The Library

This Throwback Thursday, let’s talk about the library.  When I was little, I used to love to go to the library.  I loved books (still do) and the library was always an adventure – activities, story time and all those lovely books just waiting for me.

Today’s library is a very different place from the hushed haven I remember.  Today, my local library has a coffee bar and serves as a meeting place buzzing with activities.  It’s a multimedia hub and still fabulous – but I miss the hush and smell of books and carpet that was such a part of my childhood visits to the library.

Last week, this photo from my childhood was posted on Facebook – it’s during story hour at the library and I’m the 4th child from the left.  I’m guessing I was around 3 years old.


Do you have any favorite memories of the library?  Let me know in the comments!


Not my nails but close to what mine look like!

I have Onychoschizia.  Sounds horrible doesn’t it?  Well don’t worry – it’s just a fancy term for splitting fingernails.   The term onychoschizia includes splitting, brittle, soft or thin nails and the condition is more common for women than men.

According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the cause is usually rooted in how often women have their hands in and out of water.  I scrubbed floors yesterday so the Spic & Span in the bucket of water probably didn’t help anything either.

My new friends at the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology say I should be wearing gloves when I do housework – but that isn’t happening.  They also recommend taking supplements including biotin.  Apparently if you take a 1mg tablet 2 or 3 times a day, 1/3 of people see improvement in their nails in about 6 months.  Wow!  Not great odds for help for my nails any time soon!

I’m falling back on my old faithful remedies – trim my nails back and shape with a good file, a coat or two of Essie Grow Stronger polish, and Aveda Hand Relief hand lotion as often I can remember to use it.

If any of you have a good remedy, let me know – I’d love to try it!

Take a break Tuesday.

downloadTake a breath people – it’s almost October so the end of the year is coming at us fast now.  So today I challenge you all to take a little “me” break and do something nice for yourself.  Can’t think of anything?  Try one of these:

  • Stop by the drugstore and get yourself one of those facial masks.  Most of them are less than $5 and a little pampering never hurt anyone.
  • Make a cup of tea and sip it while staring out the window.  Bonus points if the window is open and it’s sunny where you are.
  • Treat yourself to a candy bar or ice cream cone.  Chocolate is always a lovely indulgence.
  • Get a pedicure.  Enough said.  (On a budget?  Giving yourself a pedicure counts too!)
  • Turn up the radio and dance to a good song.  It doesn’t matter if someone sees you – DANCE!

That should get you started – let me know how you indulged yourself today in the comments!

The first alarm clock…

clocksI’m currently in a love-hate relationship with my alarm clock.  I’m not a morning person.  I’ll never understand people who wake up cheerful even before the alarm rings.  And while I am not one of the people who hits the snooze multiple times, I do not enjoy the alarm.  Especially on Monday morning.

Did you know the ancient Greek philosopher Plato had an alarm clock?  It was a water clock that was devised to make a sound with a pipe at dawn.  The Roman armies also used water clocks to sound gongs to wake them — although personally, I think maybe having the water splash them might have been more effective.

Mechanical alarm clocks date back to 15th century Europe.  Americans waited until the late 1700’s to put our own particular spin on the device.  According to Wikipedia:

The first American alarm clock was created by Levi Hutchins, of New Hampshire in the United States, in 1787. This device he made only for himself however, and it only rang at 4 AM, in order to wake him for his job.

Digital alarm clocks came into vogue in the 1970’s and often included an AM/FM radio element that started showing up with clocks in the 1940’s.  Many people use their cell phones or tablets as alarm clocks now but I’m old fashioned.  I still have a digital alarm clock – that goes off at 5:35AM these days.  Ugh….



OK – maybe I missed it.  Maybe I’m just incredibly non-observant.  If you have an iPhone, an iPad or a Macbook did you know that Apple serves up albums of pictures called Memories?  I didn’t – and I’m having big fun looking at how they grouped and labeled some of my pictures.  I’m not sure how they determine how to group/label everything but flipping through the albums is very entertaining.   They even play a slide show for you when you click on the albums!   Here’s a picture from the grouping they labeled “Furry Friends through the Years.”  Enjoy!


Want to know more about Apple’s Memories feature in Photos?  Check out this link: Apple Photo Memories.



womens-kickboxing-pentagon-mmaI started kickboxing almost 4 years ago – and I LOVE it!  When I started, I was nearly 30 pounds overweight and felt horrible watching my pants size go up (not to mention being winded going up the stairs at my own house).

I got into kickboxing because of my doctor really.  I had gone for a regular physical and complained of knee pain from an old high school fall.  She asked me if I had a gym membership and when I said I did but didn’t use it much, she kinda shamed me.  Her advice was to go see a personal trainer to get some advice on exercises to strengthen my leg muscles and take some strain off my knee joint.  That led to personal training sessions at the same time as a boxing class was being held.  I asked my trainer if he thought I could box – and after about 8 sessions of one on one boxing training with him so I learned the basic skills, I joined the class.

Kickboxing is a real two-for-one exercise in that you get a great cardio workout while you build strength.   And according to the American Council on Exercise, it provides the bonus of increasing skills like balance, coordination, reactivity and agility.  Not to mention you get to wallop the heavy bag and get out any frustrations you might have!

My class mixes work on the heavy bag with one-on-one’s using focus mitts with the trainer (he wears the mitts and you hit them – this took some getting used to for me).  And my trainer also mixes in different cardio and strength intervals like the ski machine, rower, treadmill, squats, burpees, lunges and grappling.  It’s never boring and gives a real total body workout.  When I started the class, it used to wipe me out for the rest of the day, but as I’ve progressed I find it less tiring and more invigorating.  I can’t recommend it enough!

Bonus?  I’ve lost about 20 pounds and kept it off.  I’m still a little overweight – but that’s mostly because I have a sweet tooth and I really don’t curb it too much.    I just got my 3rd pair of boxing gloves and I hope to keep taking the class for years to come.  If you ever come visit – I’d be happy to take you to a class with me!

Want to know more about starting kickboxing?  Check out these articles:

Handwritten Letter

shutterstock_161854607-600x400.jpgOver the weekend, I caught a little of the Ken Burns Civil War documentary on PBS.  If you haven’t seen it, letters from soldiers and their families figures prominently in it.  And it got me thinking.  When was the last time I wrote a real letter?  When was the last time YOU wrote a real letter?

I’m not sure if it counts, but there are a few people I write personalized messages to inside the holiday cards I send out.  For the most part, texts and emails have taken the place of the handwritten letter; or at least that’s the way it is in my life.  And I cannot imagine that they would have any value to a future historian without a decoder ring!

So my challenge to myself – and to you – today, is to write someone a real letter.  I’m going to dig up my pretty stationary, but I’m sure it would be just as meaningful on notebook paper or a scratch pad.  The point is, I’m going to send someone a real letter and tell them how I feel about our relationship.  (I’m not going to spoil the surprise and tell you who is getting said letter.  That wouldn’t be any fun!)

So go ahead and join me – get out a pen and paper and send someone a letter.  You’ll probably make their day!

Want to know more about the value of a handwritten letter?  Check out these articles:


fall foilageBrace yourself – the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere is this Saturday – September 22nd.   For those of you who like Latin, the first day of fall is also known as the Autumnal Equinox.  Here’s a definition of what that means from the Old Farmer’s Almanac:

The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus, meaning “equal” and nox, meaning “night.”  During the equinox, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator.” Imagine a line that marks the equator on Earth extending up into the sky above the equator from north to south. Earth’s two hemispheres receive the Sun’s rays about equally. The Sun is overhead at noon as seen from the equator, so at this point, the amount of nighttime and daytime (sunlight) are roughly equal to each other.

So any minute now the leaves will start changing color and falling – I find that vaguely depressing, but it can be pretty.  Want to know when fall color will be at its peak for you?  Check out the interactive map from here.

As for me – I’m looking forward to the first day of Spring!  Bring on the Vernal Equinox for me!

Want to know more about the Autumnal Equinox?  Check out this article from the Old Farmers Almanac.