Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Books Anyone? We Need Donations!

Are you in the process of reorganizing and cleaning out your house and book shelves?  The Friends of the Canastota Public Library are looking for a few good books! On a year-round basis, the Friends operate a year-round book sale in the lower level of the library.  The group also runs a large book sale during the month of October.  The funds raised from these reasonably priced donated books will be used to sponsor library programs and/or library needs.

Right now, the group has found that they are running low on all types of books, from newly released paperbacks and hardcover books, particularly children’s books and adult fiction.  If you have books that you are interested in donating to the library, just bag or box them up and drop them off at the library’s circulation desk during regular library hours.

Books should be in good condition, without any rips, tears, markings or mildew.  If you are donating, the Friends of the Library have noted that the books that sell best are those that are newer and very gently used.  Unfortunately, the Friends cannot accept encyclopedias, text books or Reader’s Digest Condensed books as they have found that there is no market for the resale of these books.

If you have any questions about book donations, please contact the library at (315) 697-7030.  If you need assistance with moving your books into the library, just call us prior to your arrival and we can meet you in the parking lot to help with the delivery of the books.  The Canastota Public Library is located at 102 W. Center Street.  Books can be dropped off any time the library is open.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fiction and Life



          When I was growing up in Western Pennsylvania, I was one of the “middle” children in our neighborhood.  Those older than me were five or ten years older than me.  And, those who were younger than me, also seemed to be at least five years younger than me.  I spent a lot of time by myself or with my Mom.  I don’t remember playing with toys or dolls at all.  I must have had a Barbie or two, but I just don’t remember them.  I remember reading.  I can remember Mom taking me to the Grants store and buying me coloring books and reading books.  I was enchanted. 

          As I grew older, I continued reading Little Women, The Little House Series, Trixie Beldon and more.  Books were friends.  They took me places and allowed me to see more than the tree in my backyard.  At about twelve, I discovered romance novels and I devoured them.  How glorious, to always have a happy ending!  I loved it that true love always won out.  Then, I started reading Mary Stewart and Mary Higgins Clark.  From Mary Higgins Clark, I learned that I loved a mystery and if there was a love interest involved, so much the better.  Sometimes I wondered if I would have become a different person, if I had read non-fiction.  I might have been a little more cynical, a glass half empty sort of girl. 

          The fiction novels allowed me to find a world were happy endings were always possible—no matter the odds.  I could become the heroine and save the day, whether putting out a fire, assisting a homeless pet or loving a child that wasn’t my own.  Those novels made me believe that reality could be what I wanted it to be. 

          Somewhere along the way, life can really get us feeling down.  And, we think that we can’t reach our goals.  We can’t find our way in the storm.  We will NEVER be able to try something new with our lives.  Every negative thought that comes our way stops us in our tracks.  We settle for the lives we think we were meant to live.

          I think that our lives should be more like those fiction novels.  Where the evil is always triumphed against and the demons of life are slain.  Like those books, we should be able to find our way in the storm.  We should be able to change our lives in mid-stream, to find a better way for us and for our families.   Fiction offers us hope; we need to accept that challenge.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Living Changes in 2014

We rang in the New Year, like many families, at home watching the ball drop at Times Square. We sat in the living room, eating junk food and drinking soda and were entertained. We hollered and whooped and there were hugs and kisses all around. My husband turned to me at midnight and said, “Well, we made it through another one.”

I’ve been thinking about that comment for a few days now and I have to admit that while I agreed with him, I’ve decided that I am troubled. With our current economy, the news focused on terrorism, unemployment rates at an all time high, high snowfall and cold weather and more, a person has to feel great frustration in the day to day routine. I’m sure there are many of us thinking the same as my husband. But, “Making it through another one” just doesn’t do it for me. I want to do more than just survive. Don’t you?

In spite of our tribulations, we have countless opportunities available to us. This is a great time to look at our goals, lifestyles, pastimes and be able to make changes. Not resolutions to change but change itself. Change, while sometimes frightening, can be a good thing!

While the cost of living seems to keep rising, our family budget has decreased.  My husband took a significant cut in pay this past year to keep his job. Mealtime planning has become very interesting. I now make a weekly “menu” before I leave for the grocery store. How do I decide on the meals? I’ve got a list of family favorites and I’ve been experimenting by checking out cookbooks and cooking magazines from the library. Some of my favorites are The Frugal Gourmet by Jeff Smith, Once A Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson and The Freezer Cooking Manual: From 30 Day Gourmet: A Month of Meals Made Easy by Tara Wohlenhaus. I look for ways that I can save and still provide a healthy, nutritious diet for the family.

From that menu, I only add to the grocery list those things that we absolutely need. By using a grocery list, I find that I don’t spend extra by impulse shopping. Clipping coupons and checking store circulars while I am working on my menu for the week also help me in keeping the costs down. I buy what is on sale and use that in my menu options. And, if it is possible, I may buy extras of those items that are on sale to use in a future week’s menu cycle.

This past weekend, I took our youngest son with me on the menu planning and weekly shopping trip. He has started to make some of our meals and help in meal preparation so I thought this was a good idea. Since he can be a picky eater, it was helpful to have him with me to support the menu/food changes that we are making.

It also gave us some great quality time to spend together. While he wasn’t ‘feeling the love’ for some of the items that we bought, he understands that change is important. I was surprised to note him checking the prices on some of our old “staples” like name brand cereals and breakfast items. He quickly checked coupons and then decided on ‘store brand’ if coupons weren’t available.

We’re living changes—not making resolutions to change. And, it is due to our family’s economy. This is a great opportunity! The dietary changes are healthier for us. We are spending less, experimenting in the kitchen together and having fun creating new meals.