Getting a Fresh Start

Avatar_MarkWEarnhartAs we start this New Year, we have a great opportunity to set our intention about how we want to live our lives in 2012. One of the most powerful things that we can do for ourselves, one which will radiate out into all aspects of our lives, is to take care of our bodies and our health.

Let’s start by taking a look at your health right now. We spend so much of our lives focused on what is going on in our outside world; how about spending a minute focusing on yourself and this body you’re living in?

Consider the following questions: Do you feel well? Does your body feel comfortable? Are your clothes fitting comfortably? Are you carrying extra weight? How is your energy level? How would you rate your energy, on a scale of 1 – 10? Do you have an adequate amount of energy to get you through your day, or do you feel run down and tired? How often do you feel this way? Are you ready to start feeling better and having more energy? If, so, you’ve come to the right spot.

As a nutritional therapist and life coach, I work with clients every day, helping them to improve their lives by taking better care of themselves. It is one of the great joys in my life to help people achieve their health and their weight goals, and I am witness to how dramatically these changes improve not only their health, but every part of their lives. The hardest step for most people is getting started. I can help with that. I have developed several programs that offer an abundance of support, guidance, education, and powerful, effective tools to amplify your progress.

I offer one-on-one personal health coaching, along with nutritional de-tox and hCG programs to accelerate the process of getting you to your weight and health goals. These programs are personally designed and carefully supervised to make sure that you not only drop the weight, but learn what factors contributed to your excess weight in the first place and teach you how to permanently change your eating habits and lifestyle so that you achieve sustainable results. I operate my hCG program under the direction of Dr. Joseph Wessels, ND, and every client is properly screened to make sure that this program is safe and supportive and appropriate for you.

In addition to individual programs and coaching, I have developed classes to fit your individual needs and build a healthy, supportive community around you. My teaching partner Laura Boulton, health coach and healthy chef, provides an essential hand’s on, interactive food experience, complete with food demonstrations, creative solutions, healthy substitutions and loads of healthy recipes.

Together, we teach:

∙ Emotional Eater's Re-Boot - a 12 week course designed to transform your relationship with food. This class will give you clarity and insight about what is underneath your compulsive patterns with food, teach you strategies that will help you to make huge shifts in your perspective and habits around eating, support you as you move through your personal obstacles, and explore in-depth, everything relating to what and how and why you eat the way you do. This class is based on the work of Geneen Roth, one of the leaders in studying the connection between our emotions and eating.

∙ Healthy Lifestyle Class – a continuing, twice monthly class. A fabulous way to embrace your health and weight goals. Very hands on and interactive. This class addresses all aspects of healthy living and achieving your natural weight. You will receive lots of support and guidance in creating a lifestyle program tailored to your needs and your goals.

You will learn:

What to eat and drink and why

How to make better food choices

How to cook healthy meals and snacks that taste great

How to achieve your weight goals

How to shop at the grocery store

How to read and understand food labels

How to get your body moving in a fun, supportive way

How to create more balance and joy in your life

You will receive individual, personal and group support

* Class includes guided tours of the grocery store, food co-op and farmer’s market. Also, included are coach guided walking groups and workout partners. Lending library for supportive books and DVD’s available.

This class is a great follow up to your Emotional Eater’s Re-Boot class, helping you to build momentum as you continue forward on your path of healthy awareness and healthy choices.

As you ring in the New Year, I hope that you will join us by taking the first step towards creating a year filled with vibrant health and energy. Classes start this week, call 360.378.5660 for registration and details.

Warmest Wishes to All!

By Shelly Van Skyhawk, NTP


Move a little, gain a lot

Avatar_SJILibrary In some ways this week's column is an extension of last week's piece. Last week I highlighted some of our special collections, and this week we've been attending to some of these collections to make space for growth.

Visitors over the past couple weeks may have already witnessed staff shifting materials. We're taking this time during the holidays to move some books around to gain more shelves in various collections. It's still a work in progress, but most of the books have been moved and now we're working on the final touches.

So, what's different you ask?

Our Northwest and Local collections are still shelved near the fireplace, only now we've utilized the adjacent shelving unit to expand the collection. This gives the collections a total of twelve additional shelves to grow. We are able to fit in bookends now, and there is even room to display titles face forward.

Since we've utilized the adjacent shelving unit to expand Northwest and Local materials, you're probably wondering what happened to the Large Print books that were previously on the adjacent shelves. Large Print has also gained numerous additional shelves and has been moved just slightly north. The new Large Print materials are shelved at the beginning of the range.

The Audio Books collection was most in need of expansion. The shelves were so tight many items were being stacked on top of each other just to fit in the area. Our audio books are very popular which makes weeding titles especially difficult. Miraculously, just by shifting books from one place to another unused space in one place is gained in the other. This worked out well, and now there is much more room for audio books. This collection is housed up front following Northwest and Local and flowing all the way to the end of the range.

We're in the process of creating a nice Reference section utilizing the shelving unit in the center near the public computers. The reference books have been moved to the unit already. Our atlas stand will go there as well, and there are some other details to finish. Some of the reference materials are being moved to circulation right now, so please let us know if you have trouble

finding a particular title.

Another special collection being cared for is Spanish Language. It's now near our other special collections in one of the wooden shelving units.

As you visit the Library these next few weeks we'll be busy re-shifting books, organizing certain collections, and adding final touches. A big final detail is signage. Some of it is temporary now, so please ask for assistance if you're having trouble locating a collection.

I am so happy we were able to gain well-needed shelving space in our special collections. It hasn't been easy for staff moving books from one place to another. I truly appreciate their support and hard work.

Marjorie Harrison

Library Director


San Juan Island Library



Conscious Choices

Avatar_DavidBentleyA Canadian librarian recently shared a blog article with me called In Praise of Libraries and Librarians. Now I am not only fond of libraries and librarians, I am an avid supporter of them. I have served terms on Friends of the Library boards in three different cities. I know how much libraries and librarians offer to their communities. However there was something in this article that I did not expect to see, and it really made me think.


Changing Traditions

Avatar_DavidBentleyThings change over time, even traditions. At some point, every tradition had a reason for its existence. Sometimes, however, people forget the reason; or their circumstances change, and the original reason goes away. Then, there can be confusion or disagreement. I'm sure we can all think of many holiday traditions this time of year. Yet those traditions vary from region to region, community to community, and even family to family. So what are your cherished traditions, and why are they traditions?


2011 Gifting Guide for the Intermediate Gifter (Part 2): The Trending Year Continued

Avatar_IngridGabriel I know, I know. This would have been a lot more helpful two weeks ago, and I apologize. While I know I am almost unforgivably late in offering Part Deux of my gifting dos and don'ts for 2011, perhaps you can still make last minute corrections if you bought anyone anything from (particularly, the Corn Kernel's just...well...disturbing). Or, maybe you are so hopelessly behind in your holiday gifting that you have not even begun.  In which case, my advice is a lifesaver in a gifting crisis.

Onward, then, with vigor.

In Part One I of my 2011 Gifting Guide, I suggested that cooking knick-knackery was the trending gift of 2011. Hip Americans seemed to have embraced food preparation as their newest religious expression, and where there is faith, there is consumption.  But as someone named Rob Jones blogged: "The industrial revolution brought with it many machines and inventions that took formerly tedious tasks and made them easy.

For decades, we enjoyed all of the conveniences that this innovation has offered, but now we're just showboating." At the website is a gallery of 10 of the weirdest, most outlandish kitchen utensils and "proof that we're getting bored with the basics and making things simply because we can."

Is anyone on your gift list really going to love a pair of pizza scissors, or a toaster that imprints images of everything from a smiley face to the logo of your favorite hockey team or alma mater?  Is humanity better off being able to boil a square egg?  Can you really enjoy a knife block in the shape of a human head sitting in your kitchen, giving you the creeps every time you pull out your cleaver?

I refer you to those websites and implore you to steer clear of novelty - a great gift is one that is totally useful and of good quality. This ranges from a lovely linen dish towel at $5 to a hand carved olive wood spoon or a Le Creuset anything at all. Spend a little or spend a lot, but in the hands of the right giftee, a great wine puller or a solid mixing bowl is a joy for many years to come.

So, what do I like to see on a gift list?  I like Real Things, for one.  I miss the sun, so I asked Santa for an indoor lemon tree.  I also like things that have surpassed durable and moved into the realm of almost indestructible.

People who have traveled with me have pointed out that I tend to pick the very heaviest souvenir that I can find, buy it, and then drag it around doggedly for several weeks and through several airports.  I admit there was that concrete mortar and pestle in Thailand that I just couldn't live without, and that I do seem to admire objects with bulk. So, perhaps it is no surprise that I already own and highly recommend the Lodge Cast Iron Wok for your giftee.

This is an implement that will last for many generations and, probably, past the annihilation of the universe. When I use this wok, I am filled with a Cartesian sense of cooking purpose - that is, "I cook, therefore we eat."

It's got some serious industrial-strength mass, but a cook need never worry that it can’t take either high heat or rough handling.  The wok will move from a stove to a grill to a camp fire to an oven to a raging inferno and only improve with age and use. (It was also highly reviewed by Fine Cooking magazine.)

I plan to be interred in mine, it's that good.  Lodge also makes a nice little cast iron portable hibachi that would make a terrific gift with a grilling book or tools.  If Santa brings me one of those, maybe I'll be interred in that instead.

As a companion, I recommend the cookbook Stir-Frying to the Edge of the Sky. Taking stir-fry to celestial heights, Edge... gives you inspiration while you wander around, exhausted and aimless, Market Place or King’s between 5:30 and 6:00 asking the eternal question, "What am I going to cook for dinner?"

Edge... will show you that all you need is a crown of broccoli, some snow peas, a red pepper, and meat or shrimp (if you want) to make a fab fry. You will go at it in your unbelievably heavy Lodge Cast Iron wok (did I mention that it's heavy?). It will be good, your diners will be satisfied and you will be settling with your nightcap IN your nightcap by 7:30, having used only one pan that doesn't even WANT to be washed.

Or, if you eschew pots, there are knives. My friend, Denise, said that she read that there are knife people and pot people. She is a knife person and cares deeply about her knives. I am a pot person and cannot give any advice on knives, but if you give a nice knife (or a set), include a book Denise admires on knife sharpening and care called An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward, 2008. A knife enthusiast will go all misty eyed over the technical details of maintaining a surgical sharpness on their blades.

While I don't usually shirk and take the easy and overpriced path out of the gifting wilderness, I feel safe in pointing you to either the Sur Le Table catalogue or Williams and Sonoma. I'm pretty sure even dedicated foodies will appreciate something from either company. (Although, I marvel at their "handmade authentic tamales" priced at an audacious $55 for a dozen.

Where I come from, they are free at Matt’s El Rancho during margarita hour.) These glossy catalogues make you long to make stuffed peppers just so that you can use your new stuffed pepper baking pan.  While I never really considered making filled pancakes before, if someone sends me the Wms&S Nordic Ware Filled-Pancake Pan for $39.95, I'll be serving ebelskivers (both sweet and savory) before the sun sets. Ditto the Zoku home popsicle maker. I gave this to my daughter a couple of years ago, and our freezer has not lacked for a popsicle since.

One of the advantages of the food trend is that it appears to be gender neutral (and age-neutral in a lot of cases). While the female of the house may give the KitchenAid standing mixer a whirl more frequently (or not, depending on your house or if there is a female in it), cooking gifts are not the least bit XY chromosome specific, unless they are Breast Cancer Awareness pink, and then you might need to make some concessions to pink aversion. Any space that is full of tools and materials with which to make stuff tends to encourage play and be attractive to both sexes.

Most of the men I know well have been happy to exert their primacy around a stove and/or grill (except for that one guy who was a raw foodist and all he ever did was wield a vegetable peeler over the sink – he may have been eaten by larger predators by now, I don’t know).  So, a lot of the agony of gifting according to gender just disappears.

Cooking is just so-darn-cool that physically fit handsome dudes with manly stubble and denim work shirts do it on television all the time, giving the impression that any man who can caramelize a crème brulee is secure in his masculinity.

And then there are the books, books, books...

If you haven't opened one lately, modern cookbooks and food writers have morphed light years from the days when readers were advised to keep an ample supply of cans of fruit cocktail and French onion soup mix stocked at all times to create a quick and family-satisfying meal.

Today's talented food writers produce books and articles that are as much personal memoir (see any book by Ruth Reichl), lifestyle statement (see Big Ranch, Big City Cookbook: Recipes from Lambert's Texas Kitchens) and cultural reflection (The Cheese Board: Collective Works: Bread, Pastry, Cheese, Pizza) as how-to-cookbooks.

You won't go too far wrong wrapping up a pizza stone (but NOT the pizza scissors) and the Cheese Board book for your giftee. There's the reading, and the doing and the mastering, which, ultimately could lead to a very good pizza and expand into a life-long interest in pizza and Italian culture.

Followed closely by the on-line Italian lessons and the trip to Naples. All of which are a big improvement over other potential and uncreative gifts like a box of inflated grapefruits.

I would be remiss to neglect that the lore for a true foodie is not just about cooking and kitchen widgets. There is also the sensuous, romantic and historical side of food that for enthusiasts of culinary arts or, really, anyone who appreciates food, is equally as compelling. For example, Mort Rosenblum tells us in one of my all-time favorite books Olives: The Life and Lore of a Noble Fruit that there are olive trees in Jerusalem so old that they likely shaded Jesus.

When you take up a tagine or a paella pan, you aren't just making dinner; you're tracing the food traditions of another culture. A pomegranate transports you to the Middle East; spanakopita brings Greece to your plate. A lemon in winter reminds you that the sun hasn't completely abandoned us.

The bad news is that this valuable information is coming late to you this holiday gifting season. The good news is that grown-ups understand how busy you are and appreciate a gift-certificate to an on-line food-centric retailer. It's also not too late to hike on down to the local gourmet/ /houseware & hardware store and any of the fine island bookstores to put together a thoughtful culinary gift with a sprig of rosemary tucked into the ribbon.

Happy holidays and may you enjoy the blessings of food and plenty in the year ahead.


Special collections highlighted

Avatar_SJILibraryThis week I'd like to highlight some of our special collections at the Library.

Public libraries carry all sorts of materials, and even though Dewey is the library standard for classifying materials, not every library will choose to organize it's collections in a similar manner. Nowadays more and more libraries are even "giving up Dewey" and opting for a more "book store approach" to organization.

Yet, many libraries that continue to classify nonfiction by the Dewey Decimal System still opt to maintain separate collections. This is often to highlight a particular area of community interest, or to make certain collections more accessible for browsing.

Most public libraries separate items by material type, so audio and video materials are shelved separately from print materials. Then, of course, many libraries create a children’s area and shelve all children’s materials in a special location. Sometimes libraries do this for Teen materials, too. This makes three distinct collections (Adult, Children’s, and Teen) and within these collections are print materials and AV. This is how we do it at the San Juan Island Library.

But, did you know that the Library also has several special collections within our Adult, Children’s, and Teen sections?

The Children’s area includes picture books, easy readers for young people learning to read, board books, books with an attached CD or cassette, books on CD, music CDs, magazines for kids and parents, and reference materials. Of course, you probably knew about these collections, but, there’s more...

The Children's section offers a whole collection of parenting materials in all formats (print, audio, and video) on a variety of topics relating to parenting.

Graphic novels and Manga materials are also separated from regular nonfiction and shelved together in a special location. The Teen section also has Manga and Graphic Novel collections.

In the adult area you'll find three very special collections - Local Interest, Northwest, and Spanish.

If you're looking for local history, directories, or anything San Juan Island specific whether it's leisure reading or factual information, you'll find these types of items in our Local Interest collection.

The Northwest Collection includes nonfiction books with a regional emphasis such as flora, fauna, history, general interest, and more.

Our Spanish collection includes Spanish language videos, magazines, and books for people of all ages.

We are very proud of the special collections in our Library. Please ask us for assistance if you need help finding a particular title or wish to browse one our special collections.

Marjorie Harrison

Library Director

San Juan Island Library



Allowing Things to Work Out

Avatar_DavidBentley It had been a long morning with several appointments and meetings. Now it was time for an afternoon eye exam on the mainland. In my rush to catch the 11:00 ferry, I'd forgotten to stop by the bank to get some extra cash. As the ferry pulled out of the harbor, I realized it was too late to worry about money. So I enjoyed a long conversation with an island friend, allowing things to work out however they worked out.


The Ornament Exchange

Avatar_DavidBentleyI'd never been to a Christmas ornament exchange, so I didn't have a clue about proper etiquette. In fact, I wasn't sure Emily Post or Judith Martin had ever written about this particular subject. Having come solely for the purpose of tasting each of the five pots of soup, I hadn't even brought an ornament to exchange. However this fact did not fluster the hostess in the least. She assured me that there would be plenty of ornaments for everyone. So I smiled and sat down. What else could I do?


The Story of My LIfe

Avatar_DavidBentley Tell my life story in 45 minutes. How difficult could that be? After all I’d been an eyewitness to every, single event. I knew the entire cast of characters. I was intimately familiar with the good, the bad, and the ugly from both the past and the present. With more years in my life than minutes allotted to recount them, I had plenty of material to work with. Still, preparing to give this speech had become a daunting task.


Library busy with holiday happenings and more

Avatar_SJILibraryWinter doesn't officially begin until December 22, but I'm sure you'll agree it's starting to feel a lot like winter. Right about this time of year is when I most enjoy cozying up around the fireplace with a warm blanket and a good book. I don't have a fireplace at home anymore, so I really appreciate the one in my home away from home – the San Juan Island Library.

I invite you to browse the Library's holiday display for some festive cozy reads, grab a book and warm up by the fireplace. The latest by Debbie Macomber, 1225 Christmas Tree Lane, is sure to appeal to romance readers who like a little bit of suspense. The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson is new to our collection and another charming story to read during the holiday season. For a heartwarming story with lots of local flavor, try Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas. We’ve got this title in Large Print, too.

The San Juan Island Library is a great place to be on a chilly, windy day. The Library also has many events happening throughout December, some festive and cozy, and others of an educational nature. This Friday, December 2nd is Holiday Family Film night and we're showing Disney’s A Christmas Carol. The festivities begin at 7:00 pm. The following day the Library is hosting a very special puppet show with Allie the Alligator and Blatt the Moose. The puppet show starts at 2pm. On Monday, December 5th at 6:30 pm the SJC Sheriff’s Office and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services is hosting a program called “Protecting Our Children. All adults interested in protecting children are invited to attend a discussion forum and initial training.

Many more programs are scheduled for December. There's a Santa Party for preschoolers, Book Club for older kids, and an afterschool craft program for children in grades K-12. Adults can attend a writing workshop, and watch Cary Grant films. Please go to the Library’s website for a complete listing and full details.

Marjorie Harrison

Library Director

San Juan Island Library