Archive for December, 2014

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

Happy New Year 2015We are almost at the end of the year, and await the start of a new year with both anticipation and dread.   This time of year always puts me in a contemplative mood as I take stock of what kind of year it was.  There was surgery, healing, a bad case of food poisoning, a wonderful cruise, fun meals with friends, a relaxing trip to Cambria, festivals, birthdays,  my elderly cat’s broken leg, and my  daughter and son-in-law’s joyous homecoming after almost a year and a half away. And these are just a few events in this past year. Everyone in my family is relatively healthy and for that I am truly thankful.  On balance, I would say this past year has been pretty good to me.

I can only hope that 2015 will be a good year. I don’t believe in making resolutions, since they will probably be broken, but I do have some wishes. As I turn another year older in March, I wish and hope that I can age gracefully,  stay active and healthy.  After several surgeries in the past few years, I hope this is a no-surgery year! I hope my friends and family will have a good year, and if not, that I will be there to give them support in whatever they go through.

And, as a librarian, I would be remiss if I didn’t remind you that coming up in the New Year, the library has more programs, both entertaining and educational, planned for all ages. We also still have books, CDs, magazines, CD Books, and DVDs to be checked out. And for those of you with Kindles, or Ipad’s or the like,  we are happy to provide you with eAudiobooks, eBooks, eMagazines, and many fantastic databases, such as Mango, and Universal class for your learning pleasure. All our programs and databases are free, as is everything you check out, unless you lose or damage an item or return it late. All of our programs are advertised via flyer, paper calendar and our event calendar online.  Make it a part of your routine to check and see what is going on at  your local library.  I think you’ll be pleased at the breadth and depth of what we offer.

We can put this year behind us, whether it was good or bad, and have the opportunity to start over again. The world will go on, as it always does, with events that astound us, make us happy or maybe, sadly, horrify us.  What we can do, is to try to make our little corner of the world a little happier, safer and kinder for those around us.

In closing I give you this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.  Happy New Year, everyone!

“What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our prides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of a year.”


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Here are two titles: Once a Hussar by Ray Ellis (soldier and survivor in WWII; available through Link +) and The Dog Who Could Fly: The Incredible True Story of a WW II Airman and the Four-legged Hero who Flew at his Side by Damien Lewis. They are truly optimistic.

And I’ll look forward to reading “Aging Wisely: Advice for Boomers and Seniors.

Happy reading to all of you.

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Tips to prevent holiday stress

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.
  2. Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
  3. Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.
  4. Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.
  5. Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget……read more Mayo Clinic

Materials on stress @ Library

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Kinship Services located in the Fremont Family Resource Center provides FREE services to kinship families in which a child is being raised by his/her relatives.  This could be grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings or even family friends.

The goal is to support families in any way possible to ensure that the child stays with a relative caregiver.

Services include:

  • Free weekend recreation activities for youth and children
  • Free homework help and academic support
  • Support groups for both caregivers and youth
  • Free workshops
  • 24-hour helpline for immediate resource referral 510-421-6861
  • Case management services, including financial resources, child care referrals, legal assistance, mental health resources and emergency food, clothing and shelter.

The Fremont office is located at 39155 Liberty St, Room D450.  It is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 am to 4 pm.

Call 510-846-6332 for more information or to schedule an appointment.


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If your book club is between books, there may be something for you in the library’s book group kits.  At the www.aclibrary.org home page, do a title or keyword search for “book group kit” to find a list of titles.  Each kit consists of a bag that contains one study guide and ten copies of the title, so members of your book club won’t have to go and find their own copy.

Childcare providers and parents can search for “story times to go”.  The search results will list thematic kits containing books and materials for children.  The materials come in a blue bin and may include a DVD, puppets and books, depending on the theme.

Holds can be placed as usual on titles in group kits and story times to go.  Check them out.

book kit 1 story times 1


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The holidays are a great time for food, family, football, and recreation.
Thanksgiving seems to be a trial run for holidays in December that involve food AND gift-giving.
We can spend our time reacquainting ourselves with lots and lots of family. In my family there are teenagers, recent college grads starting careers, octogenarians, AND now a 14-month niece and a 22-month-old nephew in the next generation, with whom I spent a lot of time.  I was struck by little ones’ curiosity about everything. The two-year-old was more interested in the textures and shapes of his fruits and eggs and sausage than in eating his breakfast. But when given a color crayons to color the placemat, he was very excited about that. His mom says he LOVES to be read to. This reminded me of a great book he would enjoy.

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh (1989) — in which the mice play in the red, yellow and blue to create green and other colors in the spectrum.

When I went to the bookstore the next day I was reminded of more great books for toddlers/preschool:

Pete the cat : I love my white shoes / story by Eric Litwin (aka Mr. Eric) ; art by James Dean (2010). This involves changing colors, but the lesson is about having a cool attitude.  Also Pete the cat and his four groovy buttons by the same great team (2012). The main thing is when he loses or dirties his clothes, “Does Pete cry?– goodness no!” This is a cool cat that does not have tantrums.

I saw many of the Piggie & Gerald (Elephant & Piggie) books by Mo Willems, who is also author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and the Knuffle Bunny series, too.  Elephant and Piggie are great because they are not only perfect early readers for K-1st grade. The illustrations are VERY expressive. And the words and situations are simple enough that 2- to 3-year-olds can appreciate being read to! The newest one is about waiting –something little people have a hard time with, especially before the holidays.  And the reward Elephant waits for is really out of this world!
(Spoiler alert: it is not something you can buy or even touch!)
The great news is: you and I can check out tons of books and DVDs from the library, to see how great they are, before we decide to buy gifts for the holidays. Or you may just want something to entertain you on days and evenings that are rainy or cold.  Place a hold on the latest best seller or mystery. There are so many great books out there.  Or check out recent teen books such as the Scorch Trials and other Maze Runner books by James Dashner or If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  Happy hunting for great books!

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