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” 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 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 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 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.

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.