Did You Know? Roller Skate Edition

Roller skates were invented in 1760 by John Joseph Merlin (a young Belgian) who put wheels on his shoes to impress people at a masquerade party? Ice skates had already been around for quite a while, so watching people glide along on the ice probably gave Melin the idea.

I found this information in the Worldbook Encyclopedia 2020 edition entry on roller skates. It also tells us that there are three kinds of roller skates: quad skates with 4 wheels, in-line skates with the 4 wheels in a line, and clamp-on skates which were the original type. Competitive roller skating is common in the areas of artistic skating, speed skating and roller hockey.

One type of speed skating is roller derby, which definitely has its own artistic flair! Rollergirls: the Story of Flat Track Derby by Felicia Graham, Melissa Joulwan and Dennis Darling is all about the making of a new roller derby league: The Texas Rollergirls. The story is told mostly in photographs, but it is plain to see their passion and determination.

Adding edges to ice skates was invented by the Dutch in the 13th or 14th century. Ice skates then cut into the ice instead of gliding on top of it. These ice skates were made of steel, with sharpened edges on the bottom to aid movement. The earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland more than 4,000 years ago. This was done to save time and energy during winter journeys.

The fundamental construction of modern ice skates has stayed largely the same since then, although differing greatly in the details: particularly in the method of binding and the shape and construction of the steel blades. In the Netherlands, ice skating was considered proper for all classes of people, as shown in many paintings from the time.

The book Ice Skating School by Naia Bray-Moffatt gives excellent directions and photographs of many of the basic skating techniques. A lot of the directions could be used for roller skating as well, especially if using rollerblades.

BUT – there is a fourth kind of skate! You can see these at an aquarium. They are members of the Chondrichthyan family which include more than 70 species of stingrays. The Stingray by Miriam J Gross has detailed information about these mysterious creatures.

Now, back to that masquerade party – – Imagine the surprise on people’s faces as our John Joseph Merlin rolled in and the spectacle that his outfit must have made! I imagine that was exactly what he wanted to happen.

Someone else that always set out to make a statement was Wladziu Valentino Liberace. The book Liberace Extravaganza by Connie Solomon and Jan Jewell shows you full color photographs of a lot of the costumes he wore, with close-up photos of the beaded work on them. Some of these suits were worth $24,000 or more.

We have a wide selection of books that will make it easy for you to plan your next costume for a masquerade ball or other fancy dress occasion. Start planning now and you can make a grand entrance as well!

Keeping it Local

With the current restrictions on social gatherings, as well as the return of the November rainy season, you might find yourself spending a lot of time indoors and at home. If, like me, you have caught yourself analyzing the animal residents of your backyard or scrutinizing the behavior of your beloved pet, it may be time to just lean into the situation. Why not declare your immediate home environment a new obsession and give your curiosity free reign?  

Luckily, the library has a lot of great new books to help you investigate your local surroundings and find out what makes its inhabitants tick. Here are a few excellent examples. 

Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy by Zazie Todd

Whether you dog follows you around all day, barks at a leaf falling on the roof, or likes to take 8 hour power naps, spending so much time with them begs the question: Are they happy? Zazie Todd sets out to not only answer that question, but to also find out ways to make their lives markedly better. She interviews a broad range of experts, including veterinarians, behaviorists, shelter managers and trainers to gain insight into the dog mindset. Equally important, she asks the reader to examine their own expectations when it comes to living with, or even getting, a canine companion. 

Decoding Your Cat: the Ultimate Experts Explain Common Cat Behaviors and Reveal How to Prevent or Change Unwanted Ones

Ah the inscrutable feline. Even with extra hours of observation at home, is it possible to understand what makes yours tick? This book, from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists no less, believes you can understand your feline companion and learn to cohabitate better. They even provide a handy chart of common behavioral cues, like the set of their ears, to help you interpret your cat’s changing temperament. This book is also full of practical advice (cats like to observe from above so providing a perch to view all the human action below is ideal) and DIY cat toy ideas. 

Peterson Guide to Bird Behavior by John Kricher

Birds, aka avian dinosaurs, are another set of creatures you have probably had more time to observe lately. While your backyard feathered friends might not belong to any unusual species, their behaviors are definitely exotic and fascinating. This Peterson guide is not about bird identification but instead delves into the many aspects of bird behaviors: social interaction, nesting, migration, feeding and many more that you can observe. Best of all, this guide is written in an easy to understand style, which ditches obscure and technical jargon in favor of ease of understanding.  

A Cloud a Day by Gavin Pretor-Pinney

Even if you don’t have a pet or local fauna to observe, there is one sure fire way to connect with your local surroundings: simply look up. Clouds are easily taken for granted, but are actually pretty amazing, and come in a dazzling array of shapes and sizes. Put together by the Cloud Appreciation Society (yes, it is a real organization) this book provides you with 365 cloud formations to contemplate and appreciate. Each entry is gorgeous in its own way, with photographs and famous illustrations of each formation. A detailed, but easy to understand, scientific explanation of each cloud is provided as well. 

So get out of your headspace and observe some of the fascinating, complex and beautiful creatures and phenomena that surround you. Library books included.  

New Craft Books

New books are arriving in droves right now at the library because we are at the end of our purchasing year, and those on the topic of arts and crafts are no exception.

Since we are definitely moving into that time of year when we are stuck indoors more often than not, how about learning a new art technique or craft to keep you busy during the long fall and winter months?

Some of the new arts and crafts books available on the shelves at the Main Library.

There are many different titles to choose from, so in an attempt to show the variety, I grabbed eight new books off the shelf to check them out. Take a look, and place some holds to pick up through curbside service!

Drawing with Fire : a Beginner’s Guide to Woodburning Beautiful Hand-lettered Projects and Other Easy Artwork by Aney Carver, starts off with this quote that I truly believe – we all can be creative.

“Millions of people spend their spare time watching television day in and day out, and most feel unsatisfied. Why? I’m convinced that everyone is hardwired to create and be creative in their own way, despite how they may feel about their creative aptitude. It all starts with a moment of inspiration that encourages us to think, I can do that; I can be creative! Of course you can! Now get up and let’s do it.”

Drawing with Fire has projects that are mostly focused on lettered signs, which would be a good way to learn the techniques and develop control.
Templates are provided in the back of the book and can be enlarged to fit your project.

Check it out and see if you aren’t a little tempted to try woodburning. I know I am, especially the eagle project.

Beginner’s Guide to Screen 
Printing : 12 Beautiful Printing 
Projects with Templates by Erin Lacy, explains screen printing at it’s simplest. Card stock can even be used as a stencil for the most basic designs. Information on screens, paints and inks, and fixing your design after printing are covered, and then the projects begin, which involve surfaces of clothing, fabric, and paper.
Templates are provided at the end of the book.

Garden Mosaics : 19 Beautiful 
Projects to Make for Your Garden
by Emma Biggs and Tessa Hunkin has some gorgeous designs and projects to offer. The authors cover the direct and indirect methods of creating a design and explain surfaces and tesserae (the pieces of glass or tile used to create a mosaic design). While most of the projects employ the use of square and other simple shaped pieces, the designs are striking and professional looking.

Creative Alcohol Inks : a Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Amazing Effects by Ashley Mahlberg showcases the fascinating effects that can be achieved with this medium whether the surface being painted is tile, glass ornaments, special papers, or wood panels.

If you’ve never explored alcohol inks, check out this book and try one of the projects. You’ll probably soon be buying more inks and supplies than you can ever use.

The Woven Home : Easy Frame 
Loom Projects to Spruce Up Your Living Space by Rainie Owen features large and small projects ranging from camera straps to string bags to wall hangings.

There’s a section on how to make your own loom, and the projects are all pleasing to look at; in fact the whole book is beautifully photographed. Weaving can be a peaceful meditative pastime for these stressful times.

50 Knitted Wraps and Shawls by Marisa Noldeke features a real spread of wonderful, warm looking yet not too bulky creations. Instructions and charts are provided for each project.
The author states there are projects that are suited to those learning to knit up to more complex designs, and there are illustrations of both knit and crochet techniques in the front.
Not being a knitter, all I can say is I want them all, and may beg my coworker who is a knit and crochet whiz to make me one!

Macramé : Techniques and 
Projects for the Compete 
Beginner by Tansy Wilson and Sian Hamilton
Macramé comes and goes in style, and clearly it’s back in again. This book is full of a variety of projects; one of the most simple yet beautiful is a dip-dyed wall hanging attached to a driftwood branch. The authors seem to excel at using color to add depth to their works.
Other macramé artists and their works are featured as well.
This is another craft that you can lose yourself in and free your mind.

Crocheted Dogs by Vanessa Mooncie features patterns for ten different dog breeds to choose from: Dachshund, Border Terrier, French Bulldog, Labrador, Chihuahua, Dalmation, Spaniel, Yorkie, German Shepherd, and Poodle.
Each set of instructions is thorough and fills several pages. Materials, and stitches are explained in the back of the book, as is stuffing and sewing. Check it out and try creating your own miniature dog!

If you are yearning to create but don’t know where to start, remember the library and all the books waiting patiently to be checked out. Give us a call at 425-257-8000 if you need more help finding books on any subject – we will be glad to pull some for you and place them on hold for curbside pickup.

Did You Know? (Owl and Snake Edition)

Eastern Screech Owls will keep blind snakes in their nests to ‘babysit’ while parents are away gathering food?

The owls in these nests with snakes seem to be healthier than owls from non-snake nests; it is believed this is because the snakes eat insects in the nest that may harm the babies. I found this information on page 88 of North American Owls by Paul A. Johnsgard. What a highly detailed book! It tells about the many different kinds of owls, their sizes, territories, nesting habits, where to find them and on and on.

There are two families of blind snakes: the Leptotyphlops with about 80 species that have teeth only on the lower jaw and have un-toothed maxillary bones fused solidly to their head, and the Typhlopidae with maxillary bones that are toothed and not fused to the skull with about 160 species. I doubt the owls care which of the families of snakes they have. Guide and Reference to the Snakes of Western North America by R. D. Bartlett and Patricia P. Bartlett has pictures of many of these blind snakes. They spend most of their time underground and look remarkably like worms.

This type of mutually beneficial interaction is called a symbiotic relationship. There are many types of these relationships. Mycorrhizal Planet by Michael Phillips tells how plants have photosynthate sugars to offer mycorrhizal fungi, which can’t access carbon. The fungi in turn assists the plant by facilitating the uptake of mineral nutrients and water.

Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom by Jose Aruego and Arianne Dewey is an excellent book for children explaining symbiosis and has many examples of different animals helping each other. Natural Attraction: a Field Guide to Friends, Frenemies, and Other Symbiotic Animal Relationships by Iris Gottlieb goes one step further and shows not only symbiosis, but parasitism and commensalism as well. This book has nice pictures of animal pairs along with explanations of who is gaining what in each relationship.

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear is not about a symbiotic relationship, but true love! They sail away together and get married on a tropical beach. It was originally published in 1871. It is truly an example of how love stories never go out of style. We have many other book series with pairs of animals. A few of them are The Elephant and Piggy books, Hondo and Fabian and Frog and Toad series. While symbiosis is a mutual benefit, friendship is probably the best benefit anyone can ever have!

This Thing Called Life

One of the very few good things about these challenging times is the explosion of virtual events that are now available. What you loose in the ability to be ‘in person’ you gain in the sheer number and variety of programs to attend virtually. But how to choose? Let the library be your guide.

Here at Everett Public, we have teamed up with CrowdCast to host many excellent programs. We are especially excited about the program we are hosting on Thursday, Oct. 15th at 6 PM:

This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey On + Off the Record

Prince remains one of the most mysterious rock icons of all time. In This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off the Record, journalist Neal Karlen explores his unique, decades-long relationship with Prince. Karlen will be joined in conversation with Gregr, the morning host on Seattle’s 107.7 The End alternative music radio station. The audience will be given an unusually intimate peek into superstar Prince’s life, going back to his earliest days. 

Sign up to attend today and enjoy the program on Thursday. If you miss the deadline, never fear. You can view this event, and all our past events as well, from the Everett Public Library CrowdCast page.

If after the program, you feel inspired to learn more about the Purple One, why not browse through our many other books about his life and times? And of course, we have plenty of his music and films as well.

Wicked Seattle

Wicked Seattle by Teresa Nordheim  

This was an awesome book! Being born and raised here in the Pacific Northwest I have always enjoyed books about our local history. I remember my mom always said, “We live in the wild west, and you can’t get much wester than this.”

Reading this book made me laugh with all the anecdotes about crooked politicians, police officers on the take, the wheeling and dealing of ‘business’ men and tales concerning women of the oldest profession. I was expecting all the stories to be from the early days of Seattle, but was surprised that there were plenty of stories about things still going on in the 1970’s and 1980’s and even shenanigans still happening in 2009.

You will also read about prohibition and smuggling alcohol, crooked treaties, racketeering and just plain old underhandedness. After reading this, the old adage “the more things change, the more they stay the same” becomes a crystal clear point!

This was a fun and pretty quick read with lots of ‘mugshots’ and pictures of early Seattle.

Did You Know? (Cats Edition)

That cats cannot taste sweets?

This fact is on page 40 of Why Pandas Do Handstands and other Curious Truths about Animals by August Brown. Kids will love this book with so many fun animal facts. I guarantee that adults will also find out things they never knew.

While cats can’t taste sweets… they can taste catnip! Besides being used for cat toys, catnip was used by humans as a tea before tea from China became popular. It is also used to soothe headaches and calm upset stomachs, reduce fevers and scalp irritations. Smithsonian Handbooks: Herbs by Lesley Bremness tells about other uses for it as well.

A lot of people think that cats love a ‘saucer-full of milk’ when in fact, while they may like it, most cats are lactose intolerant and it causes diarrhea. Animal Planet: Senior Cats by Sheila Webster Bonham, Ph.D. advises that if your cat likes dairy, and it’s o.k. with your veterinarian, a small saucer of cream is a better infrequent treat since cream doesn’t contain as much lactose as milk. Dr. Bonham also talks about how cat teeth are designed to grasp prey and shear off chunks of meat. Also their digestive track processes meat efficiently and has trouble processing raw vegetables.

The Ultimate Pet Health Guide by Gary Richter, M.S., and D.V.M. is an excellent guide to the benefits and drawbacks of putting your cat or dog on a raw diet. It also has a whole chapter about glandular therapy, along with chapters about holistic and herbal medicines which humans have been using for centuries.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So, enjoy your sweets, but don’t share them with your pets – no matter how bad they think they want it. But do go ahead and wad that wrapper up and toss it for your kitty to attack!

Did You Know? (Cashew Edition)

That cashews grow on the bottom of a cashew apple, and are related to poison ivy?

Cashew nuts are actually the seeds of the ‘cashew apple’ – a Brazilian evergreen tree with bright orange fruit. I found this on page 405 of 1900 Ingredients by Christine Ingram. Cashews are never sold in the shell because they have to undergo extensive heating to remove them from their shells.

Wikipedia tells us that “the seed (drupe) is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant chemically related to the better-known allergenic oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the related poison ivy.”

Fancy Nancy: Poison Ivy Expert by Jane O’Connor is a darling story about poor Nancy getting into poison ivy while picking flowers. Nancy’s neighbor gives her a cream made from jewelweed to help soothe her itch. Jewelweed has long been used for this as a natural cure.

The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants by Lytton John Musselman and Harold J. Wiggins has a chapter about identifying poison oak, ivy and sumac along with pictures so you DON’T end up eating or touching them! It also tells us that mangoes and pistachios are related to cashews.

Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins is a fun tale told to a man in the park (eating a peanut butter sandwich: chunky peanut butter, by the way) by a very old squirrel that can speak! He tells the stories of squirrels travelling on the buzz paths, and having great adventures. He states that ‘nuts to you’ is a classic squirrel greeting, meaning all manner of things, but mostly good luck.

As vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise, cooking with cashews and other nuts is getting more and more popular. VBQ the Ultimate Vegan Barbecue by Nadine Horn and Jorg Mayer has recipes using cashews for a pesto, sour cream and an aioli spread. This Cheese is Nuts by Julie Piatt has lots of cashew cheese choices. So, go nuts with these recipes, and “nuts to you!”

Under the Sea

While it is great that the library can now provide curbside service, not being able to actually visit the library, while only temporary, is definitely disappointing. At the main library, this longing to get back in the building is expressed by one of the frequent questions we get from folks: How are the fish doing?

First and foremost, let it be known that the fish and their habitat, located at the entrance of the children’s room, are being well cared for. Don’t take our word for it though, take the Fish Tank Tour with Scuba Scott and learn all about their care and maintenance:

While the fish definitely miss their live audience, you can enjoy them virtually by viewing these Fish Tank Friday updates of their antics, complete with musical accompaniment.

If you want to dive in a little deeper (ha ha) and learn more, why not place a few items about aquarium fishes and their care on hold and pick them up at the library?

While seeing the fish in person is the ideal situation for everyone involved, enjoy a few videos and check out a few books to ease the temporary separation anxiety. And don’t forget to check the library Facebook page frequently for Fish Tank Friday updates.

Mars 2020

It seems that Mars is the preferred destination this month. The UAE launched the Hope probe to Mars on July 19th and China launched the Tianwen-1, both a probe and a lander, on July 23th. Not to be outdone, NASA launched the Perseverance Rover (with a rover the size of a SUV and a super cool helicopter) this morning on its seven month journey to the red planet.   

While I have to admit that my favorite planet, sorry dwarf planet is Pluto, the space nerd in me could not resist taking a deep dive into all things Martian. Luckily we have plenty of books here at the library about Mars and its exploration as well as the tantalizing possibility of human habitation there. Read on to satisfy your curiosity (sorry, couldn’t resist).

The Perseverance rover will hardly be the first vehicle to visit Mars. There is a long and triumphant history of rovers on Mars, overcoming the odds and furthering our knowledge of the planet. We have several books and DVDs about the rovers, especially Curiosity, their findings and the scientists and engineers who made the missions possible.  

Mars is also a key player in the search for life beyond our planet. While, sadly, earlier ideas of little green men or a deadly invasion force have not panned out, there is still keen scientific interest in possibly finding life at a much more basic level on the red planet. An excellent recent book that sums up this quest, both the scientific and fantastical aspects, is The Sirens of Mars by Sarah Stewart Johnson. The author expertly conveys our fascination with Mars and our deep seeded need to seek out new life and find out if we have company in the universe.  

Finally, one of the more tantalizing ideas concerning Mars is whether human habitation is possible there at all. Beyond the realm of fiction, there are a surprising number of books that explore the possibility via science and technology. Some of the tantalizing titles here at the library include How We’ll Live on MarsMars: Our Future on the Red Planet, and The Case for Mars: the Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must.  

So why not take Perseverance’s seven month journey time to read up on Mars and all its possibilities? The library has got you covered.