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Avatar_SusanVernon I strolled to the cemetery at English Camp the other day to look at oak trees but soon found myself retreating from an abundance of yellow jackets in the grass. My short stay was disappointing but on the way back to the car I caught sight of a wonderful wildflower growing in the duff. It was Indian pipe (Monotropa uniflora). I had almost forgotten about the enigmatic little plant that blooms late in our wildflower season, but there it was in its waxy cloak of milky white translucence.

Avoiding Shortcuts

Avatar_DavidBentleyThe father of the 4-year-old in the flower bed behind the patio bench asked her what she was doing. She instantly replied that she was swimming in lava. Unfazed by her comment, Dad asked what she saw in the lava. The little girl immediately answered that she saw lava sharks. When her father asked what they looked like, she excitedly said they were red and had big teeth. Then, suddenly, she jumped onto the patio, sipped some lemonade and said, "I got away, Daddy!"

Shortly after the lava swimmer and her father moved on to other adventures, a woman my age sat down with a young boy. I asked if he was her grandson, but the boy replied, "No!" Thinking I'd made a mistake, I overheard the woman ask him who he was. Without hesitation, he stated, "I'm a giraffe."

Small children, like these two, are almost never bored. They are stimulated by curiosity and imagination. Unfortunately, adults often put a lid on such creativity with their need for children to be calm, accepting, and controlled rather than stimulated by imagination and inquisitiveness. Yet we humans are stimulation junkies. If we don't get our stimulation through curiosity and creativity, we find it in other ways.

If you doubt this, then how much coffee or other caffeinated beverages have you consumed today? Did you eat any chocolate or other sugary treats? Perhaps you overindulged with alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs. How many times have you checked your cell phone for messages, or logged onto email or social networks? Maybe you've had your radio, television or iPod on non- stop since you woke up this morning.

We all find ways to stimulate ourselves. Perhaps we'd be better off pretending to be giraffes or lava swimmers from time to time than letting our desire for stimulation lead us into taking self-destructive shortcuts. Heck, we might even solve a problem or two in the process. Aren't most inventions the result of curiosity and imagination?

Let's see, now, where did I leave my jet pack? I'm late for my next appointment!

  • How do you stimulate yourself? 
  • Are those methods creative or just well known shortcuts? 
  • Do you ever allow curiosity and imagination to put you into "the flow"? 
  • What will you do differently today?


Learn a Language @ Your Library

Avatar_SJILibraryNow that summer's in full swing and you're a little more relaxed, why not take some time to learn a foreign language? Connecting to LiveMocha is a fun way to learn a language with help from friendly people from different parts of the world. This language learning environment provides access to online language learning courses and a 10 million member community of native speakers in 38 languages. LiveMocha is available from the San Juan Island Library website. Simply click on the LiveMocha banner in our selection of databases.

The first time you enter the database you will need to answer some basic questions. You'll need to select your native language, list any other languages in which you are fluent, and select the languages that you'd like to learn and your skill level. This sets up your profile, so the database can match you to the appropriate courses and learning groups. Once you sign up, then you can log in at any time to take a course, practice speaking, writing or vocabulary, or interact with people from across the globe. Just go to www.sjlib.org and click on LiveMocha to log in from home, the Library, or anyplace with Internet access.

Once you enter the site, simply select a language and course to start learning. There are different courses available based on your skill level and language of interest. There are courses for 30 different languages from French, Italian and Spanish to Japanese, Latvian, and Hindi. Members speak over 38 different languages, and you can practice with these native speakers. LiveMocha is great for English language learners, too. It's a fun and interactive way to learn a language.

Marjorie Harrison
Library Director

San Juan Island Library

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Browser Fun! Create Bookmarks/Favorites For Your Most Visited Sites

Avatar_MollyONeilWhat browser do you use to surf the Internet? I use three, 1) Google Chrome, 2) Internet Explorer and 3) Firefox. I also have Safari (from Apple) on my computer. It's good to have several browsers on your computer so when you go to a site that doesn't work with Google Chrome for example, you can switch to Internet Explorer or Firefox. Using 3 (or more) browsers can almost assure you that you'll always be able to surf the Net if your computer is connected.

Friday Nights in Friday Harbor

Avatar_DavidBentleyBlue skies, 68 degrees, a $6 box dinner from the deli, and free outdoor music courtesy of the Port Commission - Friday nights in Friday Harbor just don’t get much better than this! Toes are tapping. Bodies are swaying. Boaters parade by while locals chat with friends and tourists wish they could live here. Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? This is as close to paradise as people could ever hope for without leaving their bodies behind. At least it is, today.

A couple of weeks ago, when it looked like Junuary was going to last for two months and summer had not yet arrived, things weren’t so perfect in paradise. Everyone was tired of cold temperatures, clouds, and rain. There were numerous events taking place. Multitudes of tourists were milling about, sporting t-shirts and shorts that exposed unexpected gooseflesh. We were all getting on each other’s nerves.

Meanwhile, people on the East Coast and throughout the Midwest were suffering in triple-digit heat. They would have given anything to enjoy the coolness that we were lamenting. They would have preferred putting on extra clothing and rain gear to having their clothes stick to their sweaty bodies despite air conditioners running full blast.

Some days it’s easy to forget how good things are in our little part of the world. On those days we actually find ourselves complaining and trying to blame someone or something for our discontent. Then, on days like today, we are reminded that we really do have our own little piece of paradise right here in Friday Harbor, Washington.

After all, it could be much worse. We could be spending this weekend in the other Washington with all the politicians who wish they could be anywhere else. Yessiree, Friday nights in Friday Harbor just don’t get much better than this!

  • How are you feeling about your life right now? 
  • What circumstances put you in this particular mood? 
  • Will those circumstances ever change? 
  • Where does acceptance fit into your perception of life?

Art welcomed for Library Art exhibits

Avatar_SJILibraryAs you walk through the San Juan Island Library you will notice beautiful works of art. Art adorns our walls, and you'll find pieces on our end tables and the fireplace mantel. When you are in the Library you're surrounded by art. It's pretty special, and one of the many things I love about our community Library.

The San Juan Island Library District encourages the exhibition of artwork because it believes that artwork in the building enhances the Library environment for patrons. In this effort, the Library has an Art Policy and an Art Committee.

Art displays and exhibits would not be possible without our dedicated Art Committee members. This dedicated group of volunteers coordinates art exhibits in the Library six times a year. They recommend, develop, and implement temporary and permanent exhibits of art in the building.

The next Art Exhibit starts this Saturday, July 30th. The theme is Textures and Patterns. The Art Committee is accepting 2 or 3-D artwork of any media type. Everyone is welcome to bring art for the show. Please bring your 2 or 3-D artwork ready to hang or display to the Library on Saturday from 10am to 12noon.

Three other Art Shows are scheduled this year:

  • Seas and Seashores (Oct.1);
  • Art that Tells a Story (Dec.10); 
  • Photography (Jan. 2012)

The Library also has a permanent art collection, and patrons often ask us about our art. Right now the Art Committee is in the process of putting together a guide to the Library's art collection. The guide will be available at the Library once it's complete.

Marjorie Harrison
Library Director

San Juan Island Library


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Deadheading Roses

Avatar_DavidBentleyOn a sunny afternoon with a couple of hours to kill, I decided to deadhead the roses. I learned how to do this at a Master Gardeners demonstration where I discovered how much I didn't know about roses. Before the demonstration, I just cut off the dead rose blossoms and trimmed back bothersome branches. Now, I know the differences between stems and canes as well as leaves, leaflets and bracts. Heck, I even know what a rose hip looks like.

Removing spent blooms, otherwise known as deadheading, makes the rose bush produce more flowers. Normally, spent blooms become the fruit of the plant which is called a rose hip. Through deadheading, the plant conserves energy normally spent producing fruit, thus producing more blooms instead. That's the easy part.

What complicates the matter is that there is a difference of opinion about the best method of deadheading. The old rule of thumb is to cut just above the first outward facing leaf with five leaflets on it. Did you know that the clusters of leaflets make up a single leaf, and that these compound leaves can have two to seven or more leaflets on them? Who knew?

However, new trials have shown that the more foliage a rose plant bears the more blooms it puts out. So the new rule of thumb is to cut just above the first tiny leaflets below the bloom. These are called bracts because they don't actually form a compound leaf. Confused yet?

So which rule is right? Well, that depends. The new one seems to produce more blooms, but smaller flowers. The old one produces fewer blooms, but larger and showier flowers. It would appear, then, that neither one is right for all situations. Yet if you ask any seasoned gardener how to deadhead roses, I bet you'll get a single, definitive answer.

It's just like the rest of life. Tax increase or spending cut? Privatization or nationalization? Black and white or shades of gray? Immovable or willing to compromise? It just depends on the outcome you want: fewer big, showy flowers or more abundant smaller ones.

  • How do you choose which rule of thumb to follow? 
  • Do you consider the outcome you want to achieve? 
  • Are you looking to produce fewer big, showy blooms or more abundant smaller ones? 
  • What is it that motivates your choice?


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It's time to stock up at the Annual Book Sale

Avatar_SJILibraryThis Friday and Saturday, stop by the Turnbull Gym at the Friday Harbor High School for the Friends of the Library's annual book sale. This is one of the Friends' biggest fundraisers of the year for the Library. Proceeds from sales help fund adult and youth library programming, as well as other purchases and projects that would not be possible without our Friends' assistance.

Most of the books in this sale are generously donated to the Friends by you and other members of our community. The Friends accepts donations of books and other materials at their store, the Treasure Cove, every Wednesday and Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.. Some of these donations go directly for sale in the store and others go to their paperback rack at the ferry. And still more make it to the annual holiday sale or the summer sale.

A large part of library work is maintaining and evaluating our collections to ensure we are providing materials that meet the needs and interests of the community. Keeping our collections current and relevant is a priority, and we do this within our space considerations. Besides shifting books on the shelves and pulling items out for display, the library regularly weeds its collection to make room for newly purchased materials.

Weeding is the periodic examination of a library's collection of materials in order to determine which items are no longer useful or needed. So when you hear a librarian talk about weeding, she's not maintaining library grounds, she's developing library collections. When items are weeded from the collection, the Friends accept them as donations for their annual book sale. This past year, as usual, we've weeded from all collections of the library. Maybe you'll find a book that's no longer checking out with our patrons, but is an old favorite of yours.

Okay, enough of the library lingo, now back to the book sale. The Friends sale begins at 6 p.m. on Friday for Friends members only. This is your opportunity to see everything first! Memberships may be purchased at the door.

Marjorie Harrison
Library Director

San Juan Island Library


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Hey there everyone! Laura Holden here to let you know that I am officially back in the office after some time at home with my new baby boy Theron. I am very excited to be back and look forward to seeing you.

For those of you who I have not yet met, my name is Laura Holden and I have been with San Juan Holistic Healthcare for about six years and while I wear a few different hats in the office, including hormone balancing through saliva testing and bio-identical hormones, my main focus is, as my instructors call it, the "Tool of the Future." It is called Spectra-Vision.

Spectra-Vision, or bionetic testing is a non-cognitive biofeedback that originated in the 1950s in Germany. It allows me to access your body's response and reaction to thousands of frequencies or substances; being bacterial, viral, parasitic, chemical, hormonal, allergenic, molds and fungus, heavy metals and even emotional imbalance. Also, I can see where your body needs energetic support or where your body needs detoxification. Let me explain a bit about the technology...

The scan itself takes about nine minutes. We then proceed to the second phase to E.A.V. testing. (Electro Acupuncture by Voll). By using the principle of E.A.V. testing, we are able to measure electrical conductivity and receive an immediate functional overview of your body's system. The next step is testing a therapy or homeopathic remedy to determine which options are most complimentary to returning your body to an energetic balance.

The advantage of this technology is that it is not a "One size fits All" treatment. Let us use migraine headaches as an example. One person's migraine headaches could stem from a hormonal imbalance, where another person could be suffering from a chemical toxicity issue, while yet another person could have an allergy that is triggering the migraine headache. Everyone's blueprint is different and at our office, we aim to look at each person as an individual, not a symptom.

With this treatment I have also had profound success in greatly reducing, even completely eliminating allergies, whether they be seasonal, environmental or foods.

Toxicity that cannot be eliminated is a major cause of disease. Through bionetic testing and creating homeopathic remedies specific to your body's needs, we can begin to get your body back to a balanced state.

For those of you who have chronic issues that have not been resolved or if you are interested in improving your overall health, this could be the answer you have been looking for.

If you are interested in learning more about the Spectra-Vision testing or have any other questions about our office services, please call us at 378-5660. I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Yours in health
Laura Earnhart Holden, C.A.



Avatar_SusanVernon Over the Fourth of July weekend, I drove to the Land Bank's Westside Preserve near Lime Kiln Point State Park. Standing on a southwest-facing slope looking out upon Haro Strait rays of sunlight skipped across the calm blue-green sea in a shimmer of sparkling light. Summer had finally arrived and the white-crowned sparrows singing nearby proclaimed it so.