Walk Like a Penguin...No, Really!

It's that wonderful time of year for us northern-tier-staters. Below zero temps, followed immediately by thaws that create roof-annoying/destroying ice dams; snow and ice storms and plenty of shoveling. Pretty consistently throughout the winter though, the ice is the icky stuff - both to drive and walk on. 

This week's public service announcement: walk like a penguin when you are navigating sidewalks and roads that may be icy - I say "may" because snow loves to hide tricksy black ice underneath it. This walking style will save many a fall, bad bruise or broken bone.

Or be like me and just snowshoe!

Dells of the Eau Claire River County Park, Aniwa

Blinding Me with Science

Yep, I am all about science. My screen saver of over ten years is the magnificent Crab Nebula. Imagine my excitement when some of my favorite science bloggers at EarthSky in their post todashared a brief, beautifully realized visualization video of the Crab Nebula. 

As they write: "The visualization was produced by a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland; the Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California; and the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It debuted earlier this month at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii."

Enjoy and be amazed.

Putting a Pin in a Decade

I've noticed individuals doing some looking-back-at-the-decade over the past week. So it got me thinking. What the deuce did happen over the past ten years?

  • Bought 2 homes and sold 3 (the third was my in-laws).
  • Started practicing yoga and TM
  • Moved from WI to MN
  • Supported farmers through CSA shares in veggies, fruit and Alaskan fish(!)
  • Canoed, hiked, biked, walked and explored like crazy
  • Retired from storytelling and put my Ear Ticklin' Tales to bed
  • Mourned my mom; lost my sister and my father- and mother-in-law
  • Survived a hell of a rare and nasty disease and feel better than ever after a gastrectomy
  • Mentored and was mentored
  • Re-connected to many grade school and high school classmates 
  • Blogged like a maniac at Tiny Tips for Library Fun and Youth Services Shout-out blog
  • Stayed in good touch with friends and family (I think)
  • Started teaching online and face-to-face grad and CE classes for UW-Madison iSchool  
  • Began my final children's librarian job at La Crosse Public Library & retired from it
  • Was awarded Wisconsin Librarian of the Year and WI Lucy Beck Storytelling Award
  • Served on the boards for the Wisconsin Library Association, ALA's Assoc. for Library Service to Children, La Crosse Storytelling Festival, 
  • Stayed active as a consultant and presenter around the country
So, you know, stuff. Still blissfully and hopelessly-in-love with my wonderful and dear husband and partner Lloyd. Traveled a little. Tried to adventure every day - whether that was a hike, meeting a friend, trying something new, exploring. Worked to de-stress. Read a ton. Learned something new everyday.  Really, really, really liked retiring for the final time this year.

So like you, I spent ten years doing the stuff of life.Looking back it seems like alot but, day by day, it seemed like just enough.

Life is a river and I'm glad I swam, canoed and waded it with you all over the past decade!

Celebrating Winter Solstice

By Susan Cooper
So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen,
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing, behind us — listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight
This shortest day
As promise wakens in the sleeping land.
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends, and hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year, and every year.
Welcome Yule!

Celebrating Holly-Days

Some of you know we are super Solstice celebrators at our house. We toss off "Happy Holidays" as our most used greeting as soon as Thanksgiving rolls around and never stop. I am forever humming and singing Irving Berlin's "Happy Holidays" and try to avoid getting huffy when people insist on telling me "Jesus is the reason for the season."  OK, no problem for you but I see it more like:

I don't often reply with that, of course; that wouldn't be very holly-day of me.

And really, whose to say what all our friends, neighbors and community members celebrate through late fall and early winter? I'd rather include than exclude.

So (no surprise again) I find all this "war on Christmas" stuff silly. I think the only war is the conflict people have within themselves to simply be kind and accept others' differences and beliefs.

I am fond of this image credited to Dave Lieberman (found on Joey DeVilla's blog a few years ago)

There's alot to be said for this. I'm all in.

Who's on First?


When Thanksgiving and Columbus Day come along, I strongly reflect on why these holidays aren't what they seem. They reflect a privileged view of the land we walk upon, live in and work on. A view that favors a white majority perspective and dismisses the people who were here first - and, despite centuries-long efforts, are still here.

We all are on the traditional and ancestral land of First Nation and indigenous peoples. Let's acknowledge that not just on holidays like these, but every day. Acknowledge, support and be allies to indigenous communities and support their lives and work now. It's important to educate ourselves on the real history of our country.

We can start by seeing where indigenous people land's were as well as their treaties and languages. Click here to access the crowd-sourced, interactive map seen above as well as explore other great resources from Native Land, a Canadian not-for-profit organization.

If you haven't already, please read Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's An Indigenous People's History of the United States. And the 2019 adaptation of this book for youth by Jean Mendoza and Dr. Debbie Reese is an important milestone in making realistic history on indigenous peoples available to youth.

Know better, be better.

"Everything is Art"

If you haven't seen this video of dancer Lil Buck, be amazed. He started doing hip hop as an 11 year old, learned ballet as a 16 year old and here shows how art and dance are one. Thanks to my friend Alia Jones for the link.

Lil Buck with Icons Of Modern Art from NOWNESS on Vimeo.