Most of us eat junk food, either upon a special occasion or as a part of our regular diet.

We recognize that it might not be the best choice but we are sometimes irresistibly drawn towards junk food. What prompted this to be a topic of the blog you might query? Well, last Friday, June 5th was National Donut Day and so I thought I would browse Chase’s Calendar of Events and see what other junk foods got their own day, week or month. Some other junk food celebrations are Banana Split Fest in Wilmington, Ohio on June 12th; Cookie Exchange Week starts December 1st; Eat what you want day (could go either way — junk food or good food) is May 11th; Ice Cream Cone Anniversary is September 22; Marian Popcorn Festival in Marion, Ohio on September 10th; National Biscotti Day is September 29th; National Bundt Day is November 15th; National Candy Corn Day is October 30th; National Candy Month is June; National Ice Dream Day is July 19th; National Ice Cream Month is July; National Licorice Day is April 12th; National Pretzel Day is April 26; Popcorn Popping Month in October; National S’mores Day is August 10th. For those among us who choose to pursue a healthier eating life, there are numerous food celebrations for you to participate in. Maybe one or more of the following might be intriguing to those who pursue healthful eating: Apple Fest in Paintsville, Kentucky on Oct 2 or the National Apple Harvest Fest in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on October 3; National Baby Food Fest in Fremont, Michigan on July 15; Black Walnut Fest in Stockton, Missouri on September 23; Blueberry Fest in Montrose, Pennsylvania on August 7; National Cherry Month starting February 1 to name just a few. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines junk food as “1. food that is high in calories  but low in nutritional content 2. something that is appealing  or enjoyable but of little or no real value.” I knew the gist of the definition but it still does not detract the appeal of an occasional indulgence in junk food. So come visit the library and peruse Chase’s Calendar to find a food holiday to validate your indulgence.

On Saturday May 30th, we lost power at my house.

Granted, it turned out to only be a short power loss but my mind immediately jumped to all the things I would need to do without and I am not even super connected. By that I mean I do not own a smartphone or a tablet and I am not on Facebook or Twitter. I do own a cell phone but its main purpose is emergency oriented. Back to the outage. I went outside, and naturally, a few neighbors had already gathered and were querying,”Did you lose power? Did you?” One of the neighbors volunteered to call the power company once it was established no one had yet done so. The power company said, “Power will be restored by 5:15 PM.”  At 4:15 PM, with a pop and a beep, the power once again surged throughout the house’s circuits. All of my misapprehensions and fears of a Hurricane Irene or Super-storm Sandy repeat dissipated. According to various sources, electricity was not invented, it was discovered and many people had a hand in harnessing and refining its uses. The website http://www.universetoday.com states,”The truth about the discovery of electricity is a bit more complex than a man flying a kite. It actually goes back more than two thousand years. In about 600 BC, the ancient Greeks discovered that rubbing fur on amber caused an attraction between the two and so what the Greeks discovered was actually static electricity. Additionally, researchers and archeologists in the 1930s discovered pots with sheets of copper inside they believe may have been ancient batteries meant to produce light in ancient Roman sites. Benjamin Franklin established the connection between lightning and electricity but it was Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist, who in 1880 constructed the voltaic pile (an early electric battery) that produced a steady electric current. Volta also created the first transmission of electricity by linking positively-charged and negatively-charged connectors and driving an electrical charge or voltage through them. For the first users of electricity, it must have been such a wonder and yet now it is something we take for granted and are stranded without it. So come to the library and we will help you discover the story between the people involved with bringing electricity to almost everyone.

Earth Day is here!

Earth Day is April 22nd and this year marks the 45th year of the celebrations. Come visit the Half Hollow Hills Community Library and browse our Earth Day display. Make sure you take a copy of the Earth Day bibliography which contains a sampling of books, DVDs, and websites. In Chase’s Calendar of Events, Earth Day is defined thusly “Earth Day, (was) first observed April 22, 1970 with the message `New Energy for a New Era’ and attention to accelerating the transition to renewable energy worldwide. Earth Day activities are held by many groups on various dates, often on the weekends before and after April 22nd. For further info, (you can visit) Earth Day Network, 1616 P Street NW, Suite 340, Washington, DC 20036, phone (202) 518-0044, their website is www.earthday.org.” In Newsday yesterday, they listed some upcoming events. On Saturday from 11 AM to 5 PM, Seatuck Environmental Association is hosting an Eco-Carnival, for further information on the carnival, visit www.seatuck.org or call (631)581-6908; on Sunday, there will be a docent-led tour of the tree collection at Old Westbury Gardens, for further information on this, please visit www.oldwestburygardens.org or call (516) 333-0048; on Saturday and Sunday, the Sweetbriar Nature Center will be hosting a yard sale with the baby animal shower on Sunday from 1-3 PM on Sunday, for further information visit www.sweetbriarnc.org or call (631) 979-6344. In the book “On this day in history” authored by Leonard and Thelma Spinrad and revised by Anistatia R. Miller & Jared M. Brown “Land ownership seemed to be a hot topic. In 1500, explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered the territory of Brazil and claimed this vast area of South America for Portugal — a nation who was not about to lose its claim to the New World to either Spain or England. In 1889, the great Oklahoma Land Rush took place. Homesteaders and carpetbaggers gathered at the border days earlier, and at the sounding of a gun on this day, the assembled crowd of covered wagons, horses … swarmed into Oklahoma Territory staking – and sometimes jumping – claims to the free land. Next to gold, land has impassioned people to risk everything more than any other commodity. As populations grow and land gets scarcer, this passion will surely grow. Or as Mark Twain commented,`I’ve heard they don’t make any more of it and therefore the price is going up.'” So tomorrow, April 22nd, be sure to go outside and celebrate Earth Day.

April is a month that draws attention to many things but perhaps one of the

most important, besides the Tax Man, is that it is National Autism Awareness Month. According to one informational source “In 1980, 1 child in 10,000 born was diagnosed with autism. Today it is 1 in 68.” Autism is defined by Magill’s Medical Guide 6th edition as “a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in emotional expression and recognition, difficulty with social relationships, delayed and/or abnormal language and communication, and preoccupation with repetitive, stereotyped behaviors or interests.” In the book, Miracle Dogs, this difficulty with social relationships is captured in one of the vignettes. The young boy is stand-offish and will not accept affection from his mother. A dog is introduced to the family dynamic and becomes the conduit by which the boy relaxes into the family dynamic. The young boy is still a little separate but is willing to accept hugs if his dog is rewarded. In fact, he turns to the dog and says, “I am doing this for you.” For further information, please check out one or more of the following titles: ASD, the complete autism spectrum health & diet guide: includes 175 gluten-free and casein-free recipes by R. Garth Smith ; Autism spectrum disorders: the complete guide to understanding autism by Chantal Sicile-Kira ; Autistic brain: thinking across the spectrum by Temple Grandin ; Easy to love but hard to live with: real people, invisible disabilities, true stories edited by Tricia Bliven-Chasinoff and Lisa Davis ; A freshman survival guide  for college students with autism spectrum disorders: the stuff nobody tells you about by Haley Moss ; Life & spectrum: a real look at high-functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome written by C.G. Meloy ; The reason I jump: the inner voice of a thirteen-year-old boy with autism by Naoki Higashida ; School success for kids with high-functioning autism by Stephan Silverman, Lauren Kenworthy, and Rich Weinfeld ; Six word lessons on growing up autistic: 100 lessons to understand how autistic people see life by Trevor Pacelli ; April also celebrates Alcohol Awareness Month, Car Care Month, Couple Appreciation Month, Defeat Diabetes Month, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Fresh Florida Tomato Month. Informed Woman Month, National African American Women’s Fitness Month and these are just a few of the additional honorees in the month of April.

There are many forms of therapy in the world.

My favorite form of therapy is music therapy and bibliotherapy and, sometimes, baking therapy. If I am angry, sometimes a loud angry song is the best form of therapy. However, baking seems to have a similar calming effect. I knead and pummel the dough and so am able to exorcise my frustrations. Bibliotherapy for me means switching between genres when I have become too focused on murder mysteries. The many ways in which man displays his inhumanity never ceases to amaze me. When this miasma becomes too overwhelming, I switch to a lighthearted contemporary romance or to straight fiction. Pet therapy, of a sort, plays a role in my contentedness. When I am reading and the cat is curled in her basket on my lap, I feel as if everything is right with the world. She gives me a measure of comfort. As I stated in my opener, there are many forms of therapy and they can be used individually or if your therapist sees fit in any combination thereof. According to Dewey, the number is constructed thusly. 615 equals Pharmacology and Therapeutics, adding an 8 so the number reads 615.8 equals Specific therapies and kinds of therapies. If you then add a 5 so that the number becomes 615.85 it translates to miscellaneous therapies.  616.851 further defines the number as mental and activity therapies. Hypnotherapy is 615.8512 with self hypnosis becoming 615.85122, activity therapy is 615.8515 and includes therapeutic use of gardening and of pets. 615.85153 represents recreational therapy including play therapy, 615.85154 is music therapy, 615.85155 is dance therapy, and 615.85156 is art therapy while 615.85156 is one of my favorites, bibliotherapy and educational therapies. 615.852 is Religious and psychic therapy but psychic therapy has its own designation at 615.8528, 615.853 for hydrotherapy and balneotherapy, 615.854 is for diet therapy, 615.855 for parenteral therapy and the last number in therapy is 615.856 for controversial and spurious therapies and the number notes includes quackery. Hope these numbers provide guideposts and assistance for some or all of our patrons.

Back to the furry dictator …

My furry dictator is aging faster than I would like. To anyone who counts a furry dictator, canine, feline or other, as a member of the family, they all age too fast. She is less interested in food than ever before. It does not matter with what delicacy I try to tempt her appetite, she simply has little appetite. She makes two jumps instead of one and if she misses she gives a look around as if to verify that no one saw her error in judgment. My housemates were gone for a month and the dictator let me know her displeasure every evening when I walked in the door. She meowed loudly and paced the landing until I would arrive upstairs and soothe her with a loving cuddle and ear scratches. The dictator is used to having someone in the house for the majority of the day. When evening falls, she is curled up in her basket on my lap and finds that spot quite comfortable until my housemates arrive upstairs and then she indicates a move of her nesting place is in order. She then resides in her basket between them until the hot water bottle is prepared and then she deigns to adjourn to my bedchamber where she rests atop the warm bottle. For those of you who want a deeper glimpse into the relationship between people and their pets, please check out one or more of the following: Dogs in cars by Lara Jo Regan ; The Good-luck cat: how a cat saved a family and a family saved a cat by Lissa Warren ; Judy: the unforgettable story of the dog who went to war and became a true hero by Damien Lewis ; A Letter to my cat: notes to our best friends created by Lisa Erspamer ; A Letter to my dog: notes to our best friends with photographs by Robin Layton and created by Kimi Culp, Lisa Erspamer and Robin Layton ; Miracle dogs: rescue stories stories and photographs by Liz Stavrinides ; Paw prints in the moonlight and Paw prints at Owl Cottage by Denis O’Connor ; Saved by Gracie: how a rough-and-tumble rescue dog dragged me back to health, happiness, and God by Jan Dunlap.

Balance is a very important thing.

The balance between work and home life, between partners, and between work and play is important. But that’s not the only relevant definition of balance. Balance is, in addition, a physical thing. Now that we are entering snow season, physical balance is a most important thing. I remember, as a young child, being envious of those individuals who could stand on one leg or walk the curb stone. I never could. I wonder what would happen if the police ever pulled me over and asked me to walk a straight line. I have never, due to medical issues, been able to take two consecutive steps the exact same. I am always correcting and overcorrecting for my deficiency. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition, has many definitions of balance but part of the definition reads “a physical equilibrium.” Homeostasis could be considered a synonym of balance. Merriam Webster defines homeostasis as “a relatively stable state of equilibrium or a tendency toward such a state between the different but interdependent elements or groups of elements of an organism, population or group.”  CBS’ 60 minutes did a program about four months ago highlighting a study in which older adults are harnessed and then tripped to see how and if they regain their balance. The following is a list of resources which may assist in improving the balance of our older patrons or those with medical issues. They are: How to avoid falling : a guide for active aging and independence by Erik Fredrikson ; Older adults and balance problems [electronic resource] ; Preventing falls : a defensive approach by J. Thomas Hutton ; Simple circles : an exercise program for seniors & their families by Howie Bell ; Treating balance problems [electronic resource] ; Weights on the Bosu balance trainer : strengthen and tone all your muscles with unstable workouts by Brett Stewart and Jason Warner. So let’s try to keep and possibly improve our balance in all things.