Getting Into Fitness

For many years, off and on, I have walked during my lunch hour.  It has always been for fitness but, now that I am getting older, I am focusing much more on making sure I get in five workouts per week.  My usual lunchtime walk is three to four miles, depending on the weather and how ambitious I feel that day.  It is much easier to push yourself on a mild spring day than when it is just reaching 32 degrees!

Last January, I decided to get serious about my walking.  I joined the 2017 You Vs. the Year challenge (find 2018’s here) through Under Armour’s MapMyRun app.  This challenge is for runners but it allowed me to easily track my miles while walking.  The goal was to run (walk for me) 1,017 kilometers over the course of the year.  It was great motivation and I hit the goal at the end of September.  So far for 2018, I have walked 113.6 kilometers.  I really enjoy watching the kilometers add up!  Note, Under Armour also runs a Map My Walk website and app.

Going along with my off-and-on-t…

Off the Beaten Track at the Grammy Awards

Everyone is familiar with the big blockbusters that win at the Grammys, like Album of the Year and Record of the Year winner 24K Magicby Bruno Mars.  They are many of the same names that you hear on the radio, or on Spotify, Pandora, iTunes or Apple Music; Ed Sheeran, Childish Gambino, The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, etc. One of the more interesting things is to see (and hear) is the more off-the-beaten track winners that get discovered because this is the year they won a Grammy. Winning a Grammy gives a boost to new groups that have a hard time rising above the noise of the big machine of the major music labels, or gives vindication to musicians that work for years without the recognition they deserve for their hard-earned musicianship.  Here is a list of some out-of-the-ordinary music artists that won a Grammy this year.

Let’s start off with a category that had such tight competition that they could not decide a clear-cut winner, but ended up with a tie…

Happy National Peanut Month!

Happy March and Happy National Peanut Month!  This holiday was created by the National Peanut
Board to coincide with National Nutrition Month…and for good reason, as the unassuming peanut is packed with nutrition. Peanut butter – a product in which more than half of all peanuts in America are used – is also given a shout-out on March 1st with Peanut Butter Lover’s Day.  Peanuts are eaten all over the world and they are, of course, a favorite American snack.  Read on for some fun peanut facts!


Peanuts originated in South America – likely Brazil or Peru – at least 5,000 years ago. When the Spanish and Portuguese began exploring the New World, they took peanuts back with them to Europe and from there they spread to Asia and Africa.  African slaves brought peanuts with them to North America, and peanuts’ nickname of “goober peas” comes from the African word for peanut, nguba.  Today, peanuts are cultivated in almost every area where the climate suits.

Fun Facts!

•Despite their name…

Employee Appreciation Day!

The first Friday in March is designated Employee Appreciation Day.  If there can be a National Boss's Day then employees are entitled to a day that celebrates all the hard work put into a workplace.  This year it falls on Friday, March 2nd.  While it is not an official holiday, it first appeared on the calendar in the mid-1990s.  It is a day for employers to thank their employees for all the hard work they do all year. However, truly appreciating your employees is something that needs to be done on a daily basis.  This results in a rise in morale and productivity.  When an individual feels valued, they continue to take pride in their work and accomplishments. Employees want to work for people who value their efforts and achievements.  Even a simple "thank you" goes a long way. Human beings all want to feel valued in whatever position they hold.  Psychologically speaking, humans need to feel valued from outer sources to validate their own self-worth. When praised for the…

Books To Get You Thinking

Each year March 8 is celebrated as International Women’s Day and, since 1987, the entire month of March has been designated as Women’s History Month all over the world. In 2018, thirty-one years later, we honor the remarkable achievements of women through the decades  in diverse fields – space, science, math, business, government, sports and the arts - while recognizing the challenges and discrimination that women still face today. Celebrating women’s achievements - integrating and documenting them into the fabric of our history - serves as a catalyst to encourage young girls and young women to reach for their dreams. The theme for the 2018 Women’s History Project is Nevertheless She Persisted: Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination against Women, words that echo and reverberate in many parts of the world today. This month’s column of Books to Get You Thinking includes a selection of books in the Mercer County Library System featuring fascinating narratives of the lives of women …

Somethings to Think About

Every once in a while, someone suggests a really great idea for one of my tech tips blog posts and then I start to do the research and realize, bummer, someone already did a really good post about that.Rather than just shove those ideas aside, I thought I would just do a quick round-up of a few topics that I could try to cover, but why reinvent the wheel when someone already did a pretty bang-up job in the first place.
Let me start with one that may seem to be a bit of a downer, but is really important – your digital legacy.Typically when we think of death and what we may leave behind, we are concerned with appointing someone with power of attorney should we need end of life care and then a will to decide what happens after the inevitable.What most people tend to ignore is their digital legacy, which runs from accessing financial accounts to what happens to your email, social media accounts, and even your digital photos.Lifehacker has a very comprehensive guide on the subject and of…

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

In 1997, the National Education Association created an annual reading holiday, and what better day to celebrate reading than Dr. Seuss’ birthday – March 2nd!  Every year, on this day, teachers, librarians, parents, and everyone who wants to encourage kids to read hold programs and events, or just sit down with a child and pick up a book.  This perfectly reflects the spirit of Dr. Seuss who spent most of his life making reading fun for kids. 

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Massachusetts.  He began his creative career by contributing cartoons to popular magazines including LIFE, Vanity Fair and The Saturday Evening Post.  His first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street was rejected 27 times before finally being published in 1937.  It was The Cat in the Hat that really brought him fame as a children’s author, however.  In 1954, LIFE magazine published an article criticizing children’s reading levels.  Seuss’ response was to write a children’s pr…

Reading for Black History Month

According to, it has been 399 years since 20 Black people were kidnapped in Africa and forcibly brought by a Dutch ship to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia. It has been 155 years since Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a document intended to free Black people from the institution of slavery. It has been 53 years since the Civil Rights Movement ended. It has been 9 years since Barack Obama began his two terms as president of the United States of America.

The numbers cited above indicate that Black people in the United States have experienced a dramatic improvement in quality of life over the course of American history.  However, individual memoirs reflect an ongoing struggle rather than a clear path up and out of bondage. In When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullers and Asha Bandele give voice to the persecution that Black people continue to face. It is a painful but necessary read.

The history of th…

N.Y.C., What is it about you?

You’re big

You’re loud

You’re tough


I go years without you

Then I can’t get enough (lyrics from the musical Annie)

I recently saw the local children’s theater production of Annie and was reminded of how much I love New York City and how much there is to do with children.  There is never a dull day in the city and with the long weekends, spring breaks and better weather coming you may want to start planning your next excursion to the city.  It can be a logistical challenge to get kids into the city but, once you arrive, there is an endless list of possible activities.  You can go to shows, museums, parks, or famous structures.  The trick is to pace your day with the appropriate number of snack breaks and have fun!

I go to the city every chance that I get.  Above are pictures taken by me or my family of Grand Central Station, Time Square, Broadway and the Empire State Building.

Before you go, be sure to check out the great resources available to you at the library.  Remember tha…

Travel By Book

“There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away...”

--Emily Dickinson

Some people are globetrotters; other of us prefer to do our traveling while in an armchair, curled up in bed, or by the swimming pool. Wherever you read, there are various ways to enjoy what is often called virtual adventures: travel guides, lavishly illustrated coffee table books, and novels set in the part of the world you wish to visit. For a work of fiction to transport you to another place, the setting needs to be so vivid as to be another character. A book set in what could be Anytown, USA may have many merits, but it does not give you more than a generic setting.  I have two favorites, one old, one contemporary, which I would like to share with you.

(map showing location of Egdon Heath in Hardy’s imaginary Wessex)

Egdon Heath, so meticulous described in Thomas Hardy’s The Return of the Native, may be set in his imaginary Wessex but has its roots in real places. It is an amalgamation of the gorse heath …