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MAY 31, 2009
Mile High Bologna Pie

 Hard to believe it but that's truly a recipe in the cookbook "America's Best Lost Recipes". I found this gem in an article in the May 2nd edition of The Wall Street Journal (Culture -- Social Studies: A Recipe for Escapism --- Cookbook sales are up, yet many of the latest offerings are highly impractical by Laura Miller). You too can read this hilarious walk down cookbook lane by clicking on the title link or visiting and searching the Wall Street Journal Database. Can't find it, I'd be happy to email it to you.

The article points out that while cookbooks ought to be dead, people are buying them more than ever. I have to confess that I have a shelf full of cookbooks that have rarely translated into any kind of meal. So why do I continue to buy them? Myself, I like to look through them, looking for inspiration on new ways to cook the same old. And many of them have wonderful stories to tell, histories of by-gone days and comfort foods.

If you've been following this blog you know I've made an effort to thin out my bookshelves but my cookbooks have been hard to part with. I gave away The Best Recipes from the Backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars I & II, realizing I wasn't going to use that spam recipe and that I no longer needed the recipes for onion dip or green bean casserole. Another to hit the Friends Book sale was Looneyspoons: Low-fat Food Made Fun!. How's that for an oxymoron!

It's not all show. I do have three cookbooks that I actually use. The first two I got as shower gifts over 39 years ago. They are Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (really quite old as evidenced by the picture above) and Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook, a, well, culinary gem. The third is a more recent purchase, How to Cook Everything ~ Mark Bittman, that really does help when the need to know arises. Some others that I can't bear to part with come from my deceased mother-in-law's collection. There's an old polish cookbook, a Saint Louis Cookbook and one that features blue ribbon recipes from the county fair. I guess I'm hanging on to these for purely sentimental reasons and will probably pass them on to my granddaughter one day.


Cookbooks in the library are under the subject cookery and are located beginning 641.5. 

So fess up? What's cooking on your shelves?



Add a comment  (5 comments) posted by CarolK


MAY 29, 2009
Science Sense-ations!

Last night the library was transformed into a Sour Pickle Factory, a chemistry lab, and a music studio all in the course of an hour. Oh, and on top of all that we saw rainbows!


Cheryl Blum was here with her musical-science show Science Sense-ations. The kids became food chemists and got to test the acidity of pickles at the “Sour Pickle Factory,” with a color changing indicator that amazed them all.

Then Cheryl asked the audience if the order of colors in the rainbow ever changed. To test this we darkened the room as she shined a light through a prism. Then, we all got our own prism glasses and saw rainbows exploding from flames and flashlights. Of course we found out that the order of colors does not change …ROY G. BIV!


At the end of the show the audience was invited to test a variety of musical instruments from all around the world to see if size affected pitch. The kids had a blast playing bone flutes, didgeridoos, gongs, drums, and more, as they discovered bigger = lower pitched.


Overall it was a fun and science-y night.


A top Chemist at the Pickle Factory: 



Cheryl playing one of her science tunes: 


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.


MAY 27, 2009
Six Degrees of Separation

There is a theory that says everyone can be connected up to anyone else through five to seven steps.  This theory is based on a mathematical explanation of the so-called “small-world effect” or the concept of networks. The sum of the idea: all things can be connected somehow.  I’m not sure I buy into this, but I like the idea.

 Where did today’s random thought come from? Well, in thinking about this blog, I did what I often do: search today in history. And as is often the case, today was not a very exciting day to me. Historically speaking, there was an earthquake, several noted court hearings, a long list of birth and deaths and the notation that  it was today in 1995 that actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed when thrown from his horse in a show in Virginia.
This got me thinking. Back in the day, I used to show (hunter and jumper classes for those of you in the know.)  If I had a dime for every time I approached a jump, the horse stopped and I didn’t, we would have two new libraries! Thus, I am particularly chilled when I think of Mr. Reeve. 
Thinking about Christopher Reeve, reminds me of his dad. His father, Franklin D. Reeve is a writer, retired professor and thoroughly charming man. The senior Mr. Reeve was a professor at Wesleyan University. As it happens, one of my closest friends was a librarian at that institution for a number of years.   We met when my husband also worked at that Library. Through this mutual acquaintance, I have had the pleasure to have shared dinner and have been honored to hear Mr. Reeve read his works.
Me. Four steps. Christopher Reeve.
You never know!

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


MAY 25, 2009
Memorial Day 2009

What's the difference?

Saturday I attended my nephew's wedding and during the best man's (my other nephew)  toast to the groom, Memorial Day was mentioned. Later I asked my grandchildren if they knew the significance of Memorial Day. As we talked there seemed to be some confusion on their part and others as to the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. Really, it might not make that much difference as what could be wrong with honoring any of our military men and women, those serving, those who have served and those who died serving our country. Still, I thought it might be important for my grandchildren to know the origins of each day and to understand their meaning so I did some research.

From the US Department of Veteran Affairs comes this explanation of the two celebratory days:

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty.

Today I remember and honor my Uncle, Albert J. Ponte, who served in World War II with the 101st Airborne in France and who was killed in action on December 20, 1944.

My grandmother, Maria Ponte, Uncle Albert Ponte & Grandfather Gaspero Ponte

You can search or add your loved one to The World War II Registry located at

It includes the names of American military men and women whose service and sacrifice helped win the Second World War.

Take a moment out of this day off from work to remember all the veterans who died in service to our great country.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


MAY 22, 2009
Columbia has connections!

Last year one of our Columbia patrons came in and gave us a book that her daughter had written AND signed for us. Very nice of her, right?

The book was Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor.




Soon after we got it I started noticing all the starred reviews and buzz surrounding the book, and more recently it was the winner of the Schneider Family Book Award. So, the kids in the Book Thieves (our Book Club for grades 5-8) decided they wanted to read it, and planned on making it our selection for May.


Long story short, Leslie found out we were reading her book and contacted me to say she would come to our book club!


Ok, get ready for some unabashed gushing about Leslie and her book.


First of all I loved the book, and so did all the kids- really they’re a very honest crowd and would have no problem critiquing if they didn’t like it. It’s a hopeful, sad, and optimistic story all at the same time. Here’s a quick description from the book jacket:

“Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie's mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way. All or nothing never adds up to normal. All or nothing can't bring you all to home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her half sisters, every day. In spite of life's twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday, maybe, she'll find normal.”

Leslie was awesome! The kids had TONS of questions and Leslie spent two hours answering them all and signing everything from books to paper plates with very sweet personal messages.

The kids asked her a lot about where her ideas came from and how much came from her real life. They asked her about writing, her characters, and how she came up with the title. She told us that she was inspired to write the story by a real trailer on a corner lot in Schenectady, New York. She said none of the characters were people she knew in real life but most were composites of different people. Leslie told us the book had been a ‘light edit,’ she didn’t have to change too much, but did add in one specific chapter at her editor’s request. We also found out that the paperback will be out soon with a new cover- so keep your eyes peeled. We wrapped up the night by making toast snacks – if you want to know why you’ll have to read the book!

I could go on and on, but this post is getting a little long!

So, Leslie, if you read this – thanks SO much for coming. For anyone else reading this, stop by today to pick up Waiting for Normal – you will not be disappointed!

Also by Leslie Connor: 


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


MAY 20, 2009
I Hadn't Heard

There are times when I believe I am a sane, normal person. Then there are times that all, including myself, agree that something zigs when it should have zagged, or blinked when it should not have and some little bit of information floats off into the universe instead of into my brain.
There has been much amusement around the Library today surrounding a particular reference question. One of our patron’s was looking for an address of a famous person. I patiently explained that finding addresses of celebrity was difficult, without actually realizing, this particular case would be more so. The person in question has apparently been deceased … for a while. 
Sorry, I’m not going to reveal the particular details. But it did get me thinking about things unknown, information that gets distorted and the old telephone game that pointed out what is heard is not necessarily what is said. 
I will share however, that for a number of years, there was a Neil Diamond song that puzzled me no end. Why was he singing about Reverend Blue Jeans? Who was this person? 
Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance
And it don’t talk
As long as I can have you here with me
Id much rather be
Reverend Blue Jeans
Why? It made no sense. But never being a Neil Diamond fan… and only hearing the song on the radio… it was years later when the song came on and I, innocently turned to my partner and asked.
I’ve not heard the end of this one either. But I share it with you all today, because I am choosing to believe we have all been there and done that with something at some point.
So for all of you who have been there too, I wish you Forever in Blue Jeans  and a Happy Birthday to Levi’s – the patent for those jeans was filed on this day in 1873.
If you have a misheard lyric that plagues you… be sure to check it out @ your library!
Or if you’re like me, find out online immediately at: 

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


MAY 18, 2009
Travel yet again

 Hope you can bear another post about our travel resources. I've just got to tell you about some of the great magazines that we have for loan that will help you plan your next get-away.

International Travel News

Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel
National Geographic Traveler
Travel 50 & Beyond

My personal favorite is International Travel News (ITN). It doesn't look like much; it's published in newsprint but it is a wealth of information for the traveler who is interested in a destination out of the US. I was introduced to this fine periodical several years ago by one of our library users and haven't missed an issue since. ITN has published travel news since 1976, featuring accounts and tips by their many subscribers and covers both budget and luxury travel. You'll find travel narratives done by people like you and me, people who have visited somewhere beautiful that they want to share. You'll also hear when something went wrong, places to avoid, things to look out for. There have been extensive columns on packing, foreign country etiquette, luggage theft, how to plan an around the world trip, the best group tour companies, travel insurance, car rentals, best cruises, how to pay your bills while away, etc, etc. Each month you can read the funniest thing that ever happened to someone while traveling, a world watch where our government is advising you not to visit and why, a person to person column where readers will answer your questions, and ads by lots of tour companies. There's a great column called Travelers' Intercom that provides readers' opinions, tips and recommendations on all kinds of subjects.

If you haven't ever picked this up at the library, I hope you'll do so. We have two years of issues to spark the travel bug and you can always visit ITN's wonderful website for further inspiration. Full issues are not available for a year but there is still extensive information available here.

Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


MAY 15, 2009
Be Creative!

“Be Creative” is the theme for this years Summer Reading Program. The teen theme is “Express Yourself.” I love it! There’s so much you can do with it – art, music, dance, inventions, writing, fashion, I could go on and on.


Believe it or not, I’ve been planning for Summer Reading since about January. We have some unbelievable programs coming to us, including; a visit from the Wolf Conservation Center, Reading to Dogs, Connecticut Invents, Trash to Tunes, and a party with the Magic of David Alan and Bogus!


We’ll also have lots of other activities going on; special story times, famous artist programs, music programs, crafts, cooking, jewelry, fashion, robots, movies, and more!


And, I just ordered a bunch of new creative books for the library:






OK Columbia, before I end this blog I want to put something out there. If you are a creative person and you have an idea for our Summer Reading Program, or better yet want to come in and run a program for the kids/teens, then PLEASE contact me and we’ll see what we can work out!


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.


MAY 13, 2009
Travel Thoughts

With all this talk of travel, I, too, am getting ‘itchy’. Unlike some, I have no great plans in my immediate future, but I am planning a jaunt in mid summer: to Pine Bluff, AR. I know what you’re thinking: WHY????

 A close friend has just moved there (under duress, I might add). She’s enrolled in an educational program that just happens to be … in Pine Bluff, AR. Being a Bostonian, she was not thrilled by the prospect. 
However, I am looking forward to the visit. Being a solid New Englander, I think the cultural experience could be an adventure. I’ve never seen a bayou. And what better time than in July and August? Okay, so that part, I’m not looking forward to, but…
So, if any of you know about Pine Bluff and want to offer advice – do write! In the meanwhile, come with me and read about Arkansas @ your library…

Arkansas traveler / Earlene Fowler.


Fallen angels / Patricia Hickman.

A painted house : a novel / by John Grisham.


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Su


MAY 12, 2009
And let's go again!!!

I'm with Megan. I LOVE to travel too! Once you get the travel bug, you've got it for a lifetime. For the past 15 years or so, our vacations have found my husband and I on the go, seeing this, doing that, running around, not really resting but definitely enjoying ourselves. We haven't been anywhere since last spring when we went to Russia, almost a whole year ago. To be sure we are still making plans and possibly we'll go somewhere come fall.

In the meantime, like Megan pointed out, we've got lots of great travel books at our library to keep me planning. Recent additions include two with lots of tips for traveling cheaper and finding deals.

Ask Arthur Frommer: & Travel Better, Cheaper and Smarter by Arthur Frommer
Tough Times, Great Travels by Peter Greenberg

I'm not certain which, but I think it was Ask Arthur pointed out the sad fact that Americans have little vacation time, many of us only 2 weeks. We tend to hoard it, taking long 3 day weekends, trying to extend the little time we get. Many other countries give their employees 4-7 weeks of vacation time and let them take it in larger chunks, allowing the employee to feel rejuvenated when they return to work. I've always felt I need 2 weeks in a row off to feel like I've truly been away from the job. I'm lucky that I have a good amount of vacation time and that I usually am able to take 2-3 weeks at a time, allowing me to visit some great destinations for an extended period of time. That's also enough time to start missing my wonderful co-workers and to come back feeling raring to go once again. Perhaps if employers gave more vacation time, fewer employees would need as many sick days.

Also in our travel collection you'll find Traveler's Literary Companions. This series includes fiction about the featured country giving the traveler a whole new perspective of the destination. We have companions for Eastern Central Europe, Africa, South and Central America, South-east Asia, Italy, Costa Rica and even Japan, where Megan wants to go. Check back next Sunday for more on our travel offerings.

And speaking of travel, stay tuned for your chance to take one of our Saxton Bees on your next exciting trip, be it local or exotic.




Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


MAY 8, 2009
Let's go!

I don’t know if it’s the spring weather, or what, but I’ve got the travel bug. Bad.


I interlibrary loaned a travel guide to Japan yesterday. And I got one about Brazil. A girl can dream right?!?





Sadly, I have no out-of-country travel plans as of right now. In June I’m taking a few days off to head to Tennessee, but after that it will be Summer Reading 24/7 until August rolls around.


So, I figured I would use the blog to throw a few travel questions out there.


1. Where has your favorite vacation been?

2. Do you have a favorite Travel Guide series? (Lonely Planet, Frommers, DK, etc.)

3. Have you ever read a book that inspired you to travel somewhere?


My answers:


1. Costa Rica. I cried when I had to come home.

2.  I LOVE the Let’s Go! Travel Guides. They are for travelers on a budget, and have guided me through Ireland, England, France, and Costa Rica. I really trust their recommendations.

3. Hmmm…I probably could list a ton of books for this one, but Haruki

Murakami is one of my favorite authors, and all of his books take place in Japan, so maybe that’s why I’ve been day dreaming of going there.


We have an EXCELLENT travel section in our library, thanks to Carol the international jetsetter, so if you are planning a trip come on by to see what we have to offer!


Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by Megan Q.


MAY 6, 2009
Seeing A Good Book

To some this may sound odd, but when I read fiction, I usually “see” the story in my mind’s eye, much like a movie. When I set aside the book, I’m frequently surprised to see the pages go unbalanced from right to left, as I have no memory of the words or turning the pages.  Further, when I am conscious of the words, it’s usually a rather poor book.

 As a consequence of this particular quirk, there are scenes from books which are, rather literally, haunting.   Though it’s been twenty years at least, I can still see Heathcliff as he exhumed Catherine, Scout taking those steps onto the porch, the flames at Thornfield and Manderley.  They are as real and vivid as Scarlet’s declaration to the sky that she will never be hungry again.
Some times these scenes appear to me like move stills. Other times it’s the feelings associated with the realizations occurring when I read that linger. These are the more haunting. 
It doesn’t even matter if I liked the book. The Grapes of Wrath. Hated it.  BUT over twenty years and it’s still haunting. Perhaps this is why 69 years ago today, Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for this novel.
Come find some haunting scenes @ the library . . .


Add a comment  (1 comment) posted by Su


MAY 3, 2009
What's the Hog River?

 I may be prejudiced but I love our library and all its treasures. If you're fond of Connecticut History and haven't picked up the Hog River Journal in our magazine department, it's time you did. Published quarterly by The Hartford Public Library, as a program of its' historic Hartford Collection, it is truly a gem and a wealth of information. Consider the Fall 2008 edition, And the Beat Goes On, dedicated to our state's musical history. It features some surprising and possibly little known stories. I never realized that during the late 19th century that Ivoryton produced most of the world's ivory piano keys. This story is told by Christopher Pagliuco, a history teacher and Ivoryton resident. Mary M. Donohue covers all the great performers who have visited Toad's Place in New Haven, and Libby Van Cleeve provides an informative article about composer Charles Ives. Two of our major theaters, East Haddam's Goodspeed Opera House, and New Haven's fabled Shubert Theater, Civil War song writer, Henry C. Clay, and Karen and Richard Carpenter also get in depth treatment in this outstanding issue .Lastly, an article by Melonae McLean tells how her dad, Jackie McLean, jazz alto saxophonist, composer, band leader and educator, born in New York City, happened to end up in Connecticut and give birth to two institutions, The African American Music Department at the Hart School University (renamed The Jackie McClean Institute of Jazz in 2000) and the Artists Collective, Inc. If you'd like to hear some of the music discussed in And the Beat Goes On, visit Hear This!.

This covers only one issue! Imagine what stories are contianed in the others.My only wish is that Hog River Journal was published at least six times a year.

If you're curious as to why it's called Hog River Journal, take out one of the issues to find out or read the history here


Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by CarolK


MAY 1, 2009
Uno de Mayo

Today’s the first of May (can you believe it??). Which means in 4 days it will be the fifth of May (genius right?). WHICH MEANS….Cinco de Mayo Fiesta at the library!!!






A lot of people think Cinco de Mayo is a celebration for Mexican Independence Day, but it’s not. Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a battle that they were not very likely to win. It’s also not celebrated all over Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is more of a regional holiday, celebrated most in the state of Puebla. Celebrating Cinco de Mayo has become increasingly popular in the U.S. especially in areas that have a high population of people with a Mexican heritage.


If you and your children would like to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, stop by the library for our children’s fiesta next Tuesday @ 6:00. We will have a variety of crafts to make and snacks to try, as well as books, music, and DVD’s to browse while you’re here.


Please call to register soon if you are interested, space is limited!


In other children’s programming news, we will be hosting a program called ‘Science Sense-sations’ for kids in grades K-3 @ 6:30 on May 28th. Science Sense-ations is a musical science program with LOTS of audience participation and hands-on fun. Call or stop by if you have little ones interested in coming!



Also coming in May: more nice weather (I hope!)


Have a great weekend, hope to see you at the fiesta!!



Add a comment  (0 comments) posted by Megan Q.


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