Are Libraries Still Essential?

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Libraries are the thin red line between civilization and barbarism. – Neil Gaiman


I originally saved the Vox link, thinking that this was a fluff piece; a ridiculous headline that they easily debunked in the article. I hadn’t realized that someone had actually written in favor of getting rid of libraries in favor of Amazon bookstores/coffee shops.

I need to preface this by saying that I happen to love bookstore-slash-coffee shops. Whenever my family goes to Barnes & Noble, I find a comfortable space in the cafe and read or write. I frequently (before Howard Schultz began running for President) went to Starbucks with the specific intention to get something to eat and drink and to write. There is a comic book store that is also a coffee shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that is on my list of places to visit. I love bookstores and coffee shops, together or apart.

However, I don’t confuse them with libraries. Libraries have a whole different feel to them. They also have a different necessity to them. In fact, I’ve just come from my local library. I meet a group of people there once a month for a writing group. We’ve been getting together for about seven years, although they had been meeting prior to my joining them. I woujldn’t have met them if not for the memoir workshop that I began to attend, which not only gave me a wonderful learning environment but was also one of the important things that led me out of the darkness of my depression.

I returned two of my daughter’s books that she had finished reading, and I collected the forms to file my taxes.

In summer, I bring my kids for special programs as well as their summer reading program that includes prizes and a special celebration at the end of the summer. My older son attended a Harry Potter evening in costume and my younger kids met therapy dogs and learned some cooking techniques during two separate events. We’ve attended Olympics activities and Halloween parades. All of these activities were either free or for a nominal activity – one or two dollars.

I almost always see people using the computers, checking their email, searching for jobs, and whatever else they’re doing that they can’t do at home, either because they don’t have access to the internet or because it isn’t safe to (domestic abuse victims and the homeless).

There are several daily newspapers and hundreds of magazine subscriptions.

On my Kindle, I will often have the maximum loan of four library books. I am currently reading Timothy Egan’s The Immortal Irishman. I can hold books and sign up for programs through my Kindle.

Libraries often have local art exhibits, both from local artists working in several different mediums and school kids showing off their artistic talents from art class in school in all grade levels.

I’ve attended concerts and lectures, and will be attending a storytelling event on the first of March.

Last year, one local library had a comic book convention with activities, free items, and displays both to see and/or for sale.

I remember being a kid growing up in NYC and having the bookmobile come. What a special day that always was.

Every community needs a library.

If you don’t believe me, listen to Neil Gaiman; or to librarians.]

What was your favorite thing to do at your local library?

What was your favorite book?​

National Tea Month (Jan) – Tea Resources

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Please add your own in the comments.

Adagio

Barry’s

Celestial Seasonings

English Tea Store

Glengettie

Hamilton Beach Tea Kettle

Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders

Kung Fu Tea

Murroughs Welsh Brew Tea

PG Tips

Republic of Tea

Saratoga Tea and Honey Company

Stash

Starbuck’s

Tazo

Teavanna

Tu Hwnt I’r Bont Tearoom, Llanrwst, Wales

Twining’s

The Whistling Kettle

National Tea Month – PG Tips

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​PG Tips was started in 1869 (this year is its bicentennial) by Arthur Brooke in Manchester, England. It was named for its pre-digestion properties as a digestive aid until after World War II when regulators ruled that tea did not help in digestion. The tips in the name referred to the part of the tea leaf used.

Tea in stringed bags were launched in 1985 and the current triangle/pyramid shaped bag (no strings attached) were offered in 1996.

Knowing the importance of adverts, Brooke’s slogan was released early in the history of PG Tips: 

“Good tea unites good company, exhilarates the spirits, banishes restraint from conversation and promotes the happiest purposes of social intercourse.”

Today was the first time I’ve read that slogan, and it very nicely sums up the experience of tea and sharing a cuppa.

While I was in Wales, I drank tea every morning, sometimes several times during the day. At home, I normally prepare my tea in a mug, but what I discovered in Britain was that it was so much better steeped in a pot and then poured into a warm cup. Glorious. Decadent even. I was fortunate to find a wonderful tea cottage in Llanrwst. It was set on the other side of the bridge alongside the Conwy River. It was beautiful, homey, and very tea cottage-y. I ordered white tea with scones and jam.

Tu Hwnt i’r Bont, Llanrwst. (c)2009-2019

I re-created that wonderful repast this week for my breakfast, using my last bag of PG Tips. Drinking it I realized how perfect it tasted and I’ll be going out to get some more!

Scones: Blueberry (Starbucks), Strawberry Yogurt (Starbucks), Cranberry Orange (Archer Farms) with butter, jam, marscapone, and the perfect color of PG Tips tea I have ever seen or tasted! (c)2019

I’d like to share an anecdote from when I was visiting a friend of mine. He is originally from Wales (which is relevant), but now lives in the US. I was visiting him and his roommates. He and his wife had gone to sleep, and a few of us stayed up for tea. Friend #2 set the water to boil in the kettle on the stove. We were talking and when the kettle began to whistle we ignored it, finishing up the thoughts we were making. Out of the bedroom comes British friend, says nothing to us, turns off the kettle, pours the boiling water into the waiting cups and goes back to bed. The rest of us watch this with mouths open. He did not remember doing this in the morning. The tea is strong in the British.

Every morning, he made me a cup of PG Tips with milk and sugar and I’d discover it on my bedside table. It is still one of my warmest memories.

What is Compound Time and Why Should You Try It?

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For many of these types of posts, I would skim through the article, decide whether or not I thought it was beneficial to share, and then share it. However, after skimming through this one, I realized that I was already doing two and a half of the six hacks they recommended. With that knowledge, I wondered how my time spent was comparable to their other recommendations.

I sat down at my dining room table, cup of tea in hand, Kindle propped up, and read the article carefully, taking a few notes in order to be able to express what it was that I liked about the concept of compound time and why I thought it was worthwhile to share.

Beginning to read this article took minutes for me to convince myself that I wzsn’t wasting time and that it was important for my writing as well as my life. That’s the first conflict for most of us in reading an article like this. Take naps? Seriously? I already waste enough of my day staring into space. But what if that staring into space is something that jump starts a project? Or a thought that takes us to a new idea to work on?

We’re constantly being told that daily rituals are good for our creativity as well as getting us motivated to start our day. For the last couple of years, I’ve read what I call “daily books;” books that are meant to be read a page a day, whether they be devotionals and religious, prayerful or secular, they are something short to read to begin the day; to know that the day has begun, and we can go on.

Some of those past books have been:

Through the Years with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President

Three Hundred Sixty-Five Happiness Boosters by MJ Ryan

Women of the Bible: A Year Long  Devotional Study by Ann Spangler and Jean E. Syswerda

365 Saints: Your Daily Guide to the Wisdom and Wonder of Their Lives by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker

Currently, I am reading G’Morning G’Night: Pep Talks for Me and You by Lin-Manuel Miranda, illustrated by Jonny Sun. Every morning, I read the G’morning passage, and then before bed, I read the corresponding G’night. There aren’t enough to get through the whole year, but the beauty of this book is that I can restart it. The messages are universal, positive, and uplifting.

What is compound time?

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Birthday Freebies

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L-R, Top-Bottom: Free dessert at Chili’s, Free entree at Jimmy’s Egg, Free sidekick of ribs at Texas Roadhouse, Free soda at Regal Cinemas (from points accumulated), Free drink (or food item) from Starbucks, photo of tea at Jimmy’s Egg, Dessert at Ruby Tuesday (after getting free burger), French onion soup at Red Robin (after getting free burger), Raspberry white chocolate cake (not free, but oh so delicious!). Links in post. (c)2018

Birthday freebies are one of the fun parts of the week or so before my birthday. I am on all the email lists, and to be honest, I can’t possibly use all of the opportunities that arise in my inbox. Some of the benefits come with joining a rewards club, and some are simply signing up for an email list. I thought I would share some of the best ones, although as I said I didn’t use them all, although many of them don’t expire until the end of the month, so I still have time.

Note: Some free items require an additonal purchase (like an entree, etc.)

TGIFriday’s – free dessert

BJ’s Restaurant – free Pizookie

Chili’s – free dessert

Jimmy’s Egg – free entree

Ruby Tuesday – free garden bar or burger

Red Robin – free burger

FYE – 20% off entire purchase

Hot Topic – $5 reward

Starbucks – free food item or drink – only good ON your birthday

Texas Roadhouse – free appetizer or sidekick of ribs

Do you have any to add?

Mental Health Monday – What’s in My (Coping) Tool Kit?

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I’ve posted about this subject before – twice that I could find links to, so in additon to those links below, I will also add a few things that popped into my mind (and my purse) as of this writing.

On Saturday, I reposted the making your own tool kit resource. Many of the suggestions are valid, but of course, one size does not fit all. That’s why I’ve written about and kept my own tool kits; to demonstrate what works for me in real time.

What works for you? Share it below. It might work for others. Working together and sharing resources and tools are what keeps us all moving forward.

What’s in My Personal Coping Tool Box (at the moment)?

Worry stone

Supernatural reruns on Netflix or TNT (the apps are on both my kndle and my smartphone.)

Small notebook for listmaking

A little bit of money – about $20 or a dedicated gift card

Granola bar for a burst of evergy. Avoid sugar, like candy bars or chocolate. If you avoid the sugar high, you’ll avoid the sugar crash.

Journal/Sketchbook with pen/pencil for scribbles and doodles.

Water bottle

Fold up soccer chair (in the car) so I always have a place to sit.

My Coping Tools

My Tool Kit/Grab Bag for Coping

Suicide Prevention Resources

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My Crisis Resource Page

Depression Lies

Wil Wheaton: My Name is Wil Wheaton. I live with Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety. I Am Not Ashamed.

National Alliance on Mental Illness
Better U, Better Us– this is something I found through actress Yvette Nicole Brown. It is an organization that focuses on the mental well-being of people of color.

June is also PTSD Awareness Month. Mission 22 is an organization that helps veterans through their mental health issues.

Below the cut, a message from actress, Rose McGowan in addition to a list of international suicide prevention hotlines compiled by her.

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