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.

I remember when my parents first instructed me in the care, handling,

and proper treatment of books, both library and personal.  One of the primary rules was “Make sure your hands are clean.” “Make sure there is no contaminant around, in other words, nothing that can spill, splash or squirt its contents onto the page.” “Make sure to read in a well-lighted area.” This one seems to be going out the window. My eye doctor reports seeing more rapid eye changes in the young people since the advent of the electronic book and other gadgetry. They are too often spending time staring at a poorly lit screen in a darkened room. “Keep a dictionary or a piece of paper within reach to research or to document unfamiliar verbiage.” I recently came across these paragraphs which tossed everything I thought I knew on its ear. “Some people won’t dog-ear the pages. Others won’t place the book facedown, pages splayed. Some won’t dare make a mark in the margin. Get over it. Books exist to impart their worlds to you, not to be beautiful objects to save for some other day. We implore you to fold, crack, and scribble on your books whenever the desire takes you. Underline the good bits, exclaim YES! and NO! in the margins. Invite others to inscribe and date the frontispiece. Draw pictures, jot down phone numbers and Web addresses, make journal entries, draft letters to friends or world leaders. Scribble down ideas for a novel of your own, sketch bridges you want to build, dresses you want to design. Stick postcards and pressed flowers between the pages. When next you open the book, you’ll be able to find the bits that made you think, laugh, and cry the first time around. And you’ll remember that you picked up that coffee stain in the café where you also picked up the handsome waiter. Favorite books should be naked, faded, torn, their pages spilling out. Love them like a friend, or at least, a favorite toy. Let them wrinkle and age along with you”  by Elle Berthoud and Susan Elderkin from The Novel Cure from abandonment to zestlessness : 751 books to cure what ails you. This argument holds some water because I do often find myself rereading certain pages, if not the whole work, of favorite novels and authors. It does lend emotion and memory when you come across a little love note or a photograph of a loved one, human or animal. Please be sure, however, that the books you decorate, annotate, and hide love notes in, are your personal property.

Another New Year’s Eve has rolled by and for those of you thinking of committing to one of the

more common New Year’s resolutions, here are some helpful Dewey numbers. You will notice they are congregated mainly in the 600 area of the Dewey Decimal system. The 600s in the Dewey Decimal system compromise Technology (Applied Sciences). One of the most visited subject areas in the 600s is 610 through 618. 610 begins the area for Medicine and Health. This is the area to visit if you have decided to eat healthier in either an attempt to lose weight or just because you are having doubts about eating meat. You,  the patron, can come in and browse 613.2 which is simple Dietetics. 613.24 is a seldom-used number because the majority of us do not need to gain weight, but to shed it, in which instance you would visit 613.25. If your doctor feels your health might benefit from a specific dietary regimen, you would start with 613.26 adding a “2” to the end of the number to signify a vegetarian diet, a “3” for both high and low-fiber diets, and a “4” for a macrobiotic diet. If you need to cook for a specific dietary regimen, you will want to peruse 641 which signifies, in Dewey terms, food and drink. 641.5 stands for cooking, add a “6” and then the number stands for Cooking for special situations, reasons, ages, add a further “3” and the number is further defined as cooking for health, appearance, personal reasons, add a “1′” and the number becomes 641.5631, which is cooking for persons with medical conditions. You would add a “1” to the end of the number string for persons with heart disease, a “4” for persons with diabetes, an “8” for persons with food sensitivities or allergies, and a “9” for cooking for pregnant women. If you just want to vary your cooking in the New Year, you might visit 641.5635 for low-calorie cooking, 641.5636 for vegetarian cooking or 641.5637 for health-food cooking. For those of you who have decided that this is the year to start saving money for college by kicking that pernicious smoking habit to the curb or just want to save money in general, please visit 616.865 for smoking cessation or 332.024 for personal finance. If your New Year’s resolution is to de-clutter and simplify your life, please peruse the shelves at 648.8 which signifies storage or rather storage solutions. In Dewey terms, 648 is housekeeping and 648.8 is storage as a component of keeping a clean and tidy house. I hope these numbers benefit you and yours in the New Year.

They say “Clothes make the man.” Why not include women in that statement?

Clothes have the ability to hide a multitude of sins. Clothes can reflect how the wearer is feeling on a particular day. Women tend to admire a man in uniform just as men tend to admire women who have a polished appearance. ZZ Top has a song entitled “Sharp Dressed Man” and the lyrics are as follows. “Clean shirt, new shoes … silk suit, black tie, I don’t read a reason why, They come runnin’ just as fast as they can, Cause every girl crazy ’bout a sharp dressed man.” I find the words attached to the fashion conscious have an attraction of their own. Some of those words were/are: blade, blood, buck, Corinthian, coxcomb, dandy, dandiprat, fashionista, fop, metrosexual, popinjay, swell. The following are some resources so that you might put your best foot forward, sartorially speaking that is: Attention to detail: a woman’s guide to professional appearance and conduct by Clinton T. Greenleaf, Stefani Schaefer ; Beyond business casual: what to wear to work if you want to get ahead by Ann Marie Sabath ; Career and corporate cool: how to look, dress, and act the part at every stage of your career by Rachel C. Weingarten ; Dress like a big fish: how to achieve the image you want and the success you deserve by Dick Lerner ; Dress like a star: for every woman who wants to look her best by Annebelle van Tongeren ; Dress Smart Women: wardrobes that win in the new workplace by Kim Johnson Gross & Jeff Stone ; Dressing smart in the new millennium: 200 quick tips for great style by JoAnna Nicholson ; How to gain the professional edge: achieve the personal and professional image you want by Susan Morem ; The new professional image by Susan Bixler and Nancy Nix-Rice ; The new secrets of style: your complete guide to dressing your best every day by the editors of InStyle, written by Jennifer Alfano ; Secrets of style: the complete guide to dressing your best every day from the editors of InStyle, written by Lisa Arbetter ; The style checklist: the ultimate wardrobe essentials for you by Lloyd Boston ; Tim Gunn: a guide to quality, taste & style by Tim Gunn with Kate Moloney ; and Your executive image: how to look your best & project success for men and women by Victoria A. Seitz. If you are a stylish individual already, keep up the fashion. For those who want to brush up their skills, I hope the above resources provide assistance.

Holiday baking is in full swing in my house and I am sure in yours, too.

The holidays are those occasions on which we honor family and family memories by giving them life again. My German heritage manifests itself at this time with potato salad and frankfurters, rumtopf (which is a year-long process), pfeffernuesse and Advent calendars. The Advent calendar’s windows or doors, depending on your viewpoint, are opened one a day for the days leading up to Christmas, and in my memory, the last day of the Advent calendar hid the biggest piece of chocolate. In my family, we each favor one or another of the array of baked goods. My father prefers the hazelnut macaroon and the stuffed gingerbread, I adore the stuffed gingerbread, and my brother and his family prefer the Dukatenplaetzchen (a sort of reverse Oreo). The Dukatenplaetzchen is a sandwich cookie with a plain bottom and top and the inside is stuffed with chocolate. The halves are then joined and the top is decorated with more chocolate The decoration, in my household anyway, is in the form of a smiley face or with an initial. One memorable Christmas, Santa Clause stopped by. That by itself was a surprise but the really funny moment came when Santa dropped his pants. Thankfully, he was wearing long johns. It wasn’t until years later that it became known to my brother and myself that it had been my neighbor. For those of you seeking guidance or wanting to start a new holiday baking tradition, perhaps one or more of these can help. Cool holiday treats: easy recipes for kids to bake by Pamela S. Price ; Gingerbread architect: recipes and blueprints for twelve classic American homes by Susan Matheson and Laura Chattman, photographs by Alexandra Grablewski ; Good Housekeeping the great Christmas cookie swap cookbook: 60 large-batch recipes to bake and share [by the staff of Good Housekeeping] ; Gluten-free baking for the holidays [electronic resource eBook]: 60 recipes for traditional festive treats by Jeanne Sauvage ; Holiday baking: new and traditional recipes for wintertime holidays by Sara Perry with photographs by Leigh Beisch ; Martha Stewart’s cookies: the very best treats to bake and share from the editors of Martha Stewart Living, photographs by Victor Schrager … [et. al.] ; Treasury of Jewish holiday baking by Marcy Goldman. So don your aprons and bake those treats to wow your family members.

On Saturday November 1, 2014 from 10 AM to 1 PM, there was a Heritage Fair at the Half Hollow Hills

Community Library. The Heritage Fair’s purpose was to enable patrons to “learn about … family history at this fun day filled with children’s activities, music, refreshments, and more …” For those of our patrons who could not attend this event but want to start and/or further their investigations into their family background, I would suggest using one or more of the following to guide your search. We have Beginner’s guide to family history research by Desmond Walls Allen and Carolyn Earle Billingsley ; Your living family tree: keeping your family together forever through print, photos, sound and video by Gordon Burgett ; The Family Tree guidebook to Europe: your essential guide to trace your genealogy in Europe by Allison Dolan and the editors of Family Tree Magazine ; Ethnic genealogy: a research guide edited by Jessie Carney Smith, foreword by Alex Haley ; The Family Tree guide book: everything you need to know to trace your genealogy across North America by the editors of Family Tree Magazine ; Genealogical resources in New York: [the most comprehensive guide to genealogical and biographical resources in New York City and Albany] edited by Estelle M. Guzik ; Writing family history made very easy by Noeline Kyle ; The manual to online public records ; The everything guide to online genealogy: trace your roots, share your history, and create your family tree by Kimberly Powell. These are just some of the resources available for your genealogical research. Chase’s Calendar of Events has the following holidays or observances: Ancestor Appreciation Day is September 27th, Canada celebrates Family Day in Alberta on February 17th while, in the United States, we have Family Day on September 22nd. However, Tennessee celebrates Family Day on August 31st and Nevada honors Family Day on November 28th. Family History Day is June 14th while National Family Week is May 4th. The International Day of Families is celebrated on May 15th and Ellis Island Family History Day is April 17th. “By official proclamation of our nation’s governors April 17 has been designated as Ellis Island Family … this annual day recognizes the achievements and contributions made to America by Ellis Island immigrants and their descendants. Historically, April 17 marks the day in 1907 when more immigrants were processed through the island than on any other day in its colorful history: 11,747 people.”

Some years ago I made a promise to myself to read more of the classics. That vow has not worked out so well.

Oh, in the first flush of my new vow, I did read a few I hadn’t read before but the impetus soon dwindled. The most memorable of those I read are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. A classic is a classic, to my mind, because its story still has a relevant message. I may have to renew my vow to read more of the classics in between keeping up with current releases. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, defines classic as “1a. serving as a standard of excellence ; of recognized value 1b. traditional, enduring … 3b. noted because of special literary or historical associations …” Some classics reach notoriety such as Catcher in the Rye which was found in the hands of some assassins. For more guidance on the classics, please visit www.goodreads.com or www.read.gov. On the library shelves, we have some helpful resources as well as a section in Young Adults labeled Classic. The resources are as follows All things shining : reading the Western classics to find meaning in a secular age by Hubert L. Dreyfus ; Genrefied classics : a guide to reading interests in classic literature by Tina Frolund ; Practical classics : 50 reasons to reread 50 books you haven’t touched since high school by Kevin Smokler ; Shelf discovery : teen classics we never stopped reading by Lizzie Skurnick with contributions by Meg Cabot … [et. al.]. Some other related items on your library shelves are : Classics of Russian literature [videorecording DVD] by Irwin Weil ; Giants of French literature [sound recording CD] : Balzac, Flaubert, Proust, and Camus by Katherine L. Elkins ; Giants of Russian literature [sound recording CD] : Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov by Liza Knapp ; Life lessons from the great books [sound recording CD] : literature and language by J. Rufus Fears and Odyssey of the West [sound recording CD] by Timothy B. Shutt, which comes in multiple parts. So I will try again and maybe you, the reader, will be inspired to try the classics.