Aug 19

Today Is World Photo Day!

World Photo Day


Today is another of those “Who Knew” holidays.

I was recently talking to someone about our upcoming trip to Scotland and she reminded me to take lots of pictures.  Then, she said to be sure to print them out so she could see them.

cornerUm, no way!  I haven’t printed out pictures since probably the 1980s – or earlier.

All the work that went into that.  Taking the film somewhere, getting back to the store to pick up the prints, buying scrapbooks, and those little corner holders, sorting, writing the people’s names on the back, the place.  Then, finding the right scrapbook to show people…

No, NO NO!

These days. I keep most of my photos online.  There are 50,387 photos right now in my Flickr account and it’s so much easier to share online.

It’s interesting about photos.  A couple of my first real jobs were working in photo processing.

When I was first out of college, I worked for Technicolor, processing negatives into photos.

US3418913-5Back then, the film had to be processed entirely in the dark.

When the door of the machine was open, the light-proof curtain of the cubicle was shut tight.

I learned how to thread huge, heavy rolls of photo paper into a machine – in total darkness. Over, under, around, over…

Neither the undeveloped paper nor the negatives could be exposed to any light – ever.

Someone else had cut the end of the roll of negatives square and stuck it to a “leader” using special tape which wouldn’t peel off during the developing process.

leaderThe leader featured small rectangle holes like old movie filmstrips. The holes catch onto sprockets which guide the leader card and film through the processing machine.

After being sure we had enough paper in the machine, we would feed the leader end of the negatives into the side and that automatically moved the leader card forward.

We’d be sure that the machine was set for the type (size) of film it was (mine were usually 110 or 35milimeter) and feed the roll of negatives through the machine, making minor corrections using a special keyboard. Different amounts of cyan, magenta and yellow were added or subtracted to each photo to ensure the color was correct.

Adjustments are also made for exposure to each individual photo, and sometimes we’d recenter the subject (or what we guessed was the subject).  Sometimes, we had to choose between 2 or more photos to find the one that was “best”.

Then we’d (finally!) get the prints, package them up and start again.

The whole thing was on piecework so the faster, the better.  The faster we worked, the more money we made.

pocketfilm-110The young women who had worked here longer than I had got really good/fast at this and they were able to work with newer machines that let them work in a large room out in the light and have others to talk with.  As I recall, those machines only processed the 110 film, which was becoming more popular with amateur photographers.

It was a boring job, but it was a job.  I worked there from late afternoon until midnight, so it gave me lots of time to hang out by Lake Metacomet where I was living with a roommate.

Somehow, my roommate had managed to get us an apartment right on the shore of the lake and it was much easier to hang out there in the sunshine than to drive to work and be in the dark all evening.

Sometimes, I’d call in “sick”  LOL

Tom and I moved to Milwaukee so he could go to grad school.  While I was there, I did substitute teaching for public school music classes around the Milwaukee area.

And, after school, in the evenings, I did photo processing for a small photo processing company.

They hired me on the spot because I knew how to thread that machine.  I didn’t have to do that for long, though.  Somehow, I got promoted to wedding photos, those that took a lot of care, color corrections, perfect centering…and I was mostly in the light.  No more piecework because I had to spend so much time on each photo, striving for perfection.

Fond memories, all of them.  To this day, I am very good at telling if things are centered properly, level, and if the color matches.

In the greater scheme of things, World Photo Day is an international photography event on August 19th that celebrates the passion for photography in our communities.

Go out and get some pictures.  Print them, if you want – or not 🙂

Jul 19

Take a Book, Leave a Book ~ From our Local Paper, Again

Screenshot 2016-07-17 22.53.54



Take a Book, Leave a Book
by Angela D. Glascock, Editorial Writer
There has been a delightful bloom of Little Free Libraries in Greenbriar.

What is a Little Free Library, you ask? A Little Free Library is just what it sounds like: a small structure that houses books to borrow or trade. Books are provided by citizens, creating a continuous, all-hours book exchange.

The aim of Little Free Libraries, according to, is “To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.”

Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.

Todd Bol, who wished to honor his mother, a teacher who loved to read, created the first Little Free Library in Wisconsin in 2009. This original library looks like a little red schoolhouse. Bol built it, painted it, attached it to a post in his front yard, filled it with books, and put up a sign that read “Free Books.”

It was an immediate success.

The idea of Little Free Libraries in communities has caught on and spread quickly throughout the world. By June 2016, there were an estimated 40,000 registered Little Free Libraries — but that figure does not include thousands of unregistered little libraries, like three of those in Greenbriar. It is a brilliant way to share and find an eclectic variety of books while promoting literacy and community.

An internet search for “Little Free Library” brings up hundreds of photos of libraries in an amazing array of designs. The most common design is of a house, but these little house shaped libraries are far from common: there are wee cottages, Victorians, lighthouses, even a motorhome. People have recycled phone booths, newspaper dispensers and wooden barrels to make libraries. Some designs are simple, some are complex, but they are all remarkable.

In Greenbriar, the Little Free Libraries look like small houses with glass doors, but again, they are far from plain.

So where are these delightful structures located? You’ve probably seen the one by the pool, at the intersection of Point Pleasant and Middle Ridge. That was the first one I noticed. It’s called the “Tiny Free Library,” and a sign invites you to “Take a book * leave a book.”

At Point Pleasant and Maylock is the “Scrapwood Library,” so named because it was built from recycled wood: “scraps from our new kitchen …,” according to the sign, which also invites you to “take a book, leave a book.”

Toward Stringfellow at the intersection of Point Pleasant and Peekskill is a cheerful, bright yellow and blue library; this is the Greenbriar Little Free Library #33664.

Finally, at the Cale Community Center, there is a white library accented with green trefoils, compliments of Girl Scout Troop

When I visited each library, I found that they were full of an assortment of books.

The Tiny Free Library contained a lot of popular fiction, such as Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich and David Baldacci. This one is likely the most visited because of its central location.

The Scrapwood Library housed a mix of popular fiction, classics (such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn), non-fiction, anthologies, textbooks, well-loved books, old books, new books and cookbooks. There were also audiobooks on CD.

The Greenbriar Little Free Library #33664, owned by Mary and Tom O’Connor, contained mostly children’s books, which, Tom said cheerfully when I interrupted his mowing to inquire, was their aim.

The Girl Scout library at the Cale Community Center was chock full of picture books, chapter books and young adult selections. Perfect for kids.

So, Greenbriar, whether you take a book, leave a book, or borrow a book and return it later, the four little libraries in Greenbriar offer bountiful choices for reading this summer.

To everyone who installed little libraries, and to everyone who supports them, thank you for supporting literacy in our community!

Little Free Library information and the locations of registered libraries can be found at

Download this newspaper here: Greenbriar_flyer_2016_07


Screenshot 2016-07-17 22.54.58

Jul 18

High School Memories



This is from one of those silly Facebook posts where they want you to copy and paste to share with your friends.  I decided to take it a bit further and expand just a *bit*.


Tell us about your SENIOR year of high school! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be!!

The year was: 1966.

1. Did you know your spouse? No.  I didn’t meet him until college

2. Did you carpool to school? No, everyone had to take the city bus – and pay our own way.

In those days, most everyone smoked on the bus so I often got a headache. I had to get off quite a ways from home and walk the rest of the way.  This was a city school and, as far as I knew, nobody, except maybe teachers, drove.

The school was in an interesting location.  Across the street was Classical High School (Tech and Classical were replaced by Central High School in 1986.)

Next door to Classical was Commerce High School for kids who wanted to go into business right out of high school or be secretaries and such. Classical was for kids who thought they wanted to major in the classics in college.  The Tech kids were going into the sciences in college.

Those 3 schools plus the public library took up a huge chunk of real estate downtown.  This is probably why they closed these schools – so they could put in expensive condos.  (There was also a 4th high school for people who wanted to go into trades, Vocational High.  That was up the hill, next to the Springfield Armory)

It made it really easy for all of us downtown kids to take the public bus, though.  No matter what school we went to, we all rode together… and it was easy for any of us to go to the library after school.

The library is still there and has the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden which honors Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as Dr. Seuss.



Museum_Quadrangle,_Springfield_MAThe library and the local museums now make up the Quadrangle.

The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, in the center of the Quadrangle, is surrounded by a park, a library, four active museums, a fifth museum due to open in 2016, and a cathedral. A second cathedral is just on the Quadrangle’s periphery.

I loved that library – we could check out anything.

Where I’d lived before, we had to get permission to get a book from “the stacks” – and we couldn’t go get it ourselves.  A librarian had to get it and deliver it.

A stack (or bookstack) is a book storage area, as opposed to a reading area. More specifically, this term refers to a narrow-aisled, multilevel system of iron or steel shelving that evolved in the nineteenth century to meet increasing demands for storage space. An “open-stack” library allows its patrons to enter the stacks to browse for themselves; “closed stacks” means library staff retrieve books for patrons on request.


Not my car, but the general idea

Not my car, but the general idea

3. What kind of car did you have? None.  I didn’t get a car until I graduated from college.  No point.  We couldn’t drive to school and couldn’t have a car at my college until the senior year.

My grandfather gave me the money ($1000!) as a college graduation gift to help buy the car.  It was a green Chevy Nova 🙂

That Nova served me well, though.  When I blew out the engine, my dad tried stuffing the hole with an old rag.  Uh, no!  It was in my parents driveway for the longest time, in a Massachusetts winter, while my future husband and I replaced that engine.  Later, it hauled a U-Haul with all my worldly goods to Wisconsin.

When it finally died, I salvaged it for enough money to buy a book of Beethoven Sonatas, which I still have to this day 🙂

4. What kind of car do you have now? A PT Cruiser

5. It’s Friday night where would you be? At home

6. What kind of job did you have in high school? I worked at Kelly Springfield Tires

7. What kind of job do you have now? Piano Teacher / CFO / webmaster / Founder and Chief-Bottle-Washer at Cushing’s Help and Support  (4 part time jobs)

8. Were you a party animal? No.  I’m still not.

9. Were you a cheerleader? Not for school but for my church basketball team in middle school.

10. Were you considered a jock? No

11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? Yes, Chorus.  I first heard one of my favorite pieces in High School.  I remember learning this for a concert. I doubt that we sang it quite as well as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

“How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” is the sacred, stirring centerpiece movement of Requiem by Johannes Brahms.  I doubt that this could be sung at a public school anymore 🙁



In 6th grade, they started having band and asked what instrument(s) we wanted to play.  I wanted to play saxophone, but my parents wouldn’t let me.  They said I already played piano and that was enough.  Even though the school would lend the instrument and give lessons.  Still makes me unhappy that I missed out on this experience.

12. Were you a nerd? Probably, if that word existed yet

13. Did you get suspended or expelled? No. My parents would have disowned me. I did get suspended from a VBS at another church while in elementary school, but that’s another post 🙂

14. Can you sing the fight song? Not any more

16. Where did you sit for lunch? In the cafeteria, I suppose but I really don’t remember having lunch.

17. What was your full school name? Springfield Technical High School

tech-tigers18. What was your school mascot? Tigers

19. If you could go back and do it again, would you? No.  I was very excited to go as a Freshman, though.  We were moving from Pawcatuck, CT to the “big city” and I got to choose my high school.  This one required a Math Test before admittance and I was very proud to pass and get in.  I thought I’d meet lots of boys there.  Uh, no.

My math skills did win me a slide rule in a “Geometry Bee” my Junior year.

20. Did you have fun at Prom? It was okay.  I was very excited when the cute guy I sat next to in Chemistry asked if I had a date and, when I said no, he fixed me up with his friend.  His friend who could drive. <sigh>

21. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? No. I barely spoke to him then.  I pretended to have a hurt knee so we didn’t have to dance much, either.

22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? No, haven’t been to one yet.  In October it will be the 50th.  I never really had any friends there, except for one.  If I didn’t talk to anyone then, why now?

23. Are you still in contact with people from school? No


Other memories:

We had to take a class in Biology.  One of the girls wore blue eyeliner, which I had never seen before.

The teacher of that class was famous for saying “Any cough can be controlled” when anyone did.

Somehow, I was the star student in both Geometry and Algebra classes.  I have no idea how that happened.

Driving class took me two semesters to pass.  I think I just liked being out of the classroom driving around with a fun teacher so I made it last 🙂

I also took Latin (the only memory I have of that is the teacher drilling the difference between calvary and cavalry).  Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres.

English, I wrote some kind of paper on Devil’s Hopyard that my teacher really liked.  My parents and I had been there hiking on a trail and as one, we felt an eerie  presence and turned back.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones.  According to “Over the decades, dark shadows and phantoms have been purportedly seen moving around the woodland. In more recent times, people have allegedly experienced spirit orbs and mists, as well as strong feelings of foreboding.”

Typing was required and it’s serving me well, even today 🙂

Chemistry, where I sat next to the cute boy I double-dated with for the prom.  I don’t remember anything else outstanding, which is a good thing!

gymGym class.  AARRGGH!  We had to buy seafoam green gym suits…and wear them.  Our school didn’t have an outside field or anything (being downtown) so we had to change into those suits, grab field hockey equipment and hike up the hill to the Springfield Armory (The site is preserved as the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Western Massachusetts’ only unit of the national park system.)  Then, we had to actually play field hockey, a sport I was horrible at.  Of course, I was picked last for any team.

Then, we had to haul all the stuff down the hill.  The other 2 nearby schools had to do the same thing so any school day there were lots of kids wearing stupid uniforms climbing up and down that hill. I would guess that was a nightmare for the schools to coordinate, though.

When field hockey was done, we’d have gymnastics.  Vaulting over horses, climbing ropes, tumbling.  I wasn’t fond of any of that, either.

But the worst, of course, was taking showers afterwards.  The only way you could get out of that was once a month – and the teachers kept track.

Still worse, however, was November 22, 1963, the day President Kennedy was shot.  We were in gym when we got the news.  We all sat on the floor and watched on a TV that had appeared from somewhere.

Stunned, we got out of school early.



Not in school but In my church youth group we played this game, which happened to be in the dark.  A boy (I still remember his name but won’t share it here!) with buck teeth hit the top of my head with his teeth.  I went to the emergency room for stitches and the ER tech couldn’t believe it when I said how this happened.  He was from another country and thought that this was something that all American kids did, maybe.

I got quite a bit of mileage out of telling the story and showing where my head was shaved.

Later, when I went to the doctor to have the stitches out, I got another headache and the doctor didn’t even have any aspirin to give me.  Imagine!  These days, it would probably be against the law to dispense aspirin in the doctor’s office.

Like everything else I did, I took the bus to the doctor’s office, by myself.  It was definitely a different time.

I don’t think we ever played that game again.


Screenshot 2016-07-17 10.28.18Springfield Technical High School was built in 1905 and closed in 1986.

My school was converted into the Springfield Data Center at a cost of $110 million. While most of the original Tech building came down, a substantial portion of the school, including the facade and “The Technical High School” inscribed above the front doors, was preserved.

The data center was built on the 2.2 acre site of the former Technical High School. The project site is in an historic area of Springfield and the façade of the remaining portion of the high school is in an historic district.

The project preserved the Elliot St. façade of Tech High School and demolished the remaining portion of the building, replacing it with a modern facility.

Video of them tearing down my school

Jul 17

Happy Ice Cream Day!



National Ice Cream Day is observed each year on the 3rd Sunday in July and is a part of National Ice Cream Month.  This day is a fun celebration enjoyed with a bowl, cup or cone filled with your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire would put snow in a bowl, pour grape-juice concentrate over it and eat it as a treat.  They did this when the weather was hot and used the snow saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as “yakhchal”, or taken from the snowfall that remained at the stop of mountains by the summer capital.

It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them.  Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.

  • Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream.
  • 1813 -First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball.
  • 1832 – African American confectioner, Augustus Jackson, created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
  • 1843 – Philadelphian, Nancy Johnson, received the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
  • 1920 – Harry Burt puts the first ice cream trucks on the streets.


Enjoy National Ice Cream Day by sharing some with your family and friends! Post on social media using #NationalIceCreamDay.


National Ice Cream Day is a holiday declared by President Ronald Reagan back in 1984 to promote the economic well-being of the U.S. dairy industry. It was a nod to the fact that the frozen treat is produced using nearly ten percent of U.S. dairy farmers’ milk supply.

Reagan’s proclamation also called on the people of the United States to do their duty and pay tribute to ice-cream with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” So who are we to argue?


July 17, 2016
July 16, 2017
July 15, 2018
July 21, 2019


Jul 10

From My Email



This week’s Library of Distinction is charter #39388 in Rush, New York!

Find it on the world map.

The story: “I absolutely loved the idea of Little Free Libraries but unfortunately had no skills to actually build one!

After much searching, I found a giant used mailbox at a yard sale that I thought would make a great base for a Library.

A school bus seemed to be the perfect choice. I attached a plastic kid’s toolbox to the front so there would be a place for a notebook and some bookmarks, then I spray painted the entire thing yellow. All of the other details just fell into place…wheels, sign, license plate etc. I decided to put it on a cart so the whole thing would be mobile. The kids seem to love it and nothing makes me happier!” – Steward Karen Tabor

Jul 04

Happy 4th!




Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.

Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “This Land Is Your Land”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and, regionally, “Yankee Doodle” in northeastern states and “Dixie” in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.

A bit of audio for your listening pleasure, as played by Vladimir Horowitz…



And, just for fun:





Jul 01

The Little Free Library Locator has Moved

Screenshot 2016-07-01 11.43.38


Find us or a nearby library here:

Jun 27

National Sunglasses Day




Elton John has over a thousand pairs, Canadian singer Corey Hart only wears his at night, and you can tell the good guys from the bad guys in The Matrix by the shape of theirs. What am I talking about? Sunglasses, of course! There’s nothing quite as stylish as a pair of shades, so get out your aviators or your wayfarers and start celebrating National Sunglasses Day!

Although the origins of National Sunglasses Day are unknown, the history of sunglasses stretches as far back as 14th century China, where judges used eyewear made of smoke-coloured quartz to mask their emotions. Fast-forward 600 years and modern sunglasses as we know them today were first marketed by entrepreneur Sam Foster on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

One other thing to remember is that sunglasses also help protect your eyes from harmful UV light, so channel your inner-cool and slip on those shades on National Sunglasses Day!

Did you know that your eyes can become sunburned

75 percent of Americans are concerned about exposure to the sun’s UV rays, but only 31 percent of Americans wear sunglasses when they venture outside.  You know wearing sunblock can help to protect your skin.  Don’t forget to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.


Eye Care Tips

  • UV exposure increases the likelihood of the formation of cataracts
  • UV exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid
  • Water reflects up to 100 % of UV rays
  • Concrete reflects up to 25% of UV rays
  • Grass reflects up to 3% of UV rays
  • The eyes of a child are more vulnerable to UV rays than an adults
  • Exposure to UV rays promotes more rapid age-related macular degeneration and blindness
  • The harmful effects of UV rays are cumulative over a lifetime of exposure
  • Squinting in the sun causes wrinkles
  • UV rays are just as dangerous on cloudy days as sunny days

Adapted from and


Jun 26

New Children’s Books



We have a huge box of children’s books ready for the Greenbriar Little Free Library #33664.  Many thanks to Beth!


Children’s books are currently the most popular.  We just got this adorable thank you note over the weekend:




Also, check us out at

Jun 23

Take a book. Leave a book. Remake a book.

Have you ever walked past a Little Free Library, those house-shaped boxes along sidewalks filled with books? If so, did you look inside?

They’re often filled with books, and if you look at enough of them, you’ll see some of the same kinds of books start to repeat: romance novels, detective fiction, used children’s books, an odd cookbook. The libraries seem to fill with surplus. And most people walk right by.

But Steven McCarthy, a graphic design professor at the University of Minnesota who lives in Falcon Heights, rarely lets a Little Free Library go un-inspected.

For the last year, McCarthy has been working on a project of turning miscellaneous Little Free Library books into works of art. He calls it the Wee Go Library, and it’s his mobile collection of bizarre and whimsical books where pages have been turned upside-down or rearranged, bindings unbound and re-bound, and illustrations displaced and replaced into new and fantastical collages.

The project is housed in a beautiful mobile display case, and poring through its drawers and pages you find a “library” of creativity that seems to reveal the potential of the book itself.


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