Not My Typical Saturday

Avatar_DavidBentley I woke up Saturday morning to the percussive sound of rain beating down on the metal roof. It wasn’t a wimpy, Pacific Northwest mist, either. It was a real rain. The kind we used to call toad stranglers back in Louisiana. So I lay there in bed, half asleep and half awake, thinking of the plans I'd made and the perfect excuse Mother Nature had provided for not following them. Eventually I did manage to crawl out from under the covers, but there was no reason to rush.


Friends are true friends of the Library

Avatar_SJILibrary2011 has been a busy and eventful year for the nonprofit Friends of the San Juan Island Library. The group has been through a lot of change since November, as maintenance work in the Library’s basement has kept the Friends from using it to store and sort donated items.

Without a convenient place to sort and store books, the Friends had to come up with a new way to accept book donations. Donations are now accepted at the Library on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m..

A Friend sits at the Treasure Cove in the Library during those times and waits for people to drop off books. Afterwards the books are moved to a storage unit to keep for the Annual Book Sale and other fundraising events.

The Friends are working harder than ever. The Annual Book Sale in the summer was a big success. Lots of volunteers assisted with sorting, moving, set-up, tear down, and take away.

Currently the Friends are looking for volunteers to sell books, book bags, t-shirts, beaded jewelry, greeting cards, and more at the Treasure Cove in the Library. The Treasure Cove is open from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

If you think you may be interested in becoming a volunteer for the Friends of the Library, stop by the Treasure Cove during open hours and speak to a Friend.

You’ll soon see the Friends at the Island Artisan’s Annual Holiday Marketplace in late November selling handcrafted jewelry, holiday cards, bookmarks, and other gift items. These gifts are handcrafted by our own Friends. Oh, it’s fun to be a Friend of the Library!

Please remember to drop of your gently used books and videos to the Friends at the Library on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1 to 3pm. Book donations are down this year, so please take note of the new donation hours and think of the Friends when you’re cleaning out your book shelves.

Their big annual membership drive is coming in November A membership request form will arrive in the mail shortly. Becoming a member of the Friends is easy, and your membership fee goes to support Library programs and services.

I’m very grateful to the Friends for all their support, work, and dedication this year. I know it hasn’t been the easiest of years. Thank you, Friends, for all you do.

Marjorie Harrison

Library Director

San Juan Island Library



Those Darned Ferry Boats

Avatar_DavidBentley I had an appointment on the mainland at 12:15 on Wednesday. I tried to get it changed to better fit with the ferry schedule, but that was not possible. Reluctantly I resigned myself to leaving on the 8:05 ferry, arriving at 9:10, and having three hours to kill. After initially being annoyed, I decided I could do a little shopping during my three hour wait. Still, I charged up my iPod and stuck a book in my backpack.


Chests of Hope

Avatar_IngridGabriel "Faith is the very first thing you should pack in a hope chest.'- Sarah Ban Breathnach

You don’t see them around much unless you are searching eBay or in a vintage shop. They start at around $25 if they are in good shape and not too gouged or cracked. But, they aren’t free like they used to be - obtained only with the effort it took to be a female and graduate from high school to earn your little cedar prize.

The Lane Miniature Cedar Jewelry and Trinket Chest of yesteryear was the aperitif offered to whet the young lady’s (and her mother’s) appetite for the full-on Lane Cedar Hope Chest. Back when there was still reason to believe that a nice set of tea towels and a stack of embroidered dresser runners carefully preserved in a padded chest portended future married fulfillment.

Where did the little chests of hope come from? And where did they go?

chestBack in my village, during the spring of a maiden’s senior year in high school, cards would arrive from a furniture store located in the nearest substantial town twenty-two miles away. The cards entitled the graduating addressee to claim a free Lane jewelry/trinket box from a furniture retailer that carried the complete and gargantuan line of Lane Hope chests. The not-too-subtle subtext being that cradling a tiny cedar box would inspire a yearning in the bosom that could only be satisfied by acquisition of the first twig for the future marital nest – that is, a mammoth cedar box.

It was a rite of passage, in a way, and we looked forward to the expedition. Although the little chest didn’t represent so much miniaturized hope for many of my college-bound classmates as much as it functioned as a very attractive container for zig-zag papers and a small rolling tray. No doubt, this must have been one of the reasons that Lane gave up on the give-away sometime after 1977 when a generation of women stopped using their boxes for love letters and charm bracelets and repurposed them as heirloom quality stash boxes. (There's a folksong in there somewhere – “Where have all the boxes gone? They’ve gone to dorm rooms, everyone.”)

I still have mine. Of course I do. I have a few others, too, skimmed from garage sales and junk stores over the intervening years before they were “vintage” enough to increase in value beyond “free” or almost free. Just last week, I saw one at the thrift store. When I opened the lid, it smelled like faded cedar and a wave of nostalgia washed over me.

My mother, too, kept a lot of hope for me in chests that were discarded along the way. Although, being a foreigner and prone to dropping in a French word whenever possible to remind anyone listening that she spoke some French and they, primitive Americans, likely did not, she called it my “trousseau.” The trousseau was the pile of domestic goods collected to attract a suitor and set me on a path of happy homemaking the instant my prince should turn his carriage up my drive.

Sadly, the trousseau was a bit on the pathetic side, and it wasn’t maintained in a glowing Lane Hope Chest, but in a stacked series of press-board WalMart footlockers. Nevertheless, my mother nurtured it with well-meaning, if misplaced attention.

First off, we were hardly Wedgewood or sterling-flatware sort of people. When I was about 20, my mother finally indulged herself and bought an $18, 20-piece set of Corelle to be used on Sundays for company. Even though CorningWare makes their dishes nearly indestructible, she treated her set like fine bone china. Each plate and saucer was nestled in the cupboard in its unique paper-towel cozy to keep it safe from scratches and chipping. She would often say to me in a tone usually reserved for bequeathing the family Lalique or Lennox, “Someday, I will pass these dishes down to your daughter."

stampSo, given the rather bargain-value threshold, my accumulated trousseau was not exactly representative of the Neiman or Tiffany bridal catalogue. No silver-plate coffee services, no handmade lace-edged linen sheets, no copper, no crystal, no class. Many of items came courtesy of the generous trading stamp policies of our local grocery stores. H.E.Butts gave S&H Green Stamps; Piggly Wiggly issued Gold Stamps and it took pretty much forever to gather enough stamps for a Pyrex mixing bowl, let alone the entire nested set. Goblets and glasses were collected via boxes of Duz laundry detergent, and sort-of-china was purchased piece by piece and very slowly for $1 each at Dooley’s 5 and 10.

Unfortunately, there were practical limits to how much detergent we could use and how many trading stamps we could save so both the glasses and dishware changed styles or became obsolete over time. Mom started her gathering in the 60s. By the time I was of marriageable age, my trousseau spanned not only a couple of decades worth of color and style trends, but several foot lockers of containment. Nothing came close to matching or even coordinating, moving across the color spectrum from purple to paisley, avocado to almond.

Those chests of hope really represented my mother’s hopes rather than my own, and I took almost nothing from them. Flower-power wrinkle-free polyester sheets bought on sale in 1968 for a double bed didn’t translate to a king-size 1980s futon. Doilies and cross-stitched tea cozies had gone the way of my ’63 Studebaker and I had moved high enough on the prosperity ladder to buy matching dishes and cotton sheets from a department store with a genuine escalator and a housewares "mezzanine."

3Still, when I hold the little cedar chest, I remember what their larger glamorous cousins represented to my mother and other mothers of her generation and circumstances. The chests of hope weren’t really about sending me into marriage with enough bath towels for my entire life.

A hope chest was that last act of nurturing that she could offer me. The last effort she made to see me out into the world with the hope that I would live a materially richer life and have a happier marriage than she. She hoped that I would be loved and that I wouldn’t have to struggle to make a home.

And it worked out pretty well. I am loved. I have a happy home. And I still use those Corelle dishes which will, indeed, go off to my daughter’s first home with all of the hope that I have for her.



Benefits of Cauliflower and Broccoli

Avatar_MarkWEarnhart First of all, cauliflower, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables can provide you with cholesterol lowering benefits. They are particularly helpful if they are cooked by steaming. The fiber related benefits do a better job binding to bile acids in your digestive tract when they are steamed. This binding with the bile acids allows the bile to be excreted more efficiently and this results in lowered cholesterol. Raw vegetables have this binding effect as well but not quite as much as steamed vegetables. It is important not to over steam you vegetable (5 minutes) or cook them till they are mushy as they lose much of the value and taste.

The cruciferous vegetables have a large impact on your bodies ability to detoxify. Researchers continue to identify key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucorafinin, gluconasturtiian and glucobrassinin, are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients are found in special combination in these vegetables. This dynamic trio is able to support all 3 steps in the detoxification process including activation, neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants. Isothiocyanates are the detox regulating molecules made from glucosinlates. Research shows they help control the detox pathways at the genetic level.

We continue to read that vitamin D deficiency is almost epidemic. A large amount of any nutrient supplemented can create a deficiency in other nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables also supply vitamins K and A which helps keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli has an unusually high level of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotenes and vitamin K.

Broccoli is also a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Research has also shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy related substances to our body. Kaempferol also yields an anti-inflammatory benefit. So cruciferous vegetables can be included in most hypo-allergenic diets.

Now I know some of you just aren’t going to eat cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale and other cruciferous vegetables that are so good for you so you should know there are options. Nutri-west, the supplement company we work with makes several products made from sprouted sources of these vegetables and sprouted vegetables provide 50-100 times more energetic value than the vegetable itself. Our products are called Total Veggie (pill form) and Total Green (protein powder form) and most other supplement companies make something similar so I know you can find the right supplement available if you just can’t find your way to eat your cruciferous vegetables.

If you have any questions on this or other health issues, feel free to call us at 378-5660 or go to our website at

Yours in health,

Mark W. Earnhart, D.C.


Turning the pages into fall

Avatar_SJILibrary I’ve lived here almost a year, so this is my first fall on San Juan Island. Autumn is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather, changing colors, sporting events, harvest time activities, and warm meals. San Juan Island has a huge line up of fun things to do this season, from a harvest parade and sowing native plants, to pumpkin carving and ghost stories.

The San Juan Island Library is also ready to help you get in the mood for autumn. Some our recent additions are very “fall-friendly”.

One of my favorites is The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons by Amanda Blake Soule. This book is organized by month and explores ways to share and create memories with family by experiencing nature. It includes projects, recipes, and things to do. The photographs are very enticing.

Another great book for cooler weather that just arrived is the Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook by Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius. The book features more than 200 animals and the fibers they produce. The photographs are gorgeous, and the book feels like a very nicely illustrated encyclopedia.

Hot off the press and new to our shelves is Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts. It includes year-round projects for gifts, decorations, wearing, eating, and celebrating. The Halloween chapters have some terrific techniques for carving pumpkins. They actually turned some pumpkins into a village and an owl. You may want to grab this book and enter the NAPA Pumpkin Carving Contest this Saturday!

The Pacific Feast: a Cook's Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine by Jennifer Hahn is a guide to harvesting and cooking wild foods. From berries and roses to sea vegetables and shellfish, there’s lots of information and recipes, too.

Finally, fall wouldn't seem right without beer and football. If you're hankering to brew your beer at home, then The Complete Homebrew Beer Book by George Hummel is for you. Whether you’re a beginner brewer or ready to take your skills to the next level, this book has tips and recipes to keep you busy in any season.

Experience the joys of autumn at the San Juan Island Library.

Marjorie Harrison
Library Director

San Juan Island Library


Anniversary Sale

Avatar_DavidBentley “You can’t win a prize unless you sign up for the drawing,” advised the cashier. So, after paying for my full cart of groceries, I walked over to the entry box before leaving the store. Taking a blank sheet from the notepad, I wrote down my name and telephone number, folded the paper in half, and dropped it into the slot. It was my 20th entry in the annual anniversary sale at the local grocery store, and I was hopeful.


Films, stories, e-readers and more...

Avatar_SJILibrary Maybe it is the cooler weather or perhaps it’s that school is back in session, but whatever the reason the San Juan Island Library is hop, hop, hopping! Thirty young school-age children came to our first After-School Read Aloud of the season on Monday. They had a great time listening to Kathy Babbitt read from Pinocchio. Older kids enjoyed discussing the book and the movie; I am Number Four, at Book Club Saturday evening.

It’s not just children having fun at the Library. The Conscientious Projector Film Series that began back in March is very popular among islanders. This film series is hosted by Rob Simpson and is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Library. It is intended to give the public an opportunity to watch and discuss thought provoking documentary films on a monthly basis. The next film screening is Monday, October 17 at 7 pm. Call the Library at 378-2798 for movie title information..

Our in-house only e-readers are also very popular. These readers are available for people who want to “try” an e-reader to see how it works, but do not want to read an entire book on the device. The Library has a Nook and a Kindle for in-house use. .

Of course, public computers continue to be used on a regular basis. The Library has a computer replacement plan set in place in an effort to remain current with technology. This week the Library will be replacing two of its public computers and adding an additional one. Floyd’s been working hard preparing the computers for use. Stop by and give them a whirl. .

Our Vegetarian cookbooks are flying off the shelves. October is national Vegetarian Awareness Month, so Jen and Heidi put together a terrific display of vegetarian related materials. The cookbooks are very hot items. Stop by and see our favorite vegetarian picks, then take one home to enjoy.

Marjorie Harrison
Library Director

San Juan Island Library



Growing Up is Optional

Avatar_DavidBentley When a youngster wants to do something or go somewhere, and a parent refuses the request, the most common comeback I’ve heard is, “BUT I WANT TO.” Parents typically respond with one of two types of remarks: 1) “I understand what you’re saying, but we’re not going to do that,” or 2) “I said, ‘No!’ Are you deaf?” Eventually the child gives up on the request that became a demand before turning into a temper tantrum, or receives some sort of negative consequence.