Posted in Birthdays

Happy Birthday to Me: Celebrating a Special Birthday at Home During the Pandemic

There are a lot of sayings about getting older — “Age is only a number.” “You’re only as old as you feel.” “You’re not getting older,  you’re getting better.” “Aging is better than the alternative.”

People spend time and money trying to avoid getting old. They work out at gyms, eat healthy food, meditate, and avoid habits that can age and harm them such as smoking, but you can’t stop the clock. Still, it’s true that people age differently because of a variety of factors due to genetics, environment, and social attitudes. They say people who attend church, have a network of close friends, keep  physically and mentally active, have hobbies that they enjoy and that relaxes them, and are pet owners are less likely to suffer from chronic illness and have a lower rate of heart attacks and strokes. However, each year we move closer to that final curtain. So “Happy birthdays” tend to be less happy after you’ve grown up. So why do people continue to celebrate birthdays? We all know that you don’t have to be old to die. Just check out the dates on headstones in any cemetery. We also know that life is too short even if you attain a ripe old age.

This year is a special birthday for me, and I plan to celebrate it in a special way even though I won’t be traveling somewhere exotic, having a big party, or even going out to eat in a nice restaurant. Because of COVID 19, I’ll be staying home with my husband, daughter, and cats. We’ll have food and a cake delivered. We might play a few games, watch a TV show or movie, or just talk. The main thing is that we’re all doing okay and are able to be together.

Me with my friend, Clare in 2016 in the Milleridge Village near the holidays.

A few weeks ago, I learned a long-time friend of mine passed away from Covid-19. Clare was a decade older than me and had diabetes and heart issues. She’d been in a rehab after a stroke but was getting better and would’ve been released if she hadn’t caught the virus. She’d survived heart attacks and a minor stroke, but she was no match for the Coronavirus. I miss her very much.

My wedding photo. (1992)
My graduation from L.I.U./C.W. Post and the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. (1989)
Proof that I was a cat lover even at 6 years old. (1966)
My High School graduation with my older brother, Jack, and my dad. (1978)

Birthdays are times to plan the years ahead and also to look back at those that have passed. Our lives are a series of chapters, much like a book. We’re born, spend our childhood learning and growing, graduate from school, work, sometimes marry and have a family along the way, and then retire, and die (not necessarily in that order). I’ve been lucky to have done all that except the last two during my 60 years on this planet.

So as I blow out the candles on my cake on Saturday, I’ll be thankful for another year that passed and hopefully the next one to come. The only wish I’ll make is for an end to the virus that has changed the world and for a new beginning. I’ll wish that my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances stay healthy and safe. That’s what will make this birthday happy.

Posted in libraries

National Library Week and Why I’m Proud to be a Librarian


This past weekend, I was asked by the Public Information Director at our library if I’d like to participate in a social media campaign for #NationalLibraryWeek. This campaign involved taking a photo holding a specific word. Each staff member who volunteered received a different word and these words and photos were assembled to create a collage. I thought this was a great idea, and I submitted a photo of me holding the word “for” in front of my black cat, Harry. Two other members featured pets in their photos and two featured one of their kids.


After seeing this wonderful, creative tribute to the faces behind our library, I wanted to get involved in another way to promote National Library Week. I read an email by NYLA (New York Library Association) that offered some suggestions. One of them was for librarians to create and post a video on social media about why they became a librarian. It took some thinking and several attempts before I recorded something suitable with my iPhone. Since I had to keep it short, a maximum of one minute, I couldn’t say all the things I wanted to, so I figured I’d write a blog post that would share the video and also my additional feelings about being a librarian and how proud I am of how my library and others across the country are dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and finding alternate ways to serve patrons.

My library already offered many online services, but if you check the website, you’ll see that we have ramped these up. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that caused us to temporarily close our physical doors to the public, we have opened virtual ones by adding links to information about Coronavirus and our free digital resources that include research databases, downloadable ebooks and audiobooks through Overdrive; downloadable magazines through RB Digital; downloadable movies through Kanopy; online classes through Gale Courses, and more. We have also made it simple for patrons to obtain digital library cards, so they can use our online services. Another new addition is a chat line manned Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by a reference librarian. As a notary public, I will also soon be offering e-notarizations. Further details will be posted on our website.

Checking our Facebook page, you will find listings of many of our regular programs that are now being offered remotely through Zoom and taught by some of the regular instructors. This page also lists other online resources and articles as well as staff picks book reviews, all of which are available free through Overdrive.

Since I work full-time at the library and am also a Hicksville patron, I’ve been happy to contribute to as well as take advantage of these online offerings that I normally couldn’t during my regular work hours. For instance, I recently attended Fran Cohen’s wonderful book discussion on Where the Crawdads Sing. It was a nice coincidence that I had read this book as an ebook I’d downloaded from Overdrive during my time home and submitted a staff pick for it. I also hope to attend Linda Cafiero’s Virtual Meditation program on Friday, May 1.

I know that other libraries across the country are doing many of the same things as mine, and it makes me even more proud of being a librarian. When I graduated from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science in 1989, the Internet was in its infancy. There were no smart phones or programs such as Zoom or Skype where people could see one another when they connected. Library Indexes were huge volumes that took up precious space. We’ve come a long way and even though we are all suffering during this pandemic, we are blessed with the technology that affords us the ability to keep in touch with one another and with the world. We applaud the frontline health workers who are dealing with this crisis by risking their lives, but librarians are on a front line of a different kind by their responsibility to provide information and resources to help people cope with the challenges that the Coronavirus has posed – the feelings of isolation, boredom, and fear.

We hope to be serving patrons in person again soon when the country opens up and things are safe. For now, we will use the new tools of our profession to keep our virtual doors open.

Posted in Uncategorized

Ten Tips for Coping with the Coronavirus Pandemic

I hope you are all well and hanging in there whether you are working from home, providing an essential service, or on the front lines with health and medical personnel. These are tough times, but we are assured we will get through them. And, like all challenging experiences, we will be stronger from having overcome this situation, but what do you do in the meantime if you’re social distancing at home and are sick of binge watching tv shows?

Here are some suggestions on how to make your time at home less stressful. I’d also recommend trying to keep as close to your normal routine as possible. You can get up, go to bed, and eat meals a little later, but try not to vary those times too much and make sure to shower and dress each day.

  1. Pray. Even if your house of worship is closed to services, check to see if they are offering online sermons or prayer sessions. If not, view the others that are available and/or pray on your own. It will boost your spirit and help calm you. If you don’t believe in prayer, meditation is also helpful.
  2. Learn. There are daily updates about the Coronavirus, but be careful to tune into the trusted sites. There’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet. The main site you should check is https://www.cdc.gov/.  Check your local library’s website for other links and information sources. Take advantage of online education. There are many online courses, some of which are free.
  3. Read. Do you have a pile of To-be-read books? Now’s the time to explore them. If you own an e-reader, you can download free books from Overdrive or Amazon. Many authors, including myself, are offering free copies of their books. If you like mysteries, my psychological mystery, Sea Scope is free until Monday, March 23.
  4. Exercise. Don’t skip your workout. Even if you can’t go to the gym, there are many YouTube video exercise classes. I recommend Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home program, but there are a variety of others. Put on your favorite music and dance. Walking outside is also good for the spirit. If you have a dog, he will enjoy laps around the neighborhood, and it will refresh and energize you.
  5. Eat. Don’t skip meals or binge snack because you’re upset, bored, or frightened by what’s happening. Fill yourself with healthy choices — fruits and vegetables. They will keep your immune system strong.
  6. Write. If you keep a journal, continue to write it. If you don’t, it might help to start one. Record your daily feelings, thoughts, ideas. If you prefer creative writing to journaling, write a story or start a book. Keep inspired. Stretch your imagination muscles.
  7. Call. Phone your friends, co-workers, relatives and check in on them. If you’ve been leading a busy life and haven’t had time to keep in touch with people often, now you have the chance. You can also text, chat, Facetime, or write letters.
  8. Play. If you’re home with kids or there are others in your house, take out the Monopoly, Scrabble, or other board game or plug in the XBox and challenge them to a match. Have some fun and destress. If you’re alone, there are online games such as Solitaire. Or you can find some virtual opponents. You might even consider checking out a virtual world such as Second Life. If you have pets,  cats and dogs are wonderful companions. Your kitty and/or dog will enjoy some extra snuggle and playtime with you.
  9. Clean. It’s spring. Why not jumpstart your spring cleaning and organizing? It will provide you with exercise and a feeling of accomplishment.
    10. Laugh. Humor always helps in tense situations. Check out some of the funny photos and messages on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out YouTube for funny videos.

I hope some of these tips help you. If you have any others, please post them in the comments.