compassionate self disciplineRemember January 1st, the fresh new year spread out before you, brimming with heady promises and possibilities of a newer, sleeker, much improved version of yourself? You tried to convince yourself you’d stay on track. Deep down you knew that your faith in the efficacy of these lofty resolutions flew in the face of factual evidence from previous years when nary a resolution had been kept. Those past years’ resolutions were long forgotten, not even worthy of another Auld Lang Syne. No, you had not changed. Alas, you were and still are imperfect.

Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Isn’t this what we do every year when we jump on the resolutions bandwagon proclaiming that THIS will be the year the resolutions will finally stick and we will achieve perfection?

News Flash: There ain’t no perfect people, people!

Soon, January will be a distant memory. Was it really only a few weeks ago that you vowed to make a total life transformation by means of a numbered list called “My New Year’s Resolutions”? Yet, only last night you found yourself sprawled lazily on the couch, staring woefully into your pint of Half Baked FroYo, berating yourself for failing at yet another vague, perfunctory set of annual to-do’s, only days into what you are now certain will turn out be an annus horribilis. Well, join the club! Broken resolutions are cliché, but then again you knew that.

Don’t be so hard on yourself, please. If resolutions actually worked, we would not feel compelled to keep making the same ones over and over each year.

To be sure, I am not saying that setting goals is not a good thing, or that we should not strive to be the best and healthiest individuals that we can be. All of us who enjoy this blog know how very important good health is. As the old saying goes, good health truly is your wealth. Anyone who has navigated through a major health crisis can tell you just how true that adage really is.

joy in simpleWhat I am proposing is that instead of making big yearly pronouncements (inevitably forgotten faster than you can say Jack Robinson), let’s make it our goal to embrace small, daily acts of self-care that build upon each other to create a chain of healthy, long-lasting habits with real staying power.

You can make a fresh start every day of your life. I find this idea to be so freeing because mistakes happen. Back-tracking happens. Reverting to the old comfortable ways happens. Yet, every morning you can wake up to a fresh start with a clean slate. You can choose the healthy options that work for you, whether that looks like more servings of fruits and vegetables, more physical activity, or more time devoted to cultivating that certain joie de vivre. Thank goodness, there’s no need to wait until next year to start anew. You don’t even need to wait until morning to hit that reset button. Get going now!

By developing this mind set, you will learn to be more forgiving of yourself and you will learn to celebrate simple successes. Focus on the small scale, achievable, healthy lifestyle choices on a daily basis, and the big results will take care of themselves.

So, won’t you join me in making a no-more-New-Year’s-resolutions resolution?  You may just find 2016 turns out to be your annus mirabilis after all.

Andrea L. Dowling has been with HCLS since 2006, and is currently an Assistant Customer Service Supervisor at the HCLS East Columbia Branch. Andrea’s interests include genealogy, travel, reading banned books, and collecting vintage cook books.

 


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What must it feel like for a sixth-grade girl with a smile as big as the sun to be physically battered by classmates for wearing religious clothing to school? Or for teens to endure rock throwing, offensive touching, and abusive name-calling – all while teachers stand by condoning such attacks? In the aftermath of Paris and San Bernardino, some of the most emotionally scarred people in the U.S. are American Muslim kids and their parents.

You want a resolution you’ll stick with in the New Year?
Get out your library card and check out a book for your kids (and yourself) about what it’s really like to be Muslim and American right now.

Then pass it on.

Children, Ages 4-9

the librarian of basraThe Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter Alia is a spunky librarian in Basra, Iraq. When the “whispers of war grow louder,” Alia decides to rescue every book in her beloved library. After all, in the Qur’an, the first thing God said to Muhammad was ‘Read.'”

Mirrormirror, by Jeannie Baker, is a mixed media collage which uniquely depicts the commonality between two boys of different cultures. One in Australia and one in Morocco. Their mutual day unfolds from sunrise to moon up, and in few words young readers realize how much we all share with one another – no matter where we’re from.

 

Middle Grades

Ten Things I Hate About Meten things i hate about me by Randa Abdel-Fattah.
When Muslim-Australian, Jamilah bleaches her hair blond and sticks blue contact lenses in her eyes it’s for one thing only – to appear less ethnic. This is the very thing she would be mercilessly teased for at school. In fact, no one knows she is Lebanese until… Well, let’s just say this book is a satisfying and very funny look at why teens conform to the culture at large.

Guantanamo Boyguantanamo boy by Anna Perera is the story of an ordinary British teen, post 9/11. He’s picked on a little too much by his teacher, worried over by his mother, and indulged by his father. Typical. Right? Until the moment this second-generation fifteen-year, on a family visit to Pakistan is kidnapped, then arrested (without formal charging) as a terrorist and sent to the Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp. His Crime? He’s Muslim. A powerful and harrowing story every teen and their parents should read.

Adult

Finding Nouffinding noufthe language of baklava by Zoe Ferraris A stiletto and a lone camel are the only clues in the disappearance of a young Saudi heiress. It’s now up to a devout Bedouin tracker, and a lonely forensics expert, to unravel a cultural conundrum that Ferraris has woven into an exquisite mystery.

The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber captures the ache of Abu-Jaber captures the ache of displacement and the longing for a home far away in this tender memoir about her Jordanian father struggling to root in upstate New York with his American wife and children. Funny, warm, and all-embracing, Abu-Jaber shares with readers what her father taught her: that the taste of cumin, lamb, and pine nuts is a way for anyone of any culture who has immigrated to this country to “hold on to the shadow of memory.”

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.


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this year i willIt’s that time of year, again. Most of the holiday celebrations are wrapping up and the New Year is just a couple days away. Many people reflect during this time and make promises to “be better” in the coming year. Here’s one piece of advice for you as you mull over your possible resolutions: be realistic.

If you’re 50 lbs. overweight and want to lose those L-B’s, make a plan that you can execute. If you want to stop eating out so much and cook more at home, make a plan that fits your lifestyle. If you want to work on your relationships, take steps that you can actually accomplish. Basically, don’t make promises to yourself and others that you simply cannot keep.

So, here are some suggestions gathered from myriad books, articles, and personal experiences that could help as you draft your own resolutions for the New Year.

Read
Do your research. Read up on your topic of interest. Visit your local library, take a look at their recommendations or look at the best-sellers. You could check out prominent, credible authors’ works or (dare I say it?) briefly search online. The latter of these is best done with high scrutiny, or best yet, with your favorite library staff. Gathering information is always the best thing you can do when you’re not sure where to start.

Consult Expert(s)
If you’re looking to improve your health in any way, visit your primary care physician. Get a physical. Visit a nutritionist. See an endocrinologist, a dermatologist, or a psychiatrist. Whatever your health needs are, take steps to find the specialist who can help you. Remember, finding an expert is like giving an interview. It can take time to find the right expert for your needs. Advocate for yourself and don’t settle for anything less than what’s best for you.

Write it down!
Literally! Write down your goals. Be as specific as you possibly can. Instead of writing down, “Lose weight.” Consider writing, “I will exercise for 30 minutes, three days a week. I will eat a healthy breakfast every morning. I will check in with my doctor to monitor my progress.” Post them where you can see them daily or keep them in a journal. Be committed to that promise to be better and do better in the coming year. Words are incredibly powerful and when written (and read) can provide the inspiration you need to change. It’s real now. Make it happen!

Get Support
There are few things in life you can do alone. Big goals require big support. Little goals require big support. Make sure someone outside of yourself holds you accountable. Tell your family, listen to your experts, and find others who’re on the same journey. It’s proven that those who have meaningful support as they tackle their goals are significantly more successful than those who hide under the table and go at it alone. Every single one of Mark Hyman’s books goes over this; read his works!

Measure Progress, Adjust to the Real World
How do you know you’ve been successful? Well, when you wrote your specific goals down, you should be able to say whether or not to were able to achieve those goals. If you can’t identify whether or not your were successful, it’s time to rewrite your goals in a way that it is measurable. How you measure your progress can also be another discussion with your expert. Remember, it takes 21-29 days to form a habit. Make sure you’re forming good habits. Evaluate your goals and adjust if necessary.

Finally, be kind to yourself. You’re not going to get everything right all of the time. You’re going to mess up. You will fall short. Accept it and learn from it. When you’re realistic with your resolutions you will find success. Success requires work- hard work and a lot of help, but you can do it.

What are some of your resolutions for the New Year? Do you have any advice for resolution makers?


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jazminRainy weather should not stop us from getting our exercise. Remember being a child, and playing in the rain?

Jazmin is all set to lead the neighborhood parade. She flings the door open and encounters a big problem: the weather. Wind and thunder are followed by rain: “Slap! Rain poured down in buckets.” Thus begins Jazmin’s tale of disappointment and frustration as she waits for the storm to stop. ” Mounting frustration leads Jazmin to step outside and shake her fists at the rain and stomp her feet. But frustration gives way to fun as she kicks and chases the rain down the sidewalk: “I am Jazmin, the Rain Stomper!” Other youngsters come outside to watch; they urge her on, laughing and clapping. By the time Jazmin has finished, the sun has come out and the cheering children end up having their parade after all. “And so it was that Jazmin, the Rain Stomper outstomped the rain.” Large letters in white, black, or red and in different sizes emphasize the sounds and rhythm of the rain and thunder (“BOOM walla BOOM BOOM!”; “clink, clink WHOOSH!”).

who likes the rain yeeA delightful read-aloud that deals with making the best of a disappointing situation.

It’s time to put on your rain gear for a rainy-day romp! It’s time to put on a raincoat, grab an umbrella, and head outdoors. The worms like rain, and so do the fish and frogs. But what about the cat and dog? In this lyrical picture book, one spunky little girl discovers just who likes rain–and who doesn’t–as she explores the rainy-day habits of the world around her. The rhyming text (and often the illustrations) provides clues to her guessing game, so young listeners will easily guess the answers: “Who likes rain? / Not Papa’s old truck. / Who likes rain? / Quack, quack… / It’s a duck!”

Grab your umbrella (and shiny rain boots) and take a walk in the rain. You never know who you might see out there on the walking paths of Howard County!

rain ashmanA child and an adult look at rain from both sides. A grumpy elderly man resents the rain (“Dang puddle”); meanwhile, his young neighbor is overjoyed by it (“It’s raining frogs and pollywogs!”). The boy happily and energetically responds to the greetings of his neighbors as he hops like a frog into the puddles. The man snaps at everyone and harrumphs his way through the streets. An act of kindness and a bit of role playing lead to a change of heart, a happier outlook and a big splash. Text and illustrations are beautifully constructed and perfectly complementary. Ashman imparts the essence of the tale in just a few well-chosen phrases. Robinson’s renderings fill the city setting with crisp details. The boy and the man move briskly through the pages along with a cast of supporting characters and passersby, all of whom are depicted with expressive individuality. It’s all about attitude, isn’t it?

Shirley ONeill works for Howard County Library System as the Children’s and Teen Materials Specialist. She cannot believe she actually gets paid to do this job.

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Thanksgiving dinner has to be the most favored hedonistic joys of the holidays. It kicks off the season of excused gluttony with family and friends. Thanksgiving dinner is second only to the Halloween candy binge and is truly the beginning of bad food decisions for the winter months. Oh, the sheer excitement of pigging out with those you love only to collapse in a heap on the couch to watch football. Oh yes, I LOVE Thanksgiving, but the results of the aforementioned food binge don’t help me meet my health goals. Believe me, losing weight, staying healthy, and making food decisions around the holidays is tough, but it’s necessary. Here are some swaps to consider.

  1. Cauliflower mash is awesome. I was skeptical myself at first, but this is one really tasty way to make your Thanksgiving dinner less fattening and more interesting. Check out this recipe for garlic cauliflower mash, 600 plus reviewers can’t be wrong, right? Also, try Brassicas for more healthy vegetable based dishes.
  2. Sweet potatoes slathered in butter and toasted marshmallows are sweetly decadent. Unfortunately, for most people, and particularly diabetics, the extra sugars (and fat) in this traditional dish would require a serious bolus shot of insulin and a several days of cross fit sessions to counteract the damage. Instead, opt for a savory herb casserole packed with flavor not with empty calories. Vegetable Literacy may have the right recipe for you. Please, stay strong, you don’t need those toasted marshmallows, you just want them.
  3. Stuffing is, in my book, a hearty, gratifying, carb-city of deliciousness. Unfortunately, this dish is a real pain for many of my family members. Celiac is no joke and stuffing is a nightmare of sorts for those living with the disease. Celiac Creations for Multiple Allergies is a 2015 title that may help find the right substitute to satisfy that stuffing craving.
  4. Lay off the booze or seriously reduce your intake. I get it, everyone wants to have a drink once in a while, but sometimes it seems like people use the holidays as an excuse to… well, binge. Listen, I know you’ve either been to a holiday party (or heard about) where someone went overboard with the punch and, well, got a little too “punchy.” Trust me, that’s never pretty. Binge drinking hurts your body in numerous ways. Instead, opt for a small glass of sparkling juice or mix sparkling water with fresh fruit if you need a little bubbly. Cool Waters has some great low and no-cal drinks you can try. If you do choose to drink, limit your intake, and always have a plan for getting around town or getting back home. A glass of wine or a couple beers may not hurt you, but you could hurt someone else.
  5. Go for a walk or play a game of touch football in the yard. O.K. I know this isn’t a “food swap,” but it’s definitely a way to switch things up. Instead of sinking into that couch post-turkey feast to watch the Panthers & Cowboys, go outside and take a walk around your neighborhood. Besides, the Bears-Packers game will be much more interesting (what with the recent jinx conspiracy based on Ditka doing that fast food commercial wearing Packers’ gear). Basically, if you don’t do any Thanksgiving food swaps, but do go for a walk or do some exercise after your meal, you’ll reduce your blood sugars and, at least, feel like you’re burning a few of those extra calories.

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As summer turns to fall, I feel the seasons changeover with achy twinges in my joints. Some people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), like myself, feel changes in the weather with their bodies. I can feel big storms, pressure changes, and shifts in humidity.

Frequently, the most challenging transition I encounter is when summer shifts to fall. I often feel my best during summertime. I experience less joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and have more energy overall. Unfortunately, as those warm summer days darken into chilly ones, my joints grow achier and harder to move.

Through the years, I’ve developed coping mechanisms to handle these seasonal changes. I don’t think I have a perfect routine, but I better understand what helps me to feel better and manage the changes in my physical condition.

      • Get more rest. Instead of getting angry at my body and denying the problem, I have to be gentler on myself and take time to get more rest. I try to go to sleep earlier, if possible, on week nights. And on weekends I may sleep in or take naps during the day. On especially bad days, I may scale back my schedule and replace activity with more resting.
      • Stay warm. When my joints become cold I have two problems. I feel worse, with more pain and stiffness. Plus, it takes a ridiculously long time for me to warm up and feel better. The best plan is to stay warm in the first place. I often dress warmer than most people—taking out the sweaters as early as September. And at night I have a heating blanket turned up on high. Taking proactive measures can help prevent bigger problems with my RA.
      • Keep up with gentle exercise. When my RA feels worse, it can be very difficult to motivate myself for exercise. It’s natural for my body to complain about moving when my joints ache and feel stiffer than molasses. But even on bad days if I do some gentle stretches and slow motions, then my bones loosen up and some of the pain dissipates. A little exercise can go a long way, which will hopefully help me feel better tomorrow as well.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis has its limitations, but I can still take care of myself with some gentleness. While I can’t necessarily fight the effects of winter, I can ease my body into it with a little self-care. Taking the time to observe how I feel and experiment with some techniques for combating the worst symptoms has helped me navigate the changing seasons.

Kelly Mack lives in Washington, DC, and works for a marketing communications firm.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, October 19, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Tuesday, October 20, 10:30 a.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun! Challenge your brain with puzzles, word games, and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event.Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.
Tuesday, October 20, 7:00 p.m. HCLS Literary Salon – Giving Voice to the Healing Arts at Miller Branch. Ann Bracken, Frederick Foote, M.D., Jen Grow, and Michael Salcman, M.D., read their works of poetry and prose that explore themes of physical, emotional, and psychological healing. Little Patuxent Review editor and poet Steven Leyva moderates the readings. Refreshments served. Books available for purchase and signing. Meet the Author event. In partnership with Little Patuxent Review and Howard County Poetry and Literature Society. Sponsored by Friends of Howard County Library System. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.
Wednesday, October 21, 10:30 a.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Elkridge Branch. Explore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Ticket required. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

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calendar_2015_blogTuesday, October 13, 1:00 p.m. -3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Wednesday, October 14, 10:30 a.m. EatPlayGrow™ at Elkridge Branch. Explore health and safety concepts inspired by children’s literature. Ages 3-5 with adult; 45 min. Multi-week series. Ticket required. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, October 14, 7:00 p.m. CPR Class at Central Branch. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and kills someone every two minutes in the United States. Learn to save someone’s life in this class that teaches the simple steps of Hands-Only CPR for victims over the age of eight years old. Discover how to recognize sudden cardiac arrest, how to perform Hands-Only CPR, and how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This is a non-certification class. In partnership with Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-7800.


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As technology increasingly shapes and informs how we interact with each other online, how can we foster positive communication through social media, and how can we encourage people to make good choices about the information they share? What does it mean to be a good digital citizen, and what impact does our online presence have on our off-line reputation? How and why do our online and offline personas differ? Could our online personas benefit from more deliberate thought about how we portray ourselves and interact with others? What role, if any, should civility play in our online personas? Learn how social media users of all ages can cultivate and demonstrate digital civility, appropriate communication, and personal responsibility when using social media platforms.

Wellness permeates all facets of our lives from physical and mental to behavioral and beyond.
Howard County Library System invites you to join the discussion and register for this event here.

 


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calendar_2015_blogSaturday, October 03, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Well & Wise event. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, October 05,  3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. No registration required.
Thursday, October 08, 7:00 p.m. CPR Class at East Columbia Branch. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and kills someone every two minutes in the United States. Learn to save someone’s life in this class that teaches the simple steps of Hands-Only CPR for victims over the age of eight years old. Discover how to recognize sudden cardiac arrest, how to perform Hands-Only CPR, and how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This is a non-certification class. In partnership with Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-7700.

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calendar_2015_blogTuesday, September 29, 10:30 a.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun! Challenge your brain with puzzles, word games, and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.


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13974382668_1ab3ce6d94_z
How many hours does your child spend in front of a screen? Factoring in smart phone, video game, computer, and television time, the average child today spends 7 hours with electronic media. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to wait until a child is at least 2 before allowing any screen time. Older children and teens should be limited to 1-2 hours per day. The AAP recommends that every home have a “screen-free zone” where there are no electronic devices. Ideally, bedrooms and dining areas should have no computers, televisions or video game consoles.

growing up socialThe Johns Hopkins Medicine online library includes information on school-aged children’s developmental milestones as well as television guidelines. Children learn and enjoy so many new skills and activities as they grow. Watching television to the exclusion of playing, reading, doing crafts and spending time with friends narrows a child’s world. When they do watch television, children benefit from watching with their parents so they can discuss what they see. Selecting kid-appropriate shows allows parents to guide their children toward the highest quality programming. Most children spend 3 hours per day watching television. This is time that could instead be spent participating in sports, exploring nature, writing a poem, playing a new board game or discovering an amazing author.

Excess screen time has been associated with poor school performance, attention deficit disorder, and obesity in children. Increased exposure to social media platforms places children at higher risk of bullying, anxiety disorders, depression, suicidal ideation, and dangerous behavior. We are all so busy that it is already challenging to get enough sleep. Using electronic devices before bedtime, however, can make it more difficult for children to fall asleep and contributes to sleep disorders.

screen free activitiesAs parents, we can promote reading, creative play, and activities that use the imagination. We can model limited use of electronic devices with our own behavior. We should show true interest in our childrens’ school and free time plans and encourage open communication. Family activities such as hiking, card games, art projects, and making music are great ways to spend time together. The HCLS collection includes many books about travelling with kids. For some local adventure, check out Fun with the Family in Maryland: Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids and Day Trips in Delmarva. HCLS has so many wonderful books filled with ideas for family entertainment. Take a look at Project Kid:  100 Ingenius Crafts for Family Fun, 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids:  The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com, and Unbored:  The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. All include imaginative play and craft ideas for all ages. Enjoy some time being a screen-free family.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, September 21, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. No registration required.
Tuesday, September 22, 7:00 p.m. CPR Class at Central Branch. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and kills someone every two minutes in the United States. Learn to save someone’s life in this class that teaches the simple steps of Hands-Only CPR for victims over the age of eight years old. Discover how to recognize sudden cardiac arrest, how to perform Hands-Only CPR, and how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This is a non-certification class. In partnership with Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-7800.

Wednesday, September 23, 7:00 p.m. Brain Aerobics at Miller Branch. Give your brain a workout. Enhance your memory and have fun! Challenge your brain with puzzles, word games, and other smart tasks. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Thursday, September 24, 6:00 p.m. Babysitting 101 at East Columbia Branch. Learn the essentials of babysitting with a University of Maryland Extension instructor. Participants receive a certificate (must attend all three sessions): Sep 10, 17 & 24. Well & Wise event. Ages 13 & up. If you would like a reminder for this class, please provide an email address. Register online or by calling 410-313-7700.


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calendar_2015_blogMonday, September 14, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

Monday, September 14, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us to use artistic expression to improve your mood. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Wednesday, September 16, 7:00 p.m. CPR Class at Savage Branch. Sudden Cardiac Arrest can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere and kills someone every two minutes in the United States. Learn to save someone’s life in this class that teaches the simple steps of Hands-Only CPR for victims over the age of eight years old. Discover how to recognize sudden cardiac arrest, how to perform Hands-Only CPR, and how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This is a non-certification class. In partnership with Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Wednesday, Sept. 16, 6-7 p.m. $88 for 8 sessions. Prenatal Exercise with gentle stretching and light exercises to help condition birth muscles and enhance well-being to help prepare your body for the birthing process. For prenatal mothers only. Held in the Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center.

Thursday, September 17, 6:00 p.m. Babysitting 101 at East Columbia Branch. Learn the essentials of babysitting with a University of Maryland Extension instructor. Participants receive a certificate (must attend all three sessions): Sep 10, 17 & 24. Well & Wise event. Ages 13 & up. If you would like a reminder for this class, please provide an email address. Register online or by calling 410-313-7700.

Monday, Sept. 21, 6:30-8 p.m. Free. Healthy Eating on the Go! Join us for a discussion on eating healthy in a fast-paced world. Learn how the new food label can help you make better choices when dining out and how you can prepare healthy, low-cost lunches at home. The seminar is in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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DD5kHeaderImage2015WebV2Howard County Library System has teamed up with the Downtown Columbia Partnership for the second annual Discover Downtown Columbia Running Event happening September 27, 2015. The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a one mile Fun Run for children up to 10 years old. The 5k begins at 9:07 a.m. at the Plaza at The Mall in Columbia and will finish at the People Tree on the Downtown Lakefront. This is also listed as a Road Runners Club of America member event.

Runners will experience the iconic landmarks of Columbia like Symphony in the Woods and Merriweather Post Pavillion in a new way. The course will guide runners past Howard County Library Central Branch and onto Columbia Association’s newly renovated pathway around Lake Kittamaqundi, and set runners toward the finish line at the People Tree.

Participants can enjoy myriad post-race activities courtesy of Downtown Columbia Partners including live music and entertainment for all-ages. In fact, it’s rumored live entertainment may be present along the course with a post-race concert awaiting finishers. Clyde’s “Beer Garden” and Whole Foods Market’s “Runners Garden” will be on site offering free beer and food to participants. Friends and family of the runners will be able to purchase food and beverages.

While the course will close at 10 a.m., it’s certain that the last of the runners across the finish line will be greeted with cheers and fun festivities. Register for the event today!


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calendar_2015_blogSunday & Monday, September 6 & 7, 2015: Howard County Library System Will Be CLOSED in Observance of Labor Day. 

Tuesday, September 8, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Tuesday, September 8, 7:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Miller Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Well & Wise event. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Thursday, September 10, 6:00 p.m. Babysitting 101 at East Columbia Branch. Learn the essentials of babysitting with a University of Maryland Extension instructor. Participants receive a certificate (must attend all three sessions): Sep 10, 17 & 24. Well & Wise event. Ages 13 & up. If you would like a reminder for this class, please provide an email address. Register online or by calling 410-313-7700.

Thursday, September 10, 7:00 p.m. Sustainability and Happiness at Central Branch. Dr. Sabrina Fu teaches science and environmental management at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and is a master watershed steward in Howard County. She conducts a conversation about what makes us happy, what happiness studies have shown, and the overlap between working toward sustainability and happiness. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-7800.

Monday/Wednesday, Sept. 14-Nov. 4, 9:30-10:30 a.m.-Noon. $64. Fitness Fun for Seniors is for those 60 and older. Exercise to music at your own pace for fitness, flexibility and fun. Class includes stretching and low-impact exercise. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Monday, Sept. 21, 6:30-8 p.m. Free. Healthy Eating on the Go! Join us for a discussion on eating healthy in a fast-paced world. Learn how the new food label can help you make better choices when dining out and how you can prepare healthy, low-cost lunches at home. The seminar is in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

 

 


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Monday, August 31, 10:30 a.m.calendar_2015_blog & 11:15 a.m. Tae Kwon Do: Mommy & Me at Miller Branch. Mommy and child participate in a fun-filled activity, led by instructors from Sykesville Tae Kwon Do, while developing movement awareness, motor skills, balance, coordination, flexibility, and agility. Wear athletic shoes, and loose fitting pants or shorts. Well & Wise event. Ages 2-3 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form is required. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950. 10:30 a.m. Registration & Release Form Download | 11:15 a.m. Registration & Release Form Download

Thursday, Sept. 3, 7 to 9 p.m., $15. Pre-Diabetes: our certified diabetes educator will teach you how to make changes to prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes in this class held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Monday, Sept. 21, 6:30-8 p.m. Free. Healthy Eating on the Go! A discussion on eating healthy in a fast-paced world. Learn how the new food label can help you make better choices when dining out and how to prepare healthy lunches for $5 a day. The seminar is in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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eFriends

living well online

We need new vocabulary. We require more extensive terminology for social media friends and electronic interactions. My kids do not know a world where social media friends did not exist, but still, they seem to know that there is a difference between a Facebook friend and a friend who knows your heart. Depending on your personality and social comfort zones, however, it might not be so easy to know the difference. My kids enjoy interacting with people in person, talking with them, hanging out with them, so they know that an internet-based relationship is not the same. On some level, they know that an Instagram follower you see pictures of or posts from almost every day is a different relationship from someone you only see once a year but with whom you’ve shared a summer at camp or a year in high school precalculus. Your classmate moved away and you’ve kept in touch with her ever since. You don’t hear from her every day on your smart phone, but you feel close to her anyway. In the most basic terms, children with human interpersonal relationships know not to confuse quantity with quality. Still, the blur of daily digital bombardment can confuse one’s emotions. A Snapchat community may feel more real than your favorite school group. A stranger’s Snapchat story may be more engaging than the cafeteria conversations you shared with classmates.

For me, who has spent the greater percentage of her life to date without social media friends, the concepts demand further definition. Is Jimmy Fallon my friend because I follow his daily tweets from The Tonight Show? Of course he isn’t, but I have access to his ideas 24/7 as long as I have an internet connection. On the other hand, my human friends may be out of town or at work or offline (perish the thought). I find myself wondering, do I know that fact or have that opinion because I exchanged ideas with another person or because I had a frequent electronic interaction with a particular point of view? Did I hash out a social argument or did I just absorb it, become saturated with it, through posts on Facebook by people I don’t even know, people who have their privacy settings set to “public” or “friends of friends.” Friends, facts, opinions vs. eFriends, eFacts, ePinions.

safe social networkingA reason for new words is to provide us with a common language. Each individual’s use of terminology helps us understand whether that person has a healthy understanding of social media interactions. A person who cannot clearly distinguish between a social media friend and a human interaction friend might not use the terms correctly or precisely. This would help us recognize, for example, if a child was having an online relationship with someone they had never met, someone whom they really didn’t know. It would be a clue that your widowed father wasn’t getting out much and had become isolated in an online world where he no longer shared human laughter and had become quite lonely. Alternatively, it would be a way to talk about relationships with a highly introverted coworker who seeks help developing vital personal interactions and bridging a gap to emotional fulfillment.

As we evolve as an eSpecies, the percentage of time we spend in electronic versus human interaction will change. These interactions affect our personalities, our relationships, our cultures, our societies. Let’s grow our language to encompass these different worlds and empower us to differentiate between them.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, August 24, 11:00 a.m. My Friend the Firefighter at Miller Branch. Meet local firefighters and see a fire truck. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, August 26, 7:00 p.m. Food for Thought Book Discussion on Pam Anderson at Glenwood Branch. Borrow a cookbook from HCLS by the chef of the evening, prepare a few recipes at home, then discuss your experiences. Refreshments. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Thursday, August 27, 7:00 p.m. 75 Years Ago…A Year in the Life of a Howard County Resident at Miller Branch. Take a stroll back in time to 1940 when Howard County boasted about 500 farms, Rt. 29 was a country lane, and Howard County Library System first opened its doors. Learn about our community’s past with vivid pictures and descriptions presented by John and Virginia Frank, directors of the Living Farm Heritage Museum. In partnership with Living Farm Heritage Museum and Howard County Historical Society. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.


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how to stop worryingModern life is riddled with many problems and situations involving SWAT. This is a constant, perennial, and vexing by-product of our current lifestyles. As such, SWAT, in one form or another, follows us like a shadow, everywhere. They rob us of the sense of freedom and enjoyment we should experience from living our everyday lives.

Stress is caused by feelings of anxiety, tension, and worry about situations (or unpleasant experiences) that are happening to us. They cause a great deal of psychological and emotional distress and pain. Often, this manifests itself in the form of a sense of helplessness and lack of control. Their effects are pernicious on both body and mind: constant irritability, physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation, inability to concentrate and to deal with the various tasks at hand that need our attention. Consequently, time, energy, and money are often wasted in unproductive ways to combat SWAT. Some seek quick relief for their distress, in remedies such as: drugs, alcohol, smoking, binge eating, and compulsive shopping—all of which only compounds the problem, without solving the underlying root causes.

Of course, there are other cheaper and more sensible short-term remedies:

(1) Take a walk; (2) Listen to music; (3) Enjoy nature (smell the flowers); (4) Try to feel grateful for what you have; (5) Read a good book such as Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

Ask yourself, “Is the SWAT caused by some self-imposed, misguided values and beliefs which trip you into doing things and engage in activities causing more harm than good?”

Common SWAT Situations:

1. I have no time! Many Time-starved modern families find themselves too busy, trying to do too many tasks, which cannot all be completed within a certain time period– (day, week, or month). Are all of them really necessary? Do they all make sense? Will these activities/choices help to improve your ultimate Quality of Life? If the answers to these questions are mostly negative, then, you should Prioritize these tasks. Give up what is really not important for your long-term wellbeing. Concentrate on a few, and let the others go. “Don’t bite more than you can chew”. Or, as Thoreau advised: “Simplify, Simplify”.

2. I don’t have the money. Are you spending too much? Are you unable to meet your multiple financial obligations? Finding too many bills in the mailbox? Then, look for possible solutions such as: (a) Cut your spending as much as possible immediately; (b) Sell some assets (stuff) and pay off your debts carrying high interest rates; (c) Increase your income temporarily by working overtime/2nd job; (d) Try to re-arrange (stretch) your monthly payments by investigating cheaper, more affordable loans (refinancing); (e) Find out if someone (friends/family/employer) can help you out a bit; (f) Downsize your dwelling/car/association memberships/subscriptions/gifts/donations, etc. (f) Look for other ‘creative’ solutions to increase cash ‘inflows’ and reduce ‘outflows’—depending on your situation.

3. I can’t let go. Don’t try to win every game, all the time. Remember: “It is the journey that is important; not the destination– (or winning)”. Sticking to this wise counsel can save your sanity, and free yourself from many unhappy, hopeless situations/goals, such as—climbing the proverbial “Corporate ladder”, trying to win every argument; getting ahead of others in sports/competitions, building wealth, and various aspects of getting ahead “in the game of life”.

4. I can’t deal. Bend, not break- trying to change others—their habits, values, political and religious beliefs, attitudes and expectations—generally don’t work. Other people are just as fastidious as you are. It is far more sensible and productive to change yourself, before trying to change others. This is within your control, and therefore, doable. It is up to you to try.

5. I’m not happy. Contentment. Enjoy what you have, right now; and don’t fret over the future too much. Have realistic goals. Keep striving, while practicing self-control, with discipline and determination. This will improve your physical and mental health.

6. I have nothing to offer. Finally, try generosity. Share, care and help those who are less fortunate. Provide physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual comfort, to ease their burdens, in whatever way you can. This can be a great ‘stress reliever’, helping you, while helping others as well.

Dr. Gopal C. Dorai is an author, economist, statistician, and Professor Emeritus at William Paterson University.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, August 17, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, August 17, 7:00 p.m. Doc McStuffins’ School of Medicine at Glenwood Branch. Explore being a doctor through stories, songs, and activities. Bring your favorite stuffed animal or toy for a special check-up. Well & Wise event. Ages 3 & up; 45 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577. Also happening Tuesday, August 18, 10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, August 19, 12:00 p.m. Anatomy Part 2 at Savage Branch. Discover the gross anatomy of the human body. Learn about five body systems that allow us function. Body systems to be discussed include: Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Digestive, Urinary, and Reproductive. Register for all five sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.


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calendar_2015_blogMonday, August 10, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, August 10, 2:00 p.m. Ecology at Savage Branch. Learn how organisms interact with their environment. Conduct experiments with both plants and goldfish to understand how their surrounding environments affects growth development and cellular respiration. Register for all five sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Monday, August 10, 7:00 p.m. Movin’ Up to Middle School at Elkridge Branch. Starting sixth grade? Meet new classmates, discuss the big move, and learn the secrets to success. Compete in a book bag relay and combination lock time-trial! Register online or by calling 410-313-5077.

Monday, August 10, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us to use artistic expression to improve your mood. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Tuesday, August 11, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Tuesday, Aug. 25, 5:30-9 p.m. $55. Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED will teach you the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform CPR and how to use an AED. At the successful completion of this course, you will earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. The class is in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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mask-157574_640By the time you read this, I will be in Costa Rica on an exciting vacation with the hubby and our two cheeky monkeys…or possibly rocking back and forth while curled in a ball alternating between laughter and tears, having just traveled several hours on a plane with the aforementioned cheeky monkeys. This, of course, is an exaggeration (as you may have noticed, I am sometimes prone to exaggeration). The monkeys, though still only in elementary school, have become quite the seasoned travelers, having already traipsed all over the United States many times, and even to Ireland once. This, however, is their first trip where English is not the primary language, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit to being a bit nervous.

Though the hubby and I have been doing a lot to get our ducks in a row (everything from organizing travel documents, to making sure that there will be things our one very picky eater will eat, to arranging accommodations, to making sure we’ve purchased1 some reading material to distract the kids en route), we know and accept that, inevitably, something unplanned for will come up. Parenting is definitely not an exact science, and all the preparation in the world is still sometimes not enough.

This is RidiculousThat seems to be at the heart of a delightful little book I recently came across at HCLS: This Is Ridiculous This Is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists by Jason Good. Full of lists with titles such as “How to Defend Yourself Against a Toddler Attack,” “What We’ve Googled,” “Signs That You’re a Bad Parent,” and, one of my personal favorites, “Reasons Your Toddler May be Freaking Out,” this book reminded me of some of the very frustrating and very funny early days of parenting. Even now that my kids are a bit older, there’s still plenty of humor, but the frustration factor has definitely gone down as we’ve learned to just roll with it.2

The book is mainly made up of these light-hearted lists, with the occasional mini-lesson, such as “The Arithmetic of Parenting”–apparently there are formulas for parenting that include variables such as “LI” (likelihood of injury) and CSC (current state of comfort), and “How to Threaten Your Child Effectively”–self explanatory. Remembering to laugh along the way is sometimes, I feel, the best way to get though the trickier times of family life.

Jason Good’s little book certainly brought plenty of smiles and a much-needed reminder that I’m not the only parent out there that thinks less than motherly thoughts on occasion. If you need such a reminder, a sanity check, or just a good laugh, you may also want to check out Someone Could Get Hurt: A Memoir of Twenty-First Century Parenting, Naptime Is the New Happy Hour: And Other Ways Toddlers Turn Your Life Upside Down, The Three-Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting, The Sweet Potato Queens’ Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit, and I Heart My Little A-Holes: A Bunch of Holy-Crap Moments No One Ever Told You about Parenting.

1 As a dedicated employee of HCLS and a member of a family that consumes books pretty rapidly, I am a firm believer in getting most of our reading materials from the library. However, I am not foolish enough to think that books will not get misplaced, damaged, or completely obliterated during world travel with children. We make the purchase to help mitigate another one of those unforeseen, unplanned for events that seems to come with parenthood.

2 Many of our friends with older kids have warned us that the frustration factor will come back into play in the teen years–let’s hope the humor also increases during these years.

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, August 03, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, August 03, 7:00 p.m. Ask A Master Gardener at Miller Branch. Discuss gardening questions. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardeners.

Tuesday, August 04, 10:00 a.m. Curie, Radiology, and Pathology Fury at Savage Branch. Learn about Nobel Prize winning Scientist Marie Curie, her discovery of two chemical elements, and the importance of radiation in medical treatments and pathology. Explore how her scientific findings relate to current day medicine and everyday life by performing experiments to demonstrate key concepts that Dr. Curie taught her students. Register for all five sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Tuesday, August 04, 12:00 p.m. Anatomy Part 1 at Savage Branch. Discover the gross anatomy of the human body. Learn about seven body systems that allow us function. Body systems to be discussed include: Integumentary, Skeletal, Muscular, Nervous, Endocrine, Lymphatic and Immune. Register for all five sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Wednesday, August 05, 7:00 p.m. Wee Science: 5 Senses at Savage Branch. A class exploring simple science concepts through stories, songs and activities. Various food products may be handled. Ages 2-5 with adult; 45 min. Ticket required. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, Aug. 5. $40. Dietary Counseling appointments. Meet with a registered dietician one-on-one. Discuss goals, concerns, weight loss, healthier bones, blood pressure, cholesterol and diet health. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Thursday, Aug. 6, 5:30-9 p.m. $55. Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED will teach you the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform CPR and how to use an AED. At the successful completion of this course, you will earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. The class is in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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every dog has a giftAny pet owner knows that spending time with their pets can be a big source of stress relief. Cuddling my cats – and of course I have cats, I’m a librarian! – always makes me feel better, no matter what the problem. It’s not just their calming presence when they sit nearby and let me pet them, I’ve heard that a cat’s purr hits a frequency that can aid in healing. Their furry company is comforting, whether the healing bit is true or not, and I’m glad to say I’m not the only person that holds that opinion.

When it comes to man’s best friend, the ever-loving dog, it’s not surprising that there are a plethora of books to choose from concerning how dogs have helped people. There’s You Had Me At Woof: How Dogs Taught Me the Secrets of Happiness, Love At First Bark: How Saving an Animal Can Sometimes Help You Save Yourself, Every Dog Has a Gift: True Stories of Dogs Who Bring Hope and Healing Into Our Lives, A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons In The Good Life From an Unlikely Teacher, and The Possibility Dogs: What a Handful of Unadoptables Taught Me About Service, Hope, and Healing. Plus loads more! Dog people just can’t help writing about the awesomeness of their furry friends. Of course I jest! Despite being a cat person now, I grew up with a great big dog who was a vital companion for me through my high school years, so I get it. Those lovable, loyal, attentive creatures give their everything, and seem to often bring out the best in their owners (as evidenced by all those titles I mentioned). Dogs in particular can perform animal therapy by visiting patients in a hospital or by being a friendly, nonjudgmental audience for struggling readers as in HCLS’s A+ signature initiative Dogs Educating & Assisting Readers (DEAR).

saved rescued animalsDon’t worry, I didn’t forget about cats. Although not as popular a topic as dogs, there is still Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat about a cat providing comfort and companionship to patients of a hospice when their time is about to come to an end, Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life With a Blind Wonder Cat, and A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life. While most of the pets and animals written about are the most common, cats and dogs, there are still stories like Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion or Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform which includes many dogs, some cats, horses, birds, turtles, and even a rescued deer.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m gonna go hug my cat and tell her she’s done a good job.

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, since 2003. When not at work, she spends her time reading science fiction and comics, visiting local breweries, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

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Scalendar_2015_blogaturday, July 25, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Ticket required. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, July 27, 7:00 p.m. Ask A Master Gardener at Miller Branch. Discuss gardening questions. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardeners.

Wednesday, Aug. 5. $40. Dietary Counseling appointments. Meet with a registererd dietician one-on-one. Discuss goals, concerns, weight loss, healthier bones, blood pressure, cholesteral and diet health. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Thursday, Aug. 6, 5:30-9 p.m. $55. Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED will teach you the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform CPR and how to use an AED. At the successful completion of this course, you will earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. The class is in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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There are myriad classes and activities for the young on everything you can imagine. It is easy to find a children’s soccer, tumbling, ballet, art, gaming, or music class, and the list goes on. It is much more difficult for adults to explore an interest or talent. If you are still in the workplace, there are opportunities for training and social interaction, but those opportunities may not always tap your creative potential.

Now is the time to liberate your creativity even if you think you’re not one of those people. Engaging in arts and crafts and other creative projects can have a positive impact on your health. Dr. Gene Cohen was a pioneer and one of the world’s experts in gerontology. In studies of aging people and in Dr. Cohen’s own work, four aspects of creativity stood out: Creative activity strengthens our morale later in life, contributes to physical health as we age, enriches relationships, and is our greatest legacy. You can read more about Dr. Cohen’s work here.

Creative potential is there and alive in all of us. Your creativity is only limited by your own imagination. You can paint, draw, sing, write or do whatever sparks your interest. It does not matter if your project comes out less than perfect. Enjoy it, be creative and have fun. Collaborative creativity allows you to share your ideas and experience in a social setting.

Howard County Library System (HCLS) offers a variety of classes to spark your creativity potential, including Pins and Needles, Crafty Readers, Writer’s Group, and Hands-On, Off Camera Flash Photography workshop. No prior artistic experience is required. One of the classes offered by the library at the Miller Branch on the second Monday of every month is Calming Crafts. Lynn, one of the class’s instructors, said one of the reasons she started the class was because “doing simple crafts can help keep you in “the moment” and some your worries dissipate.” Ann, the other instructor, is the library’s Enchanted Garden Coordinator, so when weather permits, the class is held in the garden. Past projects have included finger knitting, pinch pots, leaf rubbings, card making, and rock painting. During the last two weeks in July some of the class projects will be on display at Miller Branch.

Whatever your age, circumstances, talents or skills, it is never too late to try something new. American folk artist, Grandma Moses, did not launch her painting career until she was 78! Playwright George Bernard Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925, at the age of sixty-nine. Shaw was still working on a comedy when he died at the age of ninety-four! What will you do?

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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calendar_2015_blog

Friday, July 17, 10:00 a.m. Infectious Disease Academy at Savage Branch. Learn about infectious diseases, how they are spread, and how disease detectives work to find and stop their spread using medical technology and nanotechnology. Participate in mock disease outbreaks around the globe to learn to identify and handle some of the most dangerous diseases, select the right medical or nanotechnology methods, and develop a communication pack to let others know. Register for all ten sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Friday, July 17, 2:00 p.m. Carver Science at Savage Branch. Join us in exploring the life and accomplishments of George Washington Carver, a celebrated botanist, agronomist, chemist, biochemical engineer, and inventor. Re-explore and test his experiments. Register for all five sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Saturday, July 18, 2:00 p.m. Crocodile Encounters at Savage Branch. Meet the Author: Dr. Brady BarrFollow along with National Geographic explorer Dr. Brady Barr as he recounts his adventures, such as coming face to face with 13 crocodiles! ReadCrocodile Encounters to discover what happens when you put a 600-lb crocodile on an airplane in a flimsy wooden crate. Meet a real crocodile! Supervised contact with a crocodile or alligator may occur. Books available for purchase and signing. Families; 30 – 60 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Monday, July 20, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, July 20, 5:30-7 p.m. Free. Weight Loss through Bariatric Surgery presentation about surgical weight loss options available through the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery. Hear program requirements and how to navigate the insurance approval process. Call 410-550-5669 or visit us online. Held in Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center.

Monday, July 20, 7:00 p.m. Compost Demonstrations at Miller Branch. Master Gardeners discuss and demonstrate composting on a drop-in basis. Free bins provided for Howard County residents. 7 – 8:30 pm. University of Maryland Extension – Howard County Master Gardeners.

Tuesday, July 21, 5:30-9 p.m. $55. Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED will teach you the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform CPR and how to use an AED. At the successful completion of this course, you will earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. Located in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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leaflets three let it beWhen I was ten years old, I got two unforgettable cases of poison ivy. A nature girl, I spent spare time out of doors, digging in the dirt, and climbing trees and fences. In the spring of that year, I was digging a hole (purpose, unknown) and found some pesky roots in the way. In pulling up the poison ivy roots, I released urushiol oil all over my hands and next day, my hands were covered with huge weeping blisters. I missed a week of school, as the medication of choice at that time was calamine lotion, which was totally ineffective. That winter, I left a Christmas party to hike and climbed a vine-covered fence. In climbing the fence, I again exposed my hands to urushiol, and missed another week of school with the misery and pain of poison ivy. Because at least 75% of people react to poison ivy, you might know what I’m talking about.

I took these experiences as a personal affront, and swore a vendetta on this innocent plant. Its urushiol oil covering conserves moisture in hot Maryland summers, and is not a defensive measure. Its green leaves are commonly enjoyed by wildlife such as deer and bears, and birds relish the seeds in the fall. In fact, birds which consume the seeds are responsible for the sudden appearance of the plant in your back yard.

Because the plant flourishes where light is prolific in the forest edges, not in the shade, more poison ivy grows in Maryland in 2015 than before the European colonists cleared the trees. And we may be seeing more of it in the future. A Marine Biological Laboratory study found that the plant is highly sensitive to greater carbon dioxide levels. With climate change bringing rising CO2 levels, poison ivy will enjoy an ideal growing environment.

poison oak poison ivyDepending on the severity of the rash and the location on your body, a case of poison ivy rash can make people a little itchy or endanger their health. Calamine cream may help minor rashes. Medical help should be sought for heavy rashes, swelling (especially on the face and genitals), or breathing problems. Strong medications and even hospitalization may be necessary.

Prevention always beats treatment. Learn (and teach your kids) what how to avoid skin contact with urushiol-covered plants. The American Academy of Dermatology’s website includes excellent photographs of poison ivy, oak, and sumac, all of which produce urushiol.

Wear clothes with long sleeves & long pants when you spend time in the woods or in the garden, removing and washing the clothes after use. After suspected exposure (gardening, walks in the woods), immediately wash a soap or cream such as Tecnu or Zanfel to remove the urushiol. If your pet has run through poison ivy, she won’t get a rash- but she can bring the rash to you, so wash her, too.

Jean has been working at Howard County Library System’s Central Branch for nearly nine years. She walks in the Benjamin Banneker Park whenever she gets a chance.

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Okay, so last month, I confessed my juice reboot failure, but it wasn’t for pity or even to vent my frustration (well, maybe a little venting). It was to share how I’ve learned from my mistakes and turned those lemons into lemonade (or a healthful lemon juice blend).

First off, let me say how much easier it is to incorporate juices into your diet when the weather is warmer–it’s often refreshing to grab a juice or smoothie instead of a big meal on these warmer days. Secondly, when the hubby and I were going for the full, 3-day reboot, we were a little overwhelmed (and hungry). We are currently trying to incorporate just one juice or smoothie into our day. We may try a reboot again just for the “clean slate” effect, but one a day seems much more do-able for us. I should note that though we may choose a juice or smoothie for breakfast or lunch, we are not doing this as part of some fad weight-loss/meal replacement plan. We simply want to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our diet, and a juice or smoothie makes that easier to do.

Speaking of easy, here’s the biggest win we’ve taken from our juice fail: keep it simple. For the juice reboot, we purchased a nice juicer, since we figured the soluble fiber from the juice might be a little easier on my sad digestive tract than the insoluble fiber you get from smoothies made in blenders (and we didn’t want to have to purchase a crazy-expensive Cadillac of a blender). We are still using the juicer, especially for harder fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and pears. But making juicing and smoothies more part of our natural routine has meant looking for quicker and easier ways to do it. We were pleased to discover that our very ordinary blender could handle the job (within reason).

We also took advice from our friend Cristina, who has some family trying out juicing and smoothies. She said that they started with other people’s recipes, but eventually started changing them up a bit and trying things that worked better for them. For example, when the hubby and I started making smoothies instead of just juicing, we used the very popular 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse as a blueprint. We were a little bummed that some recipes called for sugar substitutes, since we don’t really like things overly sweet and were more interested in just adding some healthier foods to our diet instead of just losing weight. We started tweaking the recipes a bit and came up with a very basic formula for the world’s laziest smoothie, as demonstrated in the video below.

Finally, as I mentioned last month, the original juice reboot called for us to go vegan a few days leading up to the juicing and a few days after. We were going to use it as a jumping off point for the VB6 diet, and did to a certain point. Now that we are having juice or smoothies once a day, we find it is a lot easier to stick to only vegan (or at least vegetarian) fare before 6 p.m. most days. Do we falter some days? Absolutely. But our new simplified and laid-back approach to juicing and smoothies takes a lot of the pressure off and helps us to keep the momentum needed to maintain the healthier eating habits we are trying to acquire.

  • It's amazing how good a well-seasoned avocado can taste!
  • Salad and vegetable broth--sigh--very vegan and satisfying, if not altogether mouth-watering.
  • Steamed broccoli, brown rice, and tofu, made delicious with a little help from their good friends Sriracha and soy sauce.
  • Avocado also makes a great vegan topping for a whole-grain bagel.
  • The little blender that could!
  • Hey, does my blueberry smoothie resemble planet Earth? Maybe just a little?
  • Yummy vegan chili (with a dollop of cheating sour cream).
  • Vegan tacos? Yep, and tasty.

 

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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calendar_2015_blogMonday, July 13, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, July 13, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us to use artistic expression to improve your mood. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Tuesday, July 14, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Tuesday, July 14, 2:00 p.m. Carver Science at Savage Branch. Join us in exploring the life and accomplishments of George Washington Carver, a celebrated botanist, agronomist, chemist, biochemical engineer, and inventor. Re-explore and test his experiments. Register for all five sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Individualized Diabetes Management. Meet with a Howard County General Hospital certified diabetes dietitian and nurse to learn how to manage diabetes. Call 443-718-3000.

Wednesday, July 15, 10:00 a.m. Infectious Disease Academy at Savage Branch. Learn about infectious diseases, how they are spread, and how disease detectives work to find and stop their spread using medical technology and nanotechnology. Participate in mock disease outbreaks around the globe to learn to identify and handle some of the most dangerous diseases, select the right medical or nanotechnology methods, and develop a communication pack to let others know. Register for all ten sessions. Registration required. Ages 11-18. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Wednesday, Aug. 5. $40. Dietary Counseling appointments Meet with a registererd dietician one-on-one. Discuss goals, concerns, weight loss, healthier bones, blood pressure, cholesteral and diet. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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Ever heard of no ‘poo? It’s really not what you think.

No ‘poo advocates ditching store-bought shampoo and conditioner for ethical, environmental, economic, and health reasons and replacing it with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

I had severe dandruff that none of the store-bought shampoos cured.  Head and Shoulders made the dandruff and the itching worse. Neutrogena’s T/Gel worked a while, then it stopped working and the itchiness came back. Selsun Blue helps with the itching but the scent is completely intolerable to me. I couldn’t even watch those dandruff shampoo commercials on TV where the person can’t wear black because of embarrassing dandruff. Desperation led me to no ‘poo two years ago and I lasted a whole three months.  In short, after going no ‘poo, I found that my hair was cleaner for a longer period of time and that my dandruff problem was cured (for the duration that I went no ‘poo).

So why should you try no ‘poo? No more harmful chemicals polluting our waterways. Looked at the ingredient list of shampoos and conditioners recently? I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not know what most of the ingredients are, let alone how to pronounce them. Take, for example, the ingredients in Pert Plus shampoo:   Water, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Sodium Citrate, Polymethacrylamidopropyltrimonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, PEG-14M, Dihydrogenated Tallowamidoethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, D&C Yellow No. 10, FD&C Blue No. 1. I probably should have paid better attention in chem class.

Going no ‘poo is also very animal friendly. I highly doubt baking soda and apple cider vinegar mix needs to be tested on animals. Companies that do not conduct animal testing proudly advertise that they do not conduct animal testing. For a list of companies that might conduct testing on animals, click on this PETA link. PETA has separate listings of cosmetics companies that do and do not conduct animal testing.

Another reason to try no ‘poo? Economic reasons. It is vastly cheaper to buy baking soda and apple cider vinegar than it is to purchase shampoo and conditioner, even if it’s a two-in-one shampoo. After the initial shock of switching to no ‘poo, your scalp will begin to secrete less oil, and as a result, you’ll wash your hair less frequently.  Fewer washings means that you’ll stretch your baking soda and apple cider vinegar supply much longer.

Initially, there may be no difference after switching. It took two weeks for me to notice that my hair was less oily, less itchy, and less flaky. My main problem with no ‘poo, however, was the inconvenience of it. There are no shampoo and conditioner-filled plastic bottles ready to go. With no ‘poo, you need to prepare your own baking soda and apple cider vinegar concoctions. It’s not complicated, but it is very inconvenient.

Here’s the recipe: For “shampoo,” mix together 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 cup of warm water. For “conditioner,” mix together 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water. Warm water is very important because the one time I used regular room temperature water, it felt very cold once I dumped it onto my head.

Now for the inconvenient part. I keep my baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and measuring spoons/cups in the kitchen. I make the mix in the kitchen before I head to the shower and put it into two separate soda bottles. I use soda bottles because I have a lot of them (soda is my vice), and the smaller neck allows me greater control on how much I pour onto my head at once. I also mark with a permanent marker on the bottle itself how much water goes into the bottle so I need not constantly bring out the measuring cup. Finally, I keep handy a newspaper so I can funnel the baking soda directly into the soda bottle.

One more piece of advice: keep your mouth closed so the baking soda or apple cider vinegar mixtures don’t accidentally stream into your mouth. It’s all natural so it won’t kill you, but it might dampen your enthusiasm for going no ‘poo. The baking soda and apple cider vinegar mixes are not nearly as viscous as regular shampoo and conditioner, and hence, they do dribble all over your head no matter how careful you are.

Finally, does it work, you ask? I had my doubts about this, but I tried it anyway, reasoning I didn’t really have anything to lose and that I’ll be wiser for the experience.  The apple cider vinegar especially worried me as well as I did not want to smell vinegary. I even took precautions for my first attempt to make sure I didn’t have to interact with anyone immediately following my first no ‘poo experience. But to my surprise, my hair did not have even a whiff of vinegar tainting it (with a thorough rinsing of the hair, of course) and my hair was very soft after my first no ‘poo experience. Now, I still do no ‘poo once a week to keep my dandruff in check and use small amounts of shampoo and condition during the week because I cannot resist the sweet smell of shampoo.

Mio Higashimoto is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She has a background in history and spends much of her spare time knitting, reading, hiking, and watching Star Trek reruns.

(Special repost from November 2012)

 


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Do No Harmdo no harm is a gift of a book bestowed upon us by Henry Marsh, an accomplished British neurosurgeon. These linked stories eloquently describe life as the person who holds others’ lives in his hands. With 35 years in practice, Mr. Marsh has insight into all aspects of providing medical care. (In the UK, surgeons are referred to as “Mr., ” so please allow me to refer to this renowned physician as Mr. Marsh.) He shares his accomplishments, fears, and failures. He boasts, gripes, mourns and vents.Mr. Marsh takes us inside the skull, behind the orbits, into the brain. We join him on a fascinating anatomic journey as he incises through to the meninges, the spine, and the pituitary gland. We are riveted by the urgency of his patients’ conditions such as brain tumors, aneurysms and trauma. We are pulled along hoping that all of his patients do well, but he leaves us with no illusions.  These are stories of life and death and the mistakes even the most experienced surgeons make.

Not only patient outcomes lie at the heart of Do No Harm. Mr. Marsh also describes the challenges he has faced as son, father, husband, medical colleague and customer of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). There is much dark humor in the aggravation he describes dealing with NHS management and computerized health records. Will there be beds for his patients? Will he be able to coax the NHS computer system to show him the patients’ brain scans? He admits to an arrogance that has mellowed over time, but we see that he continues to be an opinionated force wherever he goes. One of my favorite chapters is “Infarct,” where he confronts how medical care and bureaucracy impossibly conflict.

In Mr. Marsh’s beautiful descriptions of his days, as he cycles to work, evaluates patients, instructs new surgeons, and waits to enter the “operating theatre,” we appreciate his dedication. His powerful introspection illuminates how medicine is a “craft.” Enmeshed in the combination of art and science exists a huge human element with alternately confident and nervous providers striving to develop their skills to provide the best treatment for their patients. As in a lecture he has delivered internationally, “All My Worst Mistakes,” Mr. Marsh is willing to share his experiences so that others can grow from what he still hopes to learn.

Mr. Marsh never loses perspective on his fallibility as a surgeon no matter the fame he has achieved. As an example, he has worked extensively in Ukraine providing care to its medically underserved population. Documentaries have been made about him and his service. Still, he writes “of surgical ambition and of my failure” and reminds us that diagnosis and treatment plans are filled with “uncertainty” and that “patients become objects of fear as well as of sympathy.” As a reader, I am grateful for his honesty and generosity as a neurosurgeon and author.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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Saturday, July 04, 2015: Howard County Library System Will Be CLOSED in Observance of Independence Day. 

Monday, July 06, 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Tae Kwon Do: Little Ninjas at Miller Branch. Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy students demonstrate skills to aid in focus, balance, coordination, memory, control, discipline, confidence, and fitness through the art of Tae Kwon Do. Wear athletic shoes and loose fitting pants or shorts. Well & Wise event. Ages 5-7 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form required. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950. 10:30 a.m. Registration & Release Form Download | 11: 15 a.m. Registration & Release Form Download

Monday, July 06, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Wednesday, July 8, 7 to 9 p.m. Free. Prenatal Class for Your Early Pregnancy is for parents-to-be and parents in the first trimester. Learn about the early stages of pregnancy including your body’s physical changes, your baby’s growth and easy ways to promote a healthier pregnancy in Howard County General Hospital’s Wellness Center.

Wednesday, July 08, 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Tae Kwon Do: Little Ninjas at Miller Branch. Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy students demonstrate skills to aid in focus, balance, coordination, memory, control, discipline, confidence, and fitness through the art of Tae Kwon Do. Wear athletic shoes and loose fitting pants or shorts. Well & Wise event. Ages 5-7 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form required. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950. 10:30 a.m. Registration & Release Form Download | 11:15 a.m. Registration & Release Form Download

Thursday, July 9 or Tuesday, July 21, 5:30-9 p.m. $55. Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED will teach you the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform CPR and how to use an AED. At the successful completion of this course, you will earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. Located in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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diabetes meals by the plate useThe overwhelming majority of type II diabetes is preventable. If we pay attention to our nutrition and exercise we can control our path toward or away from type II diabetes. If your family has a history of diabetes, obesity, or other endocrine disorders, you may be more likely to develop diabetes. Once thought to be genetic, science has revealed it’s our environment (and family’s lifestyle behaviors) that can lead to type II diabetes. What’s more, type II diabetes can be reversed nearly 9 times out of 10 with proper nutritional guidance and an adequate exercise program. While many walk the line of pre-diabetes, the likelihood of getting full-blown diabetes increases significantly if you do nothing to change your ways. I argue that many of us, particularly those who are overweight or obese, are at risk of developing diabetes. Dr. Mark Hyman has explained time and again that when it comes to your body, its sugar levels, and its inflammatory responses, you’re either diabetic or you’re not- much like you’re either pregnant or you’re not. If your blood sugars are out of the normal range, even by just a little, on a regular basis, you’ve crossed the line. Pre-diabetic seems to be a gentle way of saying, “you’re a diabetic, but we don’t have to give you medication- yet.” Thankfully, you have the power to change it; with the help of your doctor, and perhaps, an awesome endocrinologist, you can turn that diabetes train around and live a long, healthy life.

Diabetic Living and Better Homes and Gardens published Diabetes: Meals by the Plate in 2014. I find that this is a simple cookbook with a no-nonsense approach to balancing your nutirion, particularly if you’re struggling with managing your diabetic diet. The book is based on the template of 1/2 a plate of nonstarchy veggies, 1/4 plate of protein, 1/4 plate of starch or grain, and dairy or fruit on the side at each meal. Simple. Direct. Manageable.

My favorite recipes:
The Trattoria-Style Chicken encrusted with parmesan is particularly easy recipe to follow. It’s paired with a lovely spinach salad and spaghetti. See? You can have some carbs. Just not ALL THE CARBS.  (p. 16)
The Indian-Style Beef & Rice recipe is definitely a comfort food type of meal. The peach-grape salsa that accompanies the Indian-spiced beef brings just enough citrus to the flavor party. Even better? The Basmati rice with mint and lemon peel to boot. The skillet-roasted cauliflower and squash that’ll fill 1/2 your plate will fill you up and satisfy for sure. (p. 72)
And for the vegetarian option, I’m a fan of the broccoli cheese tortellini soup. How can something so decadent be less than 400 a serving? Anyhow, you get to whip out your Dutch oven for this recipe and the kohlrabi chopped salad is pretty inspired. (Considering I only ever eat kohlrabi in stews.) (p. 202)

I hope you’ll find the time to take care of diabetic diet, your blood sugars, and yourself. Enjoy and delight in a delightful cookbook that everyone can enjoy!

JP is the HCLS Editor & Blog Coordinator for Well & Wise. She is also a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. She is a storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, cancer survivor, and liver transplant recipient.

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being mortal“I learned about a lot of things in medical school, ​but mortality wasn’t one of them,” writes Atul Gawande, MD, in Being Mortal:  Medicine and What Matters in the End. Given that the two certainties of life are birth and death, how is it possible that medical training does not include education about preserving a patient’s well being at the end of life? How did survival at any cost begin taking precedence over the quality of one’s final days?
When the time comes to make difficult medical treatment decisions, it can be nearly impossible to see past the immediate choices. When a friend or loved one can no longer care for her/himself, the realities of nursing home and assisted living facilities may defeat even the most dedicated patient advocate. The time to read  Being Mortal is before these life events happen, and they will happen, in some form, to nearly all of us.

In Being Mortal, Dr. Gawande describes his efforts to improve delivery of end-of-life care and what he learned from the experiences of patients, friends and family members. There are no simple reasons for why we struggle with preserving quality of life as we age and experience failing health. There are certainly no easy solutions. Dr. Gawande addresses these complex questions with concise, elegant and insightful prose. The book is at once personal and prescriptive for improving the lives of the sick and the aging. His presentation and formulations are direct but he makes it clear it won’t be easy either for our society or for each of us individually.

Dr. Gawande and both his parents are physicians. When Dr. Gawande’s father is diagnosed with cancer, the treatment options become so complicated that even a family of medical professionals loses track of chemotherapy choices and which course of treatment will best match the end-of-life wishes Dr. Gawande’s father had expressed. His father wanted to be a person rather than just a patient. Like so many of us, he wanted to live out the end of his life on his own terms.

Dr. Gawande is a perceptive investigator known for his articles in New Yorker ​magazine. He has explored such hypotheses as the one in which lessons learned at the Cheesecake Factory and applied intelligently can improve the quality of medical care. He looked at the Cheesecake Factory’s profitable mass production of food people want to eat and their excellence in creating satisfied customers and analyzed how the same management philosophy could improve patient care and hospitalization outcomes. He has published two essay collections, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science​​ and Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on PerformanceBetter: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance.His writing explores his practice of general surgery, the challenges of applying medical technology humanely, and issues of medical ethics.  In The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right he proposes changes to healthcare delivery that can minimize medical errors.

Now, with Being Mortal, Dr. Gawande gives us a book that should be required reading for all healthcare providers. It’s a book to be read before or during decision making regarding nursing home placement, cancer care planning, and terminal illness management. It’s a book that explores what gives our lives and our mortality meaning.
Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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Friday, June 26, 11:00 a.m. Superhero Twist and Shout at East Columbia Branch. Be a superhero with music and movement for little ones. Ages 2-3 with adult; 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class. Also, Thursday, July 02, 10:15 a.m. & 11:30 a.m. at Miller Branch; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Friday, June 26, 3:00 p.m. Mission: Science (Bioluminescence) at Glenwood Branch. Explore superhero forces in science and nature. Ages 11-17. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Saturday, June 27, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Central Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Saturday, June 27, 3:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Miller Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Monday, June 29, 4:00 p.m. Meet The Author: Luis Carlos Montalvan & Tuesday of Tuesday Tucks Me In at Miller BranchLuis Carlos Montalvan, former U.S. Army Captain and New York Times bestselling author, and Tuesday, his 2013-14 American Kennel Club recipient of the Humane Fund Award for Canine Excellence, Service Dog, read from their widely acclaimed children’s book, Tuesday Tucks Me In. After the story, Luis demonstrates and discusses how he takes care of Tuesday, followed by demonstrations and discussions of things Tuesday does to take care of Luis. Children and their families are encouraged to ask questions. Allow additional time for book sales and signing. Families (children ages 3 & up with adult); 40 – 45 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Monday, June 29, 7:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Central Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-7883.

Wednesday, July 01, 10:15 a.m. Sensory Friendly Stories & Fun at Glenwood BranchBooks, music, and plenty of movement in a small group. Visit this page to read A Children’s Class to help prepare for your visit. Ages 3-5 with adult. 30 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Wednesday, July 01, 2:00 p.m. Community Superstars at Central Branch. Local heroes and community helpers explain their careers and lead students in an activity. Ages 6-10; 45 – 60 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-7883.

Saturday, July 4, 2015: Howard County Library System Will Be CLOSED in Observance of Independence Day. 


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raindrops rollThere is something about summer and water. Rain water, ocean water, pool water, all kinds of H2O. One of the miracles of the natural world, and an essential requirement for life. One in nine people lack access to safe water. Howard County residents are fortunate in our easy access to clean, refreshing water, lying within the watersheds of two major tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay. We all appreciate the beauty and the science behind the water cycle, and its importance to our well-being.

With lyrical words and striking images, April Pulley Sayre celebrates rain.”Rain plops. / It drops. // It patters. / It spatters.” From the beginning of a storm to the return of the sun, this splendid presentation reveals the wonder of water. Short, rhythmic lines, often only two words but rhyming or alliterative, are set one to a page against an amazing photograph. Sayre’s close observations, many in an ordinary garden, will lead readers and listeners to look closely at her photographs and at the world around them. Insects shelter from a shower; drops cling to flowers. There are tiny reflections in the globules. Raindrops bend down grasses, highlight shapes and band together. Some of the pictures harbor secrets. Preschoolers can appreciate the poem and pictures, but older children will appreciate the facts in the concluding “Splash of Science,” going on to describe “Raindrops Inside You,” connecting the reader to the water cycle.

June and July offer us many opportunities to enjoy rain storms from the safety of our balconies, decks, and front stoops. Celebrate the return to earth of the clean, safe water.

all the water in the worldLots of picture books introduce young children to the water cycle, but few have such an infectious beat and eye-catching illustrations as this title, which begs to be read aloud. “Where does it come from? / Water doesn’t come. / It goes. / Around. That rain / that cascaded from clouds / …then slipped into rivers / and opened into oceans, / that rain has been here before.” Children encountering the scientific concepts for the first time may need help understanding how, exactly, Thirsty air…licks…sips… guzzles water from lakes and oceans. Little ones will respond immediately to the noisy, delicious sounds and rhythms in the words as well as the kinetic energy in the beautifully put together digital illustrations. Playfully arranged type adds to the visual fun while giving cues for the reader. On the final spreads, a mothers hair swirls into a wave of water that becomes a joyful spiral of living creatures, all reinforcing the simple, profound message: our lives depend on water.

The water cycle is a great way to expose young children to science in a fun way. HCLS has a variety of experiment books for all ages.

bringing the rain to kapiti plainVerna Aardema’s illustrated retelling of a traditional Kenyan folktale is reminiscent in rhythm and repetition of The House that Jack Built. The illustrations are evocative of African artwork, stylized and dramatic. This tale of a shepherd shooting a hole in the clouds to water his herd is lighthearted in its delivery, but it also conveys on a child’s level the trouble that dry seasons can bring to a poor farming community. This is good for children growing up in a wealthy industrialized society where clean water is available at the turn of the tap. Stories like this one may open their understanding to the fact that other people do not have access to the resources they take for granted. Grownups will remember this as a Reading Rainbow book.

Take a swim, wade in a stream, stroll in the rain, appreciate the bounty of nature- just don’t take the book into the pool.

Shirley ONeill works for Howard County Library System as the Children’s and Teen Materials Specialist. She cannot believe she actually gets paid to do this job.

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bettyvilleOf all the books you may want to avoid reading on the harrowing topic of old age, dementia, and caring for an elder parent, don’t let Bettyville be one of them. George Hodgson, an editor at Houghton Mifflin, had just about reinvented himself as a New Yorker, when his mother, Betty, began failing. Believing he could return to his boyhood home in Paris, Missouri and quickly get her situated, Hodgson could not have been more confounded. While there, his job was phased out and his mother was rejected from assisted living. No longer would the willful, capricious, and fiercely defiant Betty drive to bridge games, church choir, or the local beauty parlor. That would become Hodgson’s new full-time job – along with staving off Betty’s encroaching dementia.

Ragged scenes of frustration, fear, and sadness envelop them both. But, equally, there are Hodgson’s beautifully rendered memories of feeling loved – not only by both parents, but the small town of Paris as well. The fact that he was a gay son who never had “the talk” with either one did not diminish that love either.

Hodgson’s monumental commitment to his mother, Betty, continues to this day. Lucky for many of us (facing Hodgson’s same future), that he found the inspiration for this small gem.

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.

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Saturday, June 20, 1:00 p.m. Family Collaborative Art calendar_2015_blogat Glenwood BranchLooking for a creative outlet as a family to create a lasting keepsake together? Explore the paint resist method and collage techniques to create a family masterpiece on canvas board. Taught by Abrakadoodle Art instructors. Families (ages 3-12 & up with family); 60 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Saturday, June 20, 2:00 p.m. Doc McStuffins’ School of Medicine at Savage Branch. Explore being a doctor through stories, songs, and activities. Bring your favorite stuffed animal or toy for a special check-up. Ages 3 & up; 45 min. Well & Wise event. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, June 22, 2:00 p.m. Reptiles: Diversity in Scales at Glenwood Branch. Examine the diversity in and behavior of the Reptile Class with Richard Anderson from The Snyder Foundation for Animals. The class explores human activity and its negative consequences on the natural environment and on reptiles. More than 60 specimens are used to demonstrate reptile diversity. Participants may have the opportunity to touch some of the specimens. Arrive early and you might see a very large turtle walking around the library. Ages 5 & up; 60 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Monday, June 22, 2:00 p.m. Super Science: Aerodynamics at Central Branch. Explore simple science concepts through hands-on activities with food and other items such as paint, playdough, and Borax. 45 – 60 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, June 24, 7:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Glenwood Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Ages 9-18; 60 min. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Saturday, June 27, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. $50. Essentials in Babysitting will give you skills to manage children, create a safe environment and apply basic emergency techniques. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center. Registration required.

Saturday, June 27, 9 a.m.-Noon. $50. Women’s Self-Defense for ages 16 and up. Learn and practice effective, easy-to-learn techniques. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center. Registration required.

Monday June 29, 3-6 p.m. Free. Family Hearing and Vision Screening for ages 6 years to adult. Includes adult glaucoma screening. Bring eyeglasses if you wear them. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center. Registration required.


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blissEric Weiner spent many years as a foreign correspondent for NPR, and in that time visited many of the world’s countries. His travels frequently took him to decidedly unhappy places – or at least, people in unfortunate situations. A self-admitted “grump”, Weiner decided he would embark on a quest to find the happiest places in the world and, of course, write about it in his book The Geography of Bliss. Beginning at the World Database of Happiness in the Netherlands, Weiner checks out a list of the happiest countries in the world, statistically. His journey takes him to Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland, Moldova (the unhappiest nation in the world, to see what the opposite of happiness looks like), Thailand, Great Britain, India, and ends in America.

How can happiness be measured? According to Ruut Veenhoven at the World Database of Happiness, “you can’t be happy and not know it. By definition, if you are happy, you know it”, and so, you simply ask people how happy they are (p. 12). According to the research, the happiest person ever should be an extroverted optimistic married religious-service-attending educated busy Republican – as people who meet each of those criteria are happier than those on the opposite end of each spectrum. If that doesn’t describe you, well, no worries! The science of happiness seems to be rather subjective. Plus, there’s “reverse causality” (basically the real term for “what came first the chicken or the egg?”): are happy people more likely to be extroverted/get married/go to church/take on more work/etc or does the factor in question make them happy? Well, that isn’t really the question Weiner set out to answer (and it probably isn’t definitively answerable, anyway), he was more concerned with where and why people are happy. The answers to both questions – as much as they can be answered – were not what Weiner expected. None of the usual suspects predict happiness level, not diversity, equality, wealth, income distribution, or climate. Some things are obvious: basic needs must be met (you need food and shelter, for example), and you need enough income to fulfil those needs and not feel stressed, but beyond that… Weiner spent a whole book looking for that answer.

So, what is it? In the end, happiness is a complicated equation. It’s a careful balancing act: add a bunch of culture, some family and friends, a dash of money, a big helping of gratitude and trust, remove envy and excessive thinking. Weiner’s chapter titles give us some insight into his quest; happiness is: a number, boredom, a policy, a winning lottery ticket, failure, somewhere else, not thinking, a work in progress, a contradiction, home. Weiner asks interesting questions and uncovers some interesting approaches to happiness from all over the world. If happiness research piques your interest, The Geography of Bliss will provide you some intriguing food for thought. It’s also an excellent book for group discussion, complete with questions provided by the publisher.

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, since 2003. When not at work, she spends her time reading science fiction and comics, visiting local breweries, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

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10662095145_08f4655cb6_zI’m ready for summer. Are you? My youngest son is the only one in my family still in school, so I feel a bit guilty each morning when I have to wake him up. His last day of school isn’t until June 19! The other night, though, it was my daughter who woke me up because she was not feeling well. I felt her head, and sure enough her forehead felt warm. Then came the tough part—finding a thermometer, or should I say, a working thermometer. I was able to find two thermometers, but the batteries were dead. Luckily (or so I thought), I remembered that I had sent each of my oldest kids off to college with a first aid bin that included a thermometer. I asked my daughter and my oldest son to find the bin that had their first aid stuff in it. Both of them answered simultaneously, “ I don’t know where that is. I never used any of that stuff. Are you sure you gave it me?” Finally, in the back of the cupboard in the bathroom I found a temporal artery thermometer, which I had a vague recollection of buying. We were not sure if this thermometer was working, but my daughter’s temperature registered almost four degrees higher than mine, so I felt it was safe to say she had a fever. She was also complaining that her neck was bothering her. I started Googling her symptoms and discovered a plethora of possible illnesses, most very unlikely.

I called my sister, who is a nurse, and she said, “It’s probably important to make sure you get a thermometer that you can count on.” As my kids would say “Thanks, Captain Obvious!” In my defense, I thought I had a working thermometer. My sister also reminded me of the risks of trying to diagnose an illness based on information I found on the internet. She told me to call my daughter’s doctor for a professional opinion.

The doctor thinks my daughter’s infection may have been caused by a bite she had gotten on her foot earlier that day in the grassy area at the pool. Anytime you are outside, you are at risk for infection. Most of us spend more time outside in the summer months than we do during the rest of the year. There are things we can do to keep safe and healthy. After all, we survived a long, cold winter– we deserve to enjoy the warmer weather.

Biting and stinging insects come out in force in the summer months. Most bites are harmless and cause only minor discomfort, but some bites can carry disease. One of the things we can do when we are going to be outdoors is to wear insect repellent. It’s prudent to keep your legs and arms covered as much as possible if you are going to be near wooded areas and grasslands or if you are going to be outside at dawn or dusk, when insects are most active. It’s also smart to remove insect breeding grounds, such as standing water, from around your home and to keep your garbage tightly covered. Everyone should get in the habit of carefully checking for ticks after being outdoors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme Disease is the most commonly reported tick-born disease in the United States. You can find more information on bites and stings here. You can also check the library for books on Lyme Disease. If you develop a fever or skin rash, please call your doctor.

If you do get bitten it’s a good idea to have some items in your first aid kit to treat any bites, stings, or skin inflammation. Some of the things to include in your kit are: a flat edged object to remove stingers, tweezers, an instant cold compress, antiseptic wipes, calamine lotion, antihistamine cream, an assortment of bandages, aloe vera gel, and of course, a working thermometer! Make sure you have one kit at home and one kit in the car or to pack in your suitcase. Now is a good time to check your first aid kit(s) and replace any used or expired items. A more comprehensive list of essentials to have in your first aid kit(s) can be found here.

Hopefully, the only temperature above 98.6 degrees that will need to go down this summer is the temperature outside. Have a safe, healthy, fun-filled summer everyone!

Editor’s Note: Please consult your family physician when experiencing symptoms of illness or discomfort. In case of emergency please call 911.

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Saturday, June 13, 11:00. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Big Sister at Glenwood Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Monday, June 15, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, June 15, 7:00 p.m. Beans for Teens at Miller Branch. Did you know that beans are nutritious, come in different colors, and grow all over the world? Discover a world of beans; help build a bean tepee; and select your favorite beans to plant in the Enchanted Garden. Ages 11-17. Registration and signed release form required. The release form will be included in your confirmation email. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Thursday, June 18, 2:00 p.m. Crocodile Encounters with Dr. Brady Barr at Central Branch. Follow along with National Geographic explorer Dr. Brady Barr as he recounts his adventures, such as coming face to face with 13 crocodiles! ReadCrocodile Encounters to discover what happens when you put a 600-lb crocodile on an airplane in a flimsy wooden crate. Meet a real crocodile! (Supervised contact with a crocodile or alligator may occur). Books available for purchase and signing. Families; 30 – 60 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-7883.


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30 second eat cleanI saw this book and immediately thought, “I know these people.” These are the people who’ve made snide remarks at my less-than-designer workout gear at the gym. They’re also the same people who guffaw at my shopping basket, filled with store brand hummus and on-sale vegetables, like some sort of bad joke. Well, the joke’s on them. That artisanal hemp bag of theirs isn’t Fair-trade and that absurd bottle of super-special-macha-flavored-turbo-fat-blaster-schmutz isn’t the kind of protein powder they’re hoping it is. That’s right, I read labels and eat as well as I can afford.

Anyhow, “don’t judge a book by its cover” definitely comes into play on this one. Despite its cover, Adam Rosante presents logical, safe, and sound advice and guidance in The 30-Second Body. The first two-thirds of the book is comprised of intense body-weight oriented exercises. If you have ever done a mountain climber (and I do my fair share weekly), you will be comfortable with the exercises Rosante illustrates through photographs of his impeccable form. The nice thing is that he also offers modifications (unfortunately, no pictures to illustrate those changes). His exercises are grouped and named things like “Airborne.” (Yep. Pretty clear there’s lots of jumps in that collection.) He provides a guide for weekly exercises based on these groups. The hope is, by the end of each week you’ll see an improvement in your mobility and how many exercises you can do in a short period of time. It’s about training smarter in short bursts. Think high intensity interval training.

My favorite quote in The 30-Second Body happens to be a personal belief I’ve held after these many years struggling with a healthy body weight, “No matter how hard you work out, you can’t out-train a bad diet.” (p.105) Rosante is absolutely right. Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be working-out, but it’s important to pay attention to your nutrition so you can get the best out of your workouts. Capiche?

Rosante does a great job in bringing the reader to accept and embrace his common-sense approach. He makes nutrition attainable for everyone and avoids all things “fad.” For instance, the resurgence of this idea of cutting out all fruit and certain vegetables because of their sugar content is one he reminds us is a trend that will fade away, again. Fads come and go, but common sense with your approach to food will make the difference between you being on a diet and changing your lifestyle.

Some simple, albeit repetitive tips:
1. Eat perishable foods. Whole foods go bad quickly, whereas boxed, processed foods are best left in the bomb shelters underground.

2. “Meat, seafood, dairy, and fruits and veggies with edible or thin skins should all be organic.” (p.112)

3. Eat before you’re completely satiated. In fact, stop eating when you feel about 80% full. If over-eating has been part of your food-troubles, it can be hard to determine what 80% fullness feels like. Just be sure to stop eating before you feel absolutely stuffed. Leave food on your plate if all else fails. “Skipping meals is a fast track to fat.” (p. 117)

5. Eat 5 times a day. Try to eat within one hour of waking and wait 2.5 hours between your next 4 meals of the day. Your last meal should be at least 2.5 hours before bedtime. This guide works no matter your work schedule. Breakfast, small snack, lunch, small snack, and dinner.

6. Protein is your friend. Eat the right carbohydrates. Eat more vegetables. Drink more water. Fat is OK, but limit.

7. Use the stop-light approach to your foods:

GREEN LIGHT FOODS TO EAT OFTEN
Eggs, wild fish, lean poultry (baked/grilled/roasted/steamed), raw nuts, legumes, nut butters, pea/hemp/whey protein, fruits, legumes, vegetables, whole grains

YELLOW LIGHT FOODS TO EAT (up to once a day)
Cheese, fatty meats like beef, pork, lamb grass fed organic, poultry skin, refined grains

RED LIGHT FOODS TO AVOID (or very, very rarely eat. In fact, forget these foods altogether!)
Fast food, fried foods, processed foods and meats, consider packaged bacon, commercially mass-produced baked goods, soda, processed sugar products

Simply put, eat smart and don’t stress out about it. Get moving, but don’t hurt yourself. And, as always, consult your physician before making any kind of changes to your diet or exercise regime.

JP is the HCLS Editor & Blog Coordinator for Well & Wise. She is also a Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch & STEM Education Center. She is a storyteller, wannabe triathlete, KPOP-addict, baker of cupcakes, cancer survivor, and liver transplant recipient.

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15301843831_faa5506137_zI just completed a 30-day squat challenge. Let me tell you, it was quite the experience. I’m not one for exercise and tend to stick to a work-out routine for a short amount of time (or until I get distracted). One of my biggest challenges is falling back into a healthy routine once it has been interrupted. However, this squat challenge forced me to keep going. I didn’t allow a busy day to get in my way or cause me to call it quits (even though there were plenty of times that I wanted to). I was inspired after seeing one of my favorite bands perform at the end of March. The whole concert had an uplifting vibe and many motivational words were spoken. It triggered something in me. I told myself that I had to do something to better my life in some way (no matter how big or small). I simply needed a change. I decided to start small with a work out challenge. I chose the squat challenge and mentally prepared myself for the days to come. I didn’t go into it with an “I got this!” attitude. I knew there would be days that would make me curse myself for being motivated to make a change like this, and that there’d be days where I would want to give up and binge watch shows on Netflix instead. I knew I had to prove something to myself. I needed to make it through the next 30 days no matter how many times I’d try to creatively convince myself to quit.

I researched the proper form, typical number of squats in a set, and general tips. This information helped me to feel more prepared and confident. As the number of squats increased each day from the starting number of 50, I felt many emotions. I would have good days where I was motivated and looking forward to my small bit of exercise. I also had days where I would avoid it until the last minute and power through because I had to. The last day of the challenge concluded with 250 squats. The thought alone made me tired. As the number per day got above 100, I would break my exercise into segments to be completed throughout the day instead of over-exerting myself in one sitting. This certainly helped and made those numbers a lot less daunting. I soon figured out that it was all about finding what worked best for me.

I chose to start with one goal instead of compiling a huge list that would otherwise be disappointing if not accomplished. I knew that if I were to go from little to no exercise to a three hour workout every day that I would fail. I knew that I needed to set realistic goals in order to be successful. Guess what? It worked! I completed the challenge and survived to tell you about it.

When it comes to healthier living, it’s important to make manageable changes at a realistic pace.

Now that the squat challenge is over, I’ve made squats a part of my daily routine. I rest every fourth day in order to give my muscles a break. Now that I have added something new to my lifestyle, I am ready to add another form of exercise. This time I think I might go with something a bit more fun… maybe hula hooping!

Editor’s Note: Please consult your physician before making any kind of exercise or diet change to your daily routine.

Laci Radford is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch and STEM Education Center. She is a music lover, writer, and an avid reader. She enjoys attending concerts, plays, and other forms of live entertainment. Her favorite activities include scoping out unique items at thrift stores, bonfires with friends, and having tie-dye parties. She is studying Psychology and plans to become a music and art therapist sooner rather than later.

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Monday, June 08, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Savage Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, June 08, 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m. Tae Kwon Do: Tiny Tigers at Miller Branch. Sykesville Tae Kwon Do instructors focus on motor skills, listening, and taking turns. Wear athletic shoes and loose fitting pants or shorts. Well & Wise event. Ages 3-5 with adult; 30 min. Registration and a signed release form required: 10:30 a.m. Registration & Release Form | 11:15 a.m. Registration & Release Form

Monday, June 08, 4:30 p.m. Green Fingers Garden Club at Miller Branch. Join the crew of the Green Fingers Garden Club and take part in the science and art of gardening. Ages 6-8; 45 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950. Registration and signed release form required for each session. The release form will be included in your confirmation email.

Monday, June 08, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us to use artistic expression to improve your mood. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Tuesday, June 09, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Tuesday, June 09, 2:00 p.m. Doc McStuffins’ School of Medicine at Savage Branch. Explore being a doctor through stories, songs, and activities. Bring your favorite stuffed animal or toy for a special check-up. Ages 3 & up; 45 min. Well & Wise event. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Wednesday, June 10, 10:30 a.m. & 2:00 p.m. Preschool Block Party at Glenwood Branch. We provide the blocks; you bring the imagination! Build and create with blocks of all kinds. Ages 3-5 with adult; allow 45 minutes. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

Thursday, June 11, 7:00 p.m. Hands Only CPR & AED at Savage Branch. You could save a life! Learn about cardiac arrest, how to recognize it, and the three simple steps of hands-only CPR for victims over 8 years old. Receive a basic overview of an automated external defibrillator (AED). Well & Wise event. Ages 18 and up; 60 min. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.


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on immunityIn the nineteenth century it was called “the mark of the beast” and likened to the bite of Dracula. But once given, the inoculation for the dreaded Variola virus – smallpox – meant almost certain immunity – as long as the majority of the population adhered. The problem then, as now, was when herd mentality went wild; stampeding toward stupidity. Example: in the 1880’s, long after inoculation against smallpox was known to work, America’s privileged class insisted that ‘Mexican bump’ or ‘Italian itch’ was a disease of the unwashed masses, and while demanding, (sometimes at gunpoint), vaccination of the ghetto poor, they themselves were convinced that their status would protect them.

Unfortunately, smallpox continued to rage into the 20th century, killing 200 million Americans alone before its final eradication in 1949. Today, essayist Eula Biss points out, that is still the case. “High risk” groups are “them” and never “us.”

One reason is that the term “public health” itself connotes what Susan Sontag called “that tainted community that illness has judged.” But viruses, biologists remind us, whether you’re rich or poor, black, brown, or white – include everyone.

In late pregnancy, the author visited her future pediatrician with concerns about the HepB vaccine for her infant. FDA approved in 1981, the vaccine was rigorously given to another high-risk group including health care workers – but also gays, drug users, and the promiscuous. Bottom line, her doctor assured her, it was “a vaccine for the inner city.” When Biss went into labor, however, she required an emergency blood transfusion. Suddenly her low-risk status for Hepatitis B changed dramatically — and with it, her opinion on immunity.

In this brave and gorgeous little book, she also leans in and listens to the passionate viewpoints of many others whose definition of global responsibility – from Voltaire to the Taliban of Northern Pakistan, (where incidentally, polio flourishes), will astound readers.

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.

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FSND_posterSummer is finally upon us, so I will regale you with a brief and embarrassing winter tale. Way back in January, the hubby and I decided we were feeling kind of crummy and would do something to help us feel healthier. After some thought, discussion (mainly of howto add something to already overloaded schedules), and a bit of research, we had a breakthrough. We decided to embark on a 3-day juice reboot. Please note I said “reboot” and not cleanse. Neither one of us had the time, energy, or pardon me, stomach to deal with the actual cleansing part (read colonics and diuretics and other unpleasantries).

So, inspired by Joe Cross, who gave us the reboot option and is probably best known for Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and after a quick juicer purchase, we began to juice our way back to good health. We found some good recipes. Joe has plenty of suggestions, plus, there’s an abundance of resources from the library. You can also find plenty of suggestions online too.We followed Joe’s basic pattern for a 3-day reboot, leading up to it by slowly going vegan, and, when the juicing began, having a breakfast juice, a morning snack juice, a lunch juice, an afternoon juice, a dinner juice, and a dessert juice. We stuck to it pretty well, but here are some reasons why I call it a juice fail:

  • Herbal tea was the only thing that kept me from freezing to death during our Winter juice trial.
  • Kale concoction was surprisingly delicious.
  • Coconut water provided a refreshing break from some of the heavier juices.
  • Yes, sweet potatoes can be juiced and they can be pretty tasty.

1. We decided to do it so quickly so that we could be ready in time to start it over a 3-day weekend that we weren’t 100% prepared. It takes a lot of fruits and veggies to make full servings of juice, so we were running to the store a lot.

2. Winter is a terrible time to juice. The amount of fresh fruits and veggies available is a lot smaller during these months and more expensive. Additionally, since most of our nutrients were coming from juices, there weren’t really hot meals to be had (though I would look forward to the herbal tea we’d have at bedtime with a fierce and humiliating desperation). Long story short, I was cold ALL the time during our reboot.

3. Aside from being cold all the time, I was also hungry and really missed chewing. I know how insane that sounds, but I do feel the cold weather affects appetite, and I think there was a certain loss of comfort from taking this on during winter, especially since we were so new to it.

4. Finally, although we both agreed that the reboot did help us “reset” some of our eating habits (and move away from some really bad ones we’d fallen into), the hubby and I were not as prepared to stick with some of the better habits. For example, we were going to use it as a time to transition into Mark Bittman’s VB6 plan. (Please note that the Farmers’ Market Chef, and I have mentioned Bittman before.)

But some positives did come out of this experience, some greater knowledge that we are applying now. Next month, I will tell you how we are turning the juice fail into a health win.

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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Saturday, May 30, 10:00 a.m. Summer Reading Kickoff at Miller Branch! Join us for face painting & crafts; Wii games for teens; and instant prize drawings for adults. Sponsored by Friends of Howard County Library System. HCLS Signature Event.

Monday, June 1, 10:30 a.m. The Columbia Orchestra Presents… at Miller Branch. Listen to child-friendly music while learning a little about families of instruments and how different instruments produce their sound. Families; 30 min. Tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, June 1, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event.

Monday, June 1, 7:00 p.m. Calming Crafts at Miller Branch. Research shows that creative activities can boost serotonin levels. Join us to use artistic expression to improve your mood. All levels of artistic ability welcome. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Tuesday, June 2, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Star Ferguson is faculty at Maryland University of Integrative Health. In addition to her Master’s degree in Acupuncture, she holds a two-year Professional Certificate in Energetic Healing from Dr. Fernand Poulin’s WhiteWinds Institute in Atlanta, GA, and is a Mesa Carrier in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition, an ancient Peruvian Shamanic healing system. Ferguson’s acupuncture and energy healing practice, Sage Center for Wellness, is located in historic Ellicott City. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-1950.

Wednesday, June 3, 10:15 a.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Savage Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410-313-0760.

Wednesday, June 3, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Latest Advances in Cataract Surgery. Learn how cataracts develop, the risks, signs and symptoms as well as management and treatment options with Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute ophthalmologist Yassine Daoud, M.D. in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Saturday, June 6, 9-11 a.m. Free. Home Sweet Home. Children ages 8 to 12, and their parents, learn safe and fun ways for children to stay  home alone. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Wednesday, June 10, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Hearing Loss: Risk, Prevention and Support at Any AgeLearn to identify risk, steps to take to prevent loss and treatment options. Dr. Earl Wilkinson will share how to support a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, skills required to identify gradual loss and ways to handle resistance to intervention. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

 

 

 


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May is almost over, school is coming to a close, and it is heating up out there. After the winter we had, everyone is excited to be out and about, but be careful! It’s easy to get dehydrated and overdo it. My recommendation, take frequent reading breaks.

bulldozers big dayIt’s his Big Day; Bulldozer can’t wait to invite all his friends to his party. He starts with Digger, “Guess what today is!” But the big machine isn’t interested in guessing, “I don’t need to guess, kid. Today is a scooping day.” Dump Truck rumbles, Cement Mixer stirs, Scraper rattles, Grader clatters — everyone appears too preoccupied with work to guess the answer to Bulldozer’s question. Candace Fleming engages with simple text and Rohmann’s illustrations feature solid-shaped trucks in crayon-bright colors with loads of personality. With each disappointment, Bulldozer is less visible until we only see him from behind, his blade dragging sadly in the dirt. “No games,” He sniffed, “No friends. No party.”
Of course, there is a party; everyone has secretly been working on constructing a giant birthday cake, which Crane hoists up, candles blazing.

There is nothing more fun for little ones then watching the Big Machines do their thing. So look up where the construction is in Howard County, pack a snack, and have a free show.

wind flyersThis was one of my favorite books to take out to the schools and read aloud, the language is so glorious. Likening the idea of flying to Heaven (“with clouds, like soft blankets, saying, `Come on in, get warm. Stay awhile and be a wind flyer too’ “), Uncle makes flying seem so inviting to the boy, that readers will likely wish to be just like Uncle, too. Three-time Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Angela Johnson and illustrator Loren Long invite readers to ponder a band of undercelebrated World War II heroes — the Tuskegee Airmen. With fleeting prose and powerful imagery, this book by the masterful duo reveals how a boy’s love of flight takes him on a journey from the dusty dirt roads of Alabama to the war-torn skies of Europe and into the hearts of those beginning to understand the part these brave souls played in the history of America.

The are many opportunities in our area to see parades, walk Fort McHenry, and visit military bases. A picture book is a great way to prepare children and enrich their experiences.

in the tall tall grassIf you were a fuzzy caterpillar crawling through the tall, tall grass on a sunny afternoon, what would you see? Follow the tiny tour guide as he inches his way through the pages of this book. You’ll see ants and bees and birds–hip-hopping bunnies too. You’ll even hear the sounds some of them make. “Crunch, munch, caterpillars lunch… Crack, snap, wings flap… ” Illustrations created by pouring colored cotton pulp through hand-cut stencils, result in remarkable images. Colors–shaded and varied–range full spectrum, deep and true through sunny yellow, cobalt, plum, a dozen shades of green. Beginning as the sun is high in the sky and ending as fireflies blink and the moon rises above, this backyard tour is one no child will want to miss.

So much to see and explore in our state, our county, and our own backyards! So get out there, carry water, and at least one book.

Shirley ONeill works for Howard County Library System as the Children’s and Teen Materials Specialist. She cannot believe she actually gets paid to do this job.

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checklist manifestoIt begins one Halloween night, in the emergency room of a San Francisco hospital. A drunk, but stable victim, still in costume, is brought in with a stab wound to the belly.
Triage begins with a head to toe exam, a monitoring of pulse and pressure, consciousness, a call to the blood bank – just in case, and so on. Finally, he’s wheeled into an operating room to confirm that his bowel’s intact. In the end, it’s to be stitched up. No biggie, and no need for the worst-case scenario: a trauma team’s “crash into the operating room, stretchers flying.”

Until the patient loses consciousness and his blood pressure plummets. The team scrambles. An “ocean of blood” meets the surgeon’s wide incision from chest to pelvis. Crazy as it seems –based on that two-inch wound — the patient’s aorta has been pierced. In the hairy end, the patient survived, but what had gone wrong?

Harvard surgeon, Atul Gawande, notes that despite the trauma team’s seemingly complete checklist, no one had asked the EMTs what kind of knife had caused the stab wound. (It turned out to be a bayonet carried by a disgruntled man in a Civil War costume). Says Gawande, in this compelling and expressive book, “Ineptitude is as much our struggle as ignorance.”

What we understand and what we can or cannot control makes us human – from the builder of bridges to the geneticist in his/her lab to the air traffic controller. But can we be forgiven for the stupid error? A succinct pre-op checklist, he notes, at this point in our century, is vital (and not necessarily in place) in the complex hospital setting. It may also be just as vital — and adaptable to many other human activities.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right – a must read for all of us.

Aimee Zuccarini is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the East Columbia Branch. She facilitates several book discussions and writes the book reviews for The Maryland Women’s Journal.

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calendar_2015_blogSunday & Monday, May 24 & May 25: Howard County Library System Closed in Observance of Memorial Day

Tuesday, May 26, 6:30 p.m. Invitation to the Ballet at Central BranchStudents of Misako Ballet perform classical ballet and contemporary dances. Children from the audience may learn a quick piece and perform it. Register online or by calling 410-313-7883.

Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 p.m. Food for Thought Book Discussion on Ellie Krieger at Glenwood Branch. Borrow a cookbook from HCLS by the chef of the evening, prepare a few recipes at home, then discuss your experiences. Refreshments. Register online or by calling 410-313-5577.

 Wednesday, June 3, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Latest Advances in Cataract Surgery. Learn how cataracts develop, the risks, signs and symptoms as well as management and treatment options with Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute ophthalmologist Yassine Daoud, M.D. in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.

Wednesday, June 10, 7-8:30 p.m. Free Hearing Loss: Risk, Prevention and Support at Any AgeLearn to identify risk, steps to take to prevent loss and treatment options. Dr. Earl Wilkinson will share how to support a loved one who is experiencing hearing loss, skills required to identify gradual loss and ways to handle resistance to intervention. Held in the Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center.


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257937032_14920719b3_zThis year marks the 50th anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The OAA, initially passed in 1965, supports a wide range of home and community-based services that promote healthy aging and independence. These programs and services such as Meals-on-Wheels, caregiver support, job training and elder abuse protection are vital because the population in the United States is growing older. This May in honor of the anniversary of OAA, the Administration for Community Living’s theme for Older Americans Month is “Get into the Act.”

Senior Citizens Month, now called Older Americans Month, was established in 1963 after a meeting between President Kennedy and the National Council of Senior Citizens. Since then every president has issued a formal proclamation asking Americans to pay tribute to older citizens in their community. According to the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series on Older Americans Month there were 44.7 million people older than 65 years of age on July 1, 2013. By the year 2033 the population 65 years of age and older will outnumber people younger than age 18, in the United States, for the first time.

This year’s theme, “Get into the Act,” empowers us to raise awareness of opportunities to maintain and enhance the quality of life for the population aged 65 and older. We can do this by encouraging our older citizens to participate in their communities in an active way. One way older Americans can connect with people in the community and make a difference in the lives of others is by volunteering. Howard County Library System and Howard County Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine have volunteer opportunities to help keep older adults engaged and involved. In addition the Volunteer Center Serving Howard County (VCSHC) can connect citizens with local non-profit and governmental agencies looking for volunteers. There is a growing body of research that shows an association between volunteering and mental and health benefits. These benefits may include greater levels of well-being and increased strength and energy. Volunteering may even help you live longer!

Another way older people can connect with people in the community is by taking advantage of the wide variety of programs and services offered at any of the six Howard County Senior Centers. The new fitness center at the Ellicott City 50+ Center, located adjacent to the HCLS’s Miller Branch, just opened. Stop by and see the spacious lobby, reception area, classroom, group exercise room, and equipment room. The facility has much to offer.

I’m lucky to have both my parents still living, and to live in a wonderful neighborhood surrounded by many retirees. I feel my children have benefited from these intergenerational connections. President Obama said in his proclamation, “During Older Americans Month, we lift up all those whose life’s work has made ours a little easier, and we recommit to showing them the fullest care, support, and respect of a grateful Nation.”

Please, take an extra moment this May to celebrate and recognize the older people in your life, and in your community. Also, say “thank you” to all those who care for and work with the older population. You will be glad you did, and you just might make someone’s day.

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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Saturday, May 16, 2:00 p.m. I’m Going to Be A Big Brother or Sister at Elkridge. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Well & Wise event. Limited space; tickets available at Children’s Desk 15 minutes before class.

Monday, May 18, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital: a Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 1st & 3rd Mondays; 3:30 – 5:30 pm. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

 


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HCLS Now

 
Did you know that exercise videos are just a click away? We want to get in shape and have fun doing it. Variety keeps us motivated as well as taking on all aspects of fitness, including aerobic capacity, endurance, strength, toning, balance, and flexibility. If you have a computer and a Howard County Library System card (special 75th anniversary edition available right now), you can stream health and fitness videos. While you’re at it, download energizing music to keep you moving on your walk or select an inspirational audiobook about nutrition.

Go to hclibrary.org, look at the bottom right corner of the home page, and click on streaming. You will then find links to Freegal and Hoopla. Explore the choices, pick your movie, music or book and you’re on your way. Freegal has an entire category of movies devoted to health and fitness. Hoopla has the option to explore movies by genre and also has health and fitness selections. The websites walk you through how to register and download materials.

Freegal’s fitness videos include a collection of pilates instructional movies. In addition to general pilates, choices include pilates for men as well as pilates for pregnant women. You can also stream videos of exercise routines addressing joint pain, core strength and emotional stress. HCLS customers may stream up to 3 videos per week and each may be borrowed for 2 days. Freegal allows you to build your music library because you can download and keep 3 songs per week. HCLS customers can also stream up to 3 hours of music per week.

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Hoopla offers an even more extensive selection of fitness videos. Hoopla is a great site to explore for yoga instruction. The selection includes several yoga for kids videos. There are videos with yoga techniques targeted to patients with hypertension, diabetes, joint pain, digestive problems, and sleep disorders. There are movies to assist with weight loss, learning Tai Chi, and improving flexibility. There are even videos for fans of Forks over Knives and The 5 Love Languages. Hoopla movies can be streamed or temporarily downloaded through the app for a viewing period of 3 days.

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Hoopla has a large selection of audiobooks as well. By genre, take a look at personal development and health and nutrition. Topics include running, pilates and reversing the aging process. You can learn about meditation, how to lose belly fat, strength training, and breaking unhealthy habits. Explore the music collection too. Albums can be borrowed for 7 days and audiobooks for 21 days.

Computers don’t have to cause us to be more sedentary; they can connect us to activity and healthy lifestyles. The Freegal and Hoopla collections are always expanding. These applications do not have wait lists as the content is available to stream to multiple users at once. You can explore new ways to improve your body and mind today.

Cherise Tasker is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Central Branch and has a background in health information. Most evenings, Cherise can be found reading a book, attending a book club meeting, or coordinating a book group.

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I’ll be the first to admit that I’m just not an exerciser. I’ve always disliked going to the gym, or finding time to exercise outside of one. I have plenty of excuses for not doing even those exercises I enjoy, like walking, running, or biking: “It’s too hot/cold/raining,” “There’s nobody to go with me,” or “I don’t have anywhere specific to go.” But, there is one type of exercise that I can always fit into my schedule, and that’s simple bodyweight exercises. Stuff like push-ups, crunches, and dips. Plus, I can do them in the comfort of my own home in just a few minutes.

you are your own gymAs the title of this book describes, You Are Your Own Gym, Mark Lauren and Joshua Clark’s self-named Bible of Bodyweight Exercises, contains 141 bodyweight exercises that can be performed pretty much anywhere. Some of them are the obvious favorites that everyone knows like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and lunges, plus numerous variations on each. Others are more unusual like the whimsically named “the roof is on fire,” “shrugs and kisses,” “good mornings,” and “little piggies.”

The authors also provide some program ideas for various levels of experience and fitness, from beginner to “elite.” These programs call for different types of workouts each day, with recommended exercises meant to improve varying aspects of fitness (endurance, strength, and power). They call for performing 3-4 exercises a day for a total of 20-30 minutes of exercise – an easy amount of time to fit into any busy person’s schedule. One thing I particularly appreciate about this book is that it isn’t meant for one gender or age, and half the pictures depicting the exercises are of a female. It’s written in a very friendly manner that makes it easy to understand and makes exercise a simple and easily personalized task. It’s objective is to teach readers how to build their own basic exercise routines around the exercises that will work best for them – and why that’s what they should be doing.

7 weeks to 50 pull upsIf you want to get more specific, there’s also 7 Weeks to 50 Pull-Ups by Brett Stewart. This program promises to “help you build a stronger body and sculpt your physique in just 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week.” I speak from experience when I say, “You don’t even have to be able to do a single pull-up to begin a program like this.” I started out having to hop up to perform one chin-up on the pull-up bar I have at home (bad form, I know), and now, I can consecutively knock out 5 chin ups (or 3 pull ups). It may not sound like much, but it’s better than none! In fact, there’s a prep level program included for those of us who aren’t at the “7 pull-up minimum” recommended for starting the real program.

Why bother? Well, one day when I fall off a mountain and can pull myself back up without assistance, I’ll know my simple exercise routine was a success!

Jessica Seipel is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Savage Branch. She has worked for the Howard County Library System, in various positions, since 2003. When not at work, she spends her time reading science fiction and comics, visiting local breweries, watching horror movies, and playing video games.

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