other fact making it difficult for me to reach a decision is that I cannot test drive the vehicles for myself due to my use of hand controls. Another individual needs to sit behind the wheel during the test drive and while I experience the ride there is a difference between being the driver and the passenger. Sitting in the driver’s position in the showroom and actually being the driver are worlds apart. So back to the drawing board or in this instance, the test drives until I find the perfect fit. It will take time but I can be patient, I think, rather than suffer buyer’s remorse because of a too hasty decision. If you are in a similar quandary, perhaps Consumer Reports Annual Auto Issue, April 2014, could be of assistance to you. Happy trails to you

Today, April 7th, is a monumental day in history.

In 1873, on this day, John J. McGraw was born and twenty four years later, in 1897, Walter Winchell was born. In 1948, the United Nations World Health Organization was established. In 1953, Swedish diplomat, Dag Hammarskjold was elected U.N. Secretary-General. For further information on Dag Hammarskjold, see one or more of the following: Servant of peace: a selection of the speeches and statements of Dag Hammarskjold, Secretary General of the United Nations, 1953-1961 by Dag Hammarskjold, edited and introduced by Wilder Foote; Markings by Dag Hammarskjold, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjoberg & W.H. Auden and with a foreword by W.H. Auden; The light and the rock: the vision of Dag Hammarskjold by Dag Hammarskjold, edited by T.S. Settel. Unfortunately, for the world, Dag Hammarskjold, one of the world’s most influential peacemakers, died in a plane crash in 1961. For baseball aficionados, the name John McGraw is probably fairly well-known. When he was born, baseball was a fairly new game but McGraw helped make to make baseball the national pastime. He spread its fame and charm worldwide. In addition, this is World Health Day. In 1948, the United Nations established the World Health Organization to research and prevent disease and improve  public health worldwide. Thanks to this organization, smallpox was completely eradicated and the fight continues to eliminate other fatal diseases in every corner of the planet. Two books which I found highly interesting and which contained further examples of the World Health Organization efforts are Better: a surgeon’s notes on performance by Atul Gawande and No time to lose: a life in pursuit of deadly viruses by Peter Piot with Ruth Marshall. Other titles which might shed further light on the issue of viruses are: Splendid solution: Jonas Salk and the conquest of Polio by Jeffrey Kluger; Scourge: the once and future threat of smallpox by Jonathan B. Tucker; Polio: an American story by David M. Oshinsky; Elegy for a disease: a personal and cultural history of polio by Anne Finger; The demon in the freezer [sound recording CD]: a true story by Richard Preston

The Annual Budget Vote for the Half Hollow Hills Community Library

is on April 8th. For the exact numbers involved in the Budget Vote, please click on either of the following: 2013 Annual Budget, 2014-2015 Proposed Budget or 2014-2015 Budget Issue of the First R. I am a collector of various things but mostly of quotations which speak to me. Here are some that are relevant to libraries: “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries,” “Libraries are the best value for your tax dollars,” and if you think about this, it does prove true. For a family of four to participate in a movie night out is a costly undertaking whereas you can save money by coming to the library and borrowing a number of DVDs. You can make nachos and popcorn at home and have no cost refills of your favorite beverage. The borrowed movies can be paused if one needs a bathroom break and rewound if a certain scene is particularly good at tickling your funny bone. They can also be viewed more than once. Another of my favorites is “Librarians — kicking ignorance in the balls for over 4,000 years” and this speaks to my philosophy of librarianship, which is, to keep mining for the desired information until all avenues have been exhausted. “You want weapons? We are in a library. Books!! The best weapons in the world. The greatest arsenal we could have, arm yourselves,” from the Doctor in Doctor Who. For me, this ties in to the most basic tenet of librarianship, which is “to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” It is by reading and discussing what we have learned from those texts that new ideas are born and disseminated. By reading, we are adding to our knowledge base and improving our chances of making informed, knowledgeable decisions. “A book is a present you can open again and again,” “Books fall open and you fall in,” “I cannot live without books,” these are all quotations which embody my love of books. Hopefully, I am sharing that love of books and libraries adequately with you, our patron. So remember Library Vote Day is April 8th from 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM at the Dix Hills building. Come and show us your support.

“Keeping Healthy at the Computer Desk”

was an offering through the Half Hollow Hills Continuing Education Office. It took place in the High East Library from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The instructor discussed the many ways in which office workers may maintain or improve their health if they spend a great many hours in front of a computer screen. The first and always most important, stay hydrated. There are conflicting reports on the amount of H2O one needs to consume but all the people in the know agree that water is necessary to maintain optimal health. Two, sit properly in the chair with both feet squarely on the ground. The computer’s screen should be at eye level and the mouse should be ergonomic in design. The instructor further stated that the chair should be equipped with arms, to assist in carrying your body’s weight and a lumbar support for your back to be fully beneficial to the user. Another necessity is the importance of breaks, he said, and the length of the break is not a great consideration but rather that you take frequent 30 second to 1 minute breaks to flex your muscles, close your eyes, take a breathing break, or take a walk-around in the office or in the building itself. “Your body is not really designed for sitting,” he continued and proper posture is critical because even a degree of difference in alignment will make itself felt after a continued period of time. Ergonomics, which his lecture tied into, is “an applied science concerned with designing and arranging things people use so that that the people and things interact most efficiently and safely.” If your boss objects to the idea of mini-breaks, you can argue that these mini-breaks actually increase productivity because they increase blood flow to the brain. Additional suggestions were to have individual standing workstations, which may work for some individuals, but would be an impossibility for me with my balance issues, and to have walking meetings, in which the people involved in the meeting would either walk around in the meeting room or in the general building. I would assume this method would require practice because how would one be able to take notes. Overall, a most enlightening class. Now the problem becomes how long will I remember to practice what I was taught.

In Sister Act 2: Back in the habit, Sister Mary Clarence

simplifies the advice contained in Rainer Marie Rilke’s Letters to a young poet. Sister Mary Clarence is talking to Rita Wilson (played by Lauryn Hill), a young girl whose mother sees no viable career in singing, and therefore, is trying to dissuade her daughter from the pursuit of music. Sister Mary Clarence says of Rilke “He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say I want to be a writer. Please read my stuff. And Rilke says to this guy. Don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning, you can think of nothing but writing …. then you’re a writer. I’m going to say the same thing to you. If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first … then you’re supposed to be a singer, girl.” People, off and on through my life, have told me I should be a writer but at the moment, blogging satisfies my need to twist words into pretty sentences. The words floating, somersaulting through my mind, may eventually demand a bigger outlet but for now they are content with blogging. If, however, your calling is stronger than mine, perhaps some of these resources could be of assistance in furthering your ambitions: A book inside: how to write, publish, and sell your story by Carol Denbow; The author’s guide to building an online platform: leveraging the Internet to sell more books by Stephanie Chandler; The author’s toolkit by Mary Embree; The craft & business of writing: essential tools for writing success from the editors of Writer’s Digest Books; The entrepreneurial author: achieving success and balance in the 21st century by Jay Conrad Levinson and David L. Hancock; Good prose: the art of nonfiction by Tracy Kidder & Richard Todd; Page fright: foibles and fetishes of famous writers by Harry Bruce; Tax deductions A to Z for writers by Anne Shalka with Janice Beth Gregg. If you have already committed your fictional or factual masterpiece to paper, perhaps these sources can help with publication: Formatting & submitting your manuscript by Chuck Sambuchino; Novel & short story writer’s market; Poet’s market; and Writer’s market. May whatever tools you use to compose your masterwork, keep up with the words twirling, screaming and otherwise demanding their voice be heard through your hand.

In addition to March being National Nutrition Month, it is also

American Red Cross Month, Credit Education Month, Expanding Girls’ Horizons in Science and Engineering Month, and International Ideas Month, to offer but a few. The National Nutrition Month could be just the impetus needed, I the blogger included, to reconsider and revamp our eating habits. For a start, peruse AARP New American: lose weight, live longer by John Whyte; The Amen solution: eat healthy with the brain doctor’s wife cookbook by Tana Amen with Kamila Reschke; The complete idiot’s guide to boosting your immunity by Murdo Khaleghi and Colleen Totz Diamond;  Whole [electronic resource e-book]: rethinking the science of nutrition by T. Colin Campbell with Howard Jacobson. On May 18th, 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. A Presidential Proclamation has been issued for Red Cross Month each year in March since 1943, however, in 1987, the Proclamation was issued with the title American Red Cross Month. For additional reading on Clara Barton, please try these: Clara Barton: founder of the American Red Cross by Barbara A. Somervill; Clara Barton: in the service of humanity by David H. Burton; and Clara Barton: professional angel by Elizabeth Brown Pryor. Credit Education Month can be bolstered by browsing the library at 332.743 or perhaps borrowing one or more of the following titles: Consumer debt Joseph Tardiff, book editor; Credit repair handbook: everything you need to know to maintain, rebuild, and protect your credit by John Ventura; Get your life back in six months: eliminate credit card debt by John Cees Freedom; What the FICO!: 12 steps to repairing your credit by Ash Cash; You’re nothing but a number: why achieving great credit scores should be on your list of wealth building strategies by John R. Ulzheimer. So let’s celebrate this month by being smarter with what we put into our bodies and what we put on our credit cards.