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FEBRUARY 27, 2009
Frank and Me

Those of you who follow this blog may know that I have a new(ish) dog at home. Frank. We got him in August and he just turned one on February 12th. Wellllll, Frank has been getting into a whole bunch of trouble lately, including but not limited to, a bunch of very expensive vet visits, an unfriendly scuffle at the dog park, and an ibuprofen eating incident (also expensive).

I've been joking that I need to write a best seller about him and his bad behavior (ie; Marley), to be able to pay for him and all his bad behavior.

Here's the man, the myth, the legend himself:

He's handsome right? Not so much when I'm walking him and he's lunging at the nearest person/dog/car/squirrel/blade of grass/ ladybug.....

Well, yesterday we made a visit to the animal behaviorist at Bolton Vet and got some much needed advice. We are now (hopefully) on the way to blissful pet ownership.

I do have to wrap up by saying that I love Frank to pieces despite all the above mentioned bad behavior, AND I think he's the cutest dog in the world.

But, in the meantime, I'm not the only one with a bad dog, I just haven't figured out a way to capitalize on it -yet.

Here are some people who have:



In case you have a bad dog too...


Over 30 results show when you search "dog training" in our catalog, including training DVD's. Although all of these may be checked out to ME if you come in anytime soon : )



Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by Megan Q.


FEBRUARY 26, 2009
What to do?

A very popular and common function of libraries is programming. Almost all offer story times, book groups, how to sessions and guest speakers. Generally speaking, the public really likes these programs. As is intended they provide information or entertainment, and provoke thought.

What people don’t realize is how much goes into even the simplest programming provided.   Materials need to be chosen, events need to be planned and arrangements made.   A great deal of thought goes into programs and before making any decision library staff asks themselves and each other a multitude of questions: Would the population be interested? Do we have or can we get the appropriate space and supplies? Is the presenter of the program credible for what they are presenting on? And of course, the ever dreaded, how much will this cost?
If a library must pay for a program, the cost averages $300.00 an hour. Needless to say, librarians adore those who are willing to volunteer their time. If a library can offer something that is interesting and will bring people to the library AND have it cost nothing for the library, they have a proverbial pot of gold. 
As it happens, in the month of March we have some very exciting programs coming to our library. In addition to our biweekly story time and three book club meetings a month, March  3rd we’ll celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading aloud. On March 8th, we will show Autism: the Musical. March 26th we’ll be learning about owls and dissecting owl pellets. On Friday March 27th,   Kandie Carle, the Victorian Lady will perform an illustrative presentation of fashion gone by. And last, but not least, the 31st finds us learning about herbs.
I think it is fair to say that we are excited about our up coming programs. We hope you are too and to see you there!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


FEBRUARY 22, 2009
Butter...I Remember Butter!

This past week one of my friends sent me one of those emails with seemingly helpful information that are billed as “worth knowing” This one extolled the virtues of eating butter vs. margarine and was titled “Pass the Butter...Please”. Here's the lowdown:

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter.”***

If that was not enough to get you thinking, we are then given a lengthy comparison proving butter is a far better choice than margarine. Lastly the clincher, stressing this most disturbing fact:

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..

By this time I'm thinking I ought to be checking this story out at Snopes. After all they alerted me that slathering VapoRub on my the bottom of my feet to stop a cough might or might not work. Snopes is the place I use to check out the various email, rumor has it, stuff my friends send me. For instance, how about this one; Johnson & Johnson rectal thermometers are personally tested! False (thank heavens) or that John Howard Griffin, the author of Black Like Me, died from a skin cancer after trying to darken his skin; also false.

On the other hand I haven't used butter or margarine on my bread in over 15 years so decided to forgo Snopes and just get to the nitty of what the word BUTTER does for me. I immediately break into song

Butter...I remember butter
we were once like lovers
we were quite a team
...words & music by Megon McDonough

You can find this funny song that recollects fond memories of butter, sugar, pasta and Haagen Dazs on the album Buy Me Bring Me Take Me: Don't Mess My Hair...Life According to Four Bitchin' Babes, Vol 2. The Babes started out with members Christine Lavin, Sally Fingerett, Patty Larkin and Megon McDonough sharing songs and laughs together in Chicago. Over the years the members have changed but the music continues to be lively and fun. Presently they consist of Sally Fingerett, Debi Smith, Nancy Moran, and Deirde Flint and have a new album called Hormonal Imbalance.

Unfortunately, there's good news and bad news and more bad news. First the bad news; Saxton B. does not own the album with Butter on it , and more bad news, it's backordered at the moment. The good news is if you're really interested in hearing this song (listen to a bit at AllMusic) you can place an interlibrary loan and have it delivered to our library. A bit more good news, we do own some other cd's of The Four Bitchin' Babes. Give them a listen!


*** - the butter vs. margarine debate








Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by ckubala


FEBRUARY 20, 2009
And the bear snores on...

If you go out in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic...”

Well, it wasn't quite a teddy bear picnic, but we did have snacks...

This week we had a teddy bear sleepover at the library. Kids brought their teddy bears and other stuffed friends for crafts, stories, and snacks. Then they tucked their bears into a tent to sleep at the library for the night.

These bears got into all sorts of trouble as the night went on, playing games, dancing, listening to music, even using the copy machine. They read scary stories until three in the morning.

Of course we got this all on film and handed the pictures out to kids as they came to pick up their mischievous bears in the morning.

This was one of my favorite programs for a few reasons.

  1. Su and I had a blast thinking up ways to set up the bears for their photo-ops.

  2. The kids were HILARIOUS. Two kids borrowed library toys because they, “talked it over and decided their bears weren't old enough for a sleepover yet.” I heard another set of brothers, who could not believe their eyes when they saw the pictures, tell their mom that they were “gonna stay up tonight and watch my bear in case it moves.”

  3. It was just so darn cute!


Here are some of those oh-so-adorable pictures:

A teddy bear wikapedia-ing 'teddy bear.'

Teamwork - too short to reach the doorknob.

Bill the chimp, probably reading about Travis the chimp.

Reading some scary stories...


The whole program ties in so easily with sooo many picture books, the ones I read were:


Some other great ones would have been:



Stop by and take home one of these bear stories today!



Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by Megan Q.


FEBRUARY 18, 2009
So glad it wasn’t the drugs or the alcohol…

Okay, I consider myself to be very fond of animals and consider them close friends. I talk to them. I read to them.  I once sent my cat for radiation therapy. It worked and she lived many long, healthy years after that. I recently invested in plug-in sound wave mice repellent to save my furry friends, discussed in this very blog.    But I don’t understand giving a 200 lb chimpanzee Xanax and letting him drink wine from stemmed glasses.

 Making national news this week, was a story from Stamford, CT about Travis, a 15 year old chimp,  who went on attack, mauling a 70* year old family friend. A long story short, the chimp was shot by police as it ripped off the squad car’s mirror and opened the door for the police officers. The family friend is in the hospital. The owners grieving.
Travis, who was reported to be moody, was also said to be like a child for his owners.  He liked to watch TV, search the net, and yes, drank wine from long stemmed glasses with dinner.  Before the attack, he was given tea with Xanax, because he seemed upset.
As it turns out, I remember the chimp, as many of you might, from Old Navy ads. He was the cute little guy who appeared in the arms of Morgan Fairchild.   Local residents may remember his celebrity from an incident in 2003. In that case, he jumped out of his owners SUV taking over a major intersection and holding police at bay for two hours, allegedly because he wanted to play. 
I have no doubt Travis’s family is grieving a serious loss. I also feel bad that Travis’s life ended in such a violent and tragic nature. However, I don’t understand why no one is questioning Travis’s “adoptive parents”.  If a child sent a neighbor to the ICU, wouldn’t we be questioning the responsible adult? When pit bulls do the unthinkingable, their owners are held responsible. 
The last I heard, the police Captain was blaming Travis’s behavior on Lyme Disease.  
*edit:  Recent reports have said a 50 year old woman.
Want to read more unique animal stories? Try…

   The Animal Dialogues by Craig Childs


  Animal underworld : inside America's black market for rare and exotic species  by  Alan Green and the Center for Public Integrity.


Add a comment  (4 comments) posted by Su


FEBRUARY 16, 2009
Hoopsue, I love you, Papoofnik

Roses are red, violets are blue,...

"Hoopsue, I love you, Papoofnik", with these words I proclaimed my love in the first ever Valentine's Day classified ads in The New Britain Herald  (many, many, years ago). Little did I realize it but he, the man I loved, placed an ad too "Carol, how do I love thee, let me show you the ways this November".

Who knows where pet names come from but early on in our relationship, my then husband to be started calling me Papoofnik. Not to be outdone, he became Hoopsue and the names stuck for many years. This Valentine's Day we are married 38 years (39 in April). No, we don't call each other these names anymore, and he may not send me roses, but the twinkle in his eye, and the beating of my heart, remain as in those early years of love and courtship.

Speaking of proclamations of love, I came across this neat new book featured on NPR, Six-Word Memoirs: The Valentine's Day Edition . "Can you sum up your love life in exactly six words? Hundreds of famous and not-so-famous authors rose to the challenge for Smith magazine's Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak."

A bit belated but wishing all a Happy Valentines Day.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by ckubala


FEBRUARY 13, 2009
Gimme a break....

$40.00 or MORE for a dozen roses?!? Considering everyone seems strapped for cash lately, duct tape roses seem like the most logical alternative! They cost mere cents per rose, you can make way more than a dozen, you'll impress your valentine with your amazing skills, AND they never die!

Not crafty? No problem. They are incredibly simple to make. Last night we had a Duct Tape Rose making program here at the library. The youngest crafters were around 8 years old and they had no trouble making beautiful, realistic looking flowers.

Don't believe me? Copy and paste this link to find easy step by step instructions:

All you need to get started is duct tape and floral wire - both can be found at any craft store.

The kids got very creative with color, some making rainbow colored petals and silver stems. Here are some photos of the artists at work:




So, if this post has inspired you to try making some roses at home, please let me know how they turn out!!  

                    Happy Valentines Day everyone!





Add a comment  (2 comments) posted by Megan Q.


FEBRUARY 11, 2009
Most Literate?

Not long ago there was a study reported in U.S.A. Today and subsequently on various internet sites, that cited Minneapolis and Seattle as the most literate cities in the country. Boston, the only New England city in the top 10, ranked 8th.   Last year, Boston ranked 10th and the year before, not in the top 10 at all.

 The study measured six indicators of literacy: newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, library resources, periodical publishing resources, educational attainment and Internet resources. It did not actually measure how much or how often people read.
If you’re like me, this can be very misleading. I frequent bookstores. Clearly, I frequent libraries. I purchase books – I have shelves full! But do I read? I am often depressed at how little I actually read. For me, as I’m sure like most, this is an issue of time. Or should I say the lack of it.
Still, the study did suggest some interesting findings. Cities that ranked high for bookstores, also had a high proportion of people buying books online. Likewise, cities that ranked high for having well-used libraries, also had more booksellers.
While I’m not sure that this research truly enlightens us on literacy, it does tell me one thing: Borders and Amazon does not replace your local library.
Happy reading…
 And an interesting bit of trivia … this study was done by our local resident, Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


FEBRUARY 9, 2009
Thirty Days Hath September

Thanks heavens for this rhyming poem! I've relied it on all my life to remember how many days there are in each month. The version that I'm familiar with goes

             "Thirty days hath September,
              April, June, and November:
             All the rest have thirty-one,
             except February, which has twenty-eight." 

Devices such as these, little ditties to help us remember, are called mnemonics. I'm sure all of us have used one of them at some time or other to give our tired brains a nudge to remember a phrase. Mnemonics are usually verbal and work on the theory that  humans tend to remember spatial, personal, surprising, sexual or humorous or otherwise meaningful information , more readily than arbitrary sequences.


Thirty Days Has September: Cool Ways to Remember Stuff  by Chris Stevens (J370.15 STEVENS), is a nifty little book recently added to our collection. It's filled to the brim with lots of interesting hints on remembering things that seem to escape us. You'll probably recognize  some and others will be new, but all are fun. For instance, I can never seem to remember what presidents  are on Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. How about this for help? We Just Like Rushmore! Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Roosevelt. What could be easier.  Or how about Henry VIII's 6 wives? Kate and Anne and Jane, and Anne and Kate again and again! Whew. And if you need to know if he divorced them or  who was beheaded ...try this:

Divorced, beheaded, died;
Divorced, beheaded, survived.    

Colors of the rainbow? You'll never forget if you use something like this:
Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain.  Red, orange, yellow, green blue, indigo and violet.  Check it out today!







Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by ckubala


FEBRUARY 6, 2009
And the nominees are....

The 2010 Nutmeg Nominees have been announced!

The Nutmeg Nominees are books selected by groups of Connecticut library professionals each year to be contenders for the Nutmeg Award. The committees narrow down the books they've read to a list of 10 Intermediate titles (grades 4-6), and 10 Teen Titles (grades 7 & 8).

Over the course of this year students in grades 4-8 will be encouraged to read these books so that they can vote for a winner next January. All you have to do to vote is read one or more of the books from one level or the other! It's easy! Do it!

Drum roll please, here are the 2010 Nominees!

Intermediate Titles:

1. Archer's Quest, by Linda Sue Park
2. Attack of the Turtle, by Drew Carlson
3. A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray, by Ann M. Martin
4. Double Identity, by Margaret Peterson Haddix
5. Drita My Homegirl, by Jenny Lombard
6. The Ghost's Grave, by Peg Kehret
7. Paint the Wind, by Pam Munoz Ryan
8. Rules, by Cynthia Lord
9. Stumptown Kid, by Carol Gorman and Ron Findley
10. The Year of the Dog, by Grace Lin

Teen Titles:

Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Megan Q.


FEBRUARY 5, 2009
But he's so cute!

We are currently experiencing a ‘mouse problem’ in the Library. This is a common, and often undiscussed, problem of Libraryland.   In my past, I’ve trapped these little furry friends in cups and garbage cans, I’ve yelped as they’ve sprung from book drops and confirmed the ‘evidence’ of their presence. 

 I had a Library Volunteer once who was so afraid of the creatures that she not only couldn’t bring her self to say “that word” but couldn’t cover a book with a mouse on the cover. I, however, have a soft spot for the little fellows.  I admit that I am in the minority when I say that I harbor fantasies of saving the little guys. (Wouldn’t it be fun to have mice in the children’s section? Somewhere, Megan has just shuddered.)  
There are of course, far more reasons to eliminate them, than to rescue them. I am currently outvoted and we have been trying various means to ‘take them out.’ But I can’t help but feel like a hitman.   So… dear readers, I ask for your assistance! Peer pressure. Cast your vote – Save the Mice!
And in case you are on the fence ….
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
From back in the day when there was a National Institute of Mental Health, comes this great story about making friends and protecting one's family.
  The Witches by Roald Dahl
If you were turned into a mouse by evil witches, what would YOU do?
  The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Dicamillo
Sometimes a mouse is destined for great things.
 Baby Mouse: Our Hero  by Jennifer Holm
Even a baby mouse can be a superhero.


FEBRUARY 2, 2009
"The Hardest Part of Skating is the Ice" ~ Author Unkown

 While lots of people were home preparing for their Super Bowl parties yesterday afternoon, my husband and I were on Lebanon Green watching the few remaining stragglers ice skating. Continued low temps this winter have been a boon for ice fisherman and kids and adults alike, have been in their glory enjoying the skating. It's been years since I've ice skated but I have fond memories of doing so. My dad was quite the skater; he could skate as well backwards as forwards and it was he who taught me how to skate. I can remember the thrill of graduating from double runners, to my first pair of single blade white skates with pom poms. I can also remember the bruised knees, elbows and wounded pride that came from my many falls. Though I never was as good a skater as my dad, I sure had fun. My girl friends and I would walk a couple of miles on cold winter nights just to skate. My dad always thought the guys that showed up too had something to do with my willingness to brave the cold, but I'd never tell! Bonfires, hot chocolate, whips, trains, races, a few stolen kisses. What could be better?

When I got married and our family moved to Columbia, I used to take my girls to Rec Field to skate on the long, gone flooded ice rink. We really enjoyed skating there. Safe and fun. We used to go to Bolton Ice Rink, and Uconn too, now and then. One time we even skated at the famous Rockefeller Center Rink.
Last time I saw my skates, one of them was hanging on my front door as a Christmas decoration. Maybe it's time to buy a new pair and get out there and twirl a few turns again...

My all-time favorite book with a skating angle:

Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge

and here's a few others to get you in the mood...

Murder on Ice by Alina Adams F ADAMS
Angelina Ice Skates by Katharine Holabird E HOLABIRD
Ice skating! : from axels to Zambonis by Dan Gutman. J 796.912 GUTMAN


Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by ckubala


FEBRUARY 2, 2009
It's Officicial! Punxsutawney Phil Sees His Shadow

 It's official! Punxsutawney Phil, to the cheers a festive crowd stepped out of his burrow and....

Saw his shadow
Phil Says “Six more weeks of winter!” ~ oh, no!

From the officicial Webpage:

Phil Says "Six More Weeks of Winter!"

Phil's official forecast as read February 2nd, 2009 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:
Hear Ye Hear Ye
On Gobbler's Knob this glorious Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2009
Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators
Awoke to the call of President Bill Cooper
And greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths
After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers,
Phil proclaimed that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were World Champions one more time
And a bright sky above me
Showed my shadow beside me.
So 6 more weeks of winter it will be.

So there you have it, keep the shovels handy and don't store your hats, coats and mittens away quite yet. 

More pictures of Phil and his supporters may be seen at 

Stop by the library and check out these great books celebrating Groundhog Day:

The Story of Punxsutawney Phil, "the fearless forecaster"
   by Julia Spencer Moutran
Punxsutawney Phyllis by Susanna Leonard Hill
Geoffrey Groundhog predicts the weather by Bruce Koscielniak.
Gregory's Shadow by Don Freeman



Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by ckubala


FEBRUARY 1, 2009
Will Punxsutawney Phil see His Shadow?

Most of us living in the Northeast are certainly hoping so!  Even die hard fans of winter are hoping Phil doesn't cast a shadow.

Each year on February 2nd, Phil exits his burrow on Gobbler's Knob  to predict the weather for the rest of winter. According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

According to ME, if Phil sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter, if he does not, there still will be six more weeks of winter. However, Phil is the expert so stay tuned to hear his prediction. According to Phil's website, he's never been wrong!



Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by ckubala


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